I would suggest you have your evening meal earlier rather than later in the popular restaurants especially during the winter months in tourist areas such as Santa Maria. Some restaurants get busy during the winter as there are more people on the island. Some people have had to wait over an hour to be served while other people may say they had a good service on other occasions. There are a number of places that can serve food hot and quickly, it depends what has to be prepared fresh or is already prepared. There have also been occasions where the choice of meals has been restricted due to running out of particular menu items or lack of certain food items on the island.
At some places it is best to reserve a table, or if requiring lobster, this may need to be pre-ordered. These are just some things you may need to consider to avoid disappointment.
Not all shops/ café’s etc follow the same guidelines on not refreezing food after it has been defrosted. I am unsure whether any of the small shops have generators to support the running of their freezers. Some will re-freeze meats!
Obviously be wary of meats that have not been cooked thoroughly or that are hot on the outside and cool in the middle.
There are times during the year when weather conditions will result in more flies being around. This is obviously problematic for a lot of restaurants and hotels and the customer who is trying to keep flies off their knives, forks and food on their plate. There is no 100% guarantee that flies will not have landed on some food somewhere before it is placed on your plate or arrives at the table. Some hotels and restaurants will have higher food hygiene standards than others.
Unless you have a tummy that is immune to everything, it is possible, that you or someone in your group may get sickness or diarrhoea, or both, especially if here for more than a few weeks. People suffer more in the summer with upset tummies. If you suffer with an upset tummy go to the Pharmacy and they will provide you with the appropriate tablets. If the problem persists, go back to the Pharmacy, they may also give you re-hydration sachets which you should mix with water and drink, ask if it is one sachet to 1 litre of water.
It is also important to try and remember to wash your hands before a meal and try not to place your fingers near your mouth.The reason being is that you may have touched coins, held the arms of the chair as you sit down/stand up, shook someone’s hand, held a hand rail or the door handle of the toilet as you vacate it. There may be some germs on the handles of the knives and forks or anything that someone else has touched before you. There are one hundred and one other things that may have caused you to have an upset tummy, it may not be the meal you are about to eat or just eaten.
If you peel a banana, make sure your lips don't touch the outside of the skin when you are eating the banana or better still, wash the banana and your hands and under your finger nails before you peel it with your fingers, same goes for other fruit.
Make sure all tap water is removed off salads and fruit, sometimes it is served with water still on it, if the food has been washed using tap water and not dried before eating, it may result in an upset tummy. However, again it depends on the hygiene standards of the restaurant, Bar or Hotel and the staff during preparation.
Only drink bottled water, use bottled water to clean your teeth unless you have a water purification and filtration system under the sink.
Try not to bite your nails or lick your fingers, many tourists do this automatically. Anti bacterial wet wipes or gel are very handy to carry around.
This is not to say that it's unhealthy to eat out, it isn't and a lot of people only eat in hotels, but they get ill sometimes too! Expats eat out at many restaurants and try new places when they open.
These tips are mainly to make you aware of other things you should take into consideration, as no-one likes being ill on holiday!
Local Bars: Small front room local bars are situated in the side streets around the place; some have a few chairs and tables outside or/inside.
Grogue: or other local produced alcohol may be a bit too much for some tummies, however you may want to try one of the many flavoured alcoholic drinks which include cinnamon and banana flavoured grogue.
Caipiroska: is made with vodka, sugar, ice and lime.
Caipirinhia : made with grogue, sugar, ice and lime.