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Where to eat in Cape Verde – a food and dining guide

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Cape Verde, home of Creole island cuisine, has a distinct culinary advantage over many other destinations; each island has its own interpretations of the traditional dishes. Adding to this exciting variety are a number of outside influences – Mediterranean, Japanese and gourmet restaurants dot the archipelago’s towns.

Sean Coleman

My Destination local expert on

Cape Verde

It’s a good idea to scrap any preconceptions you may have about the exterior of eateries – some of the best local dishes can be found in the most unassuming of places. A popular cuisine choice in Cape Verde is cachupa, the national dish. A hearty slow-cooked stew of corn, beans and either meat or fish, this meal varies between the different islands.

 

Santa Maria, Sal

 

The island of Sal offers the widest choice when it comes to dining options; outside the obvious hotel eateries, the coastal city of Santa Maria is packed with lively restaurants – many serving fresh catches snagged earlier that day. A recommended seafood restaurant is the superb Atlantis, situated on the beachfront and serving upmarket European fish dishes. Santa Maria also boasts a more cosmopolitan foodie scene than the other island towns, with unusual offerings such as Geko Gourmet; a Mediterranean-themed restaurant serving immaculate Spanish/Italian fusion cuisine. Along with these high-end establishments, Santa Maria also hides a variety of down-to-earth gems – head away from the beach to find charming family restaurants serving local and African dishes.

 

Atlantis, Santa Maria beach. Tel: +238 421 879• Geko Gourmet, Bloco B, Djadsal Moradias. Tel: +238 242 5109

 

Sal Rei, Boa Vista

 

Cosy and chilled it may be, this sleepy town still performs when it comes to exciting dining options. Although Sal Rei’s small population means less of a choice for the hungry traveller, all of the town’s restaurants are excellent without exception. In particular, the Belgian establishment Elcibar is especially revered, with a sprawling ocean view and an endless menu of international dishes. Sal Rei also delivers on fine local cuisine in the heart of the historic Vecchio Centro, with rooftop restaurant Grill Luar serving up authentic Cape Verde grub accompanied by true island hospitality and a colonial vista over the old town.

 

Elcibar, Vila Cabral no.2. Tel: +238 994 2360• Grill Luar, Vecchio Centro. Tel: +238 251 1730

 

Praia, Santiago

 

The capital of Cape Verde is one of the best areas to find a good meal; while not particularly touristy, Praia is the largest city, and boasts numerous quality restaurants. Many of these are to be found in the Achada de Santo António quarter, a lively plateau in the west of Praia where Italian, Japanese and Mediterranean restaurants all nestle together on the same streets. Titi Sushi Lounge takes advantage of the island’s fresh fish with a delicate array of aromatic sushi dishes. Also within Praia, Restaurant Alex – inside the Pestana Tropico Hotel – is known locally as the island’s best eatery, and serves famed Cape Verde desserts.

 

Titi Sushi Lounge, Complexo Ondas do Mar. Tel: +238 530 1850• Restaurant Alex, Pestana Tropico Hotel. Tel: +238 027 8675

 

Mindelo, São Vicente

 

If you’re not a fan of fancy restaurants, or would just prefer to sample the island specialities, head to Mindelo for some tasty, down-to-earth dishes. Sto Andre - a restaurant about 15mins from the town and very close to the airport - is highly recommended, serving delicacies such as tender octopus accompanied by a range of cocktails made with local exotic fruits. Enticingly-named Restaurante Chocolate is another great option; a mustard-yellow building in Mindelo’s historic center, this restaurant specialises in Cajun and Creole cuisine and adapts fresh local produce such as creamy cheese grilled with honey.

 

Sto Andre, Caixa Postal no. 197.• Restaurante Chocolate, Rua A. Gonvalves no. 117. Tel: +238 927 3451