There are more restaurants on the more populated islands, such as Santiago, Sao Vicente and the tourist island of Sal. There are local restaurants and bars on all islands serving traditional meals and drinks. Why not try the local meals such as cachupa or the locally produced alcoholic drinks of grogue or ponch, but be careful, the drinks can be quite potent! If you are looking for information on Sal Island please refer to the links on the right under 'What's On Sal Island' or click here on Sal Island Restaurants and Bars.
Fresh fish is caught daily by local fishermen and by small boats trawling for fish, so there is usually plenty of fish served in the restaurants.
Things like prawns maybe imported by air cargo from the Canaries or Brazil along with fresh fruit and vegetables. Container ships also transport food from Europe and West Africa and Brazil.
There is some fresh produce grown on some of the islands and then transported and sold on other islands.
Caipiroska: is made with vodka, sugar, ice and lime.
Caipirinhia : made with grogue, sugar, ice and lime.
Unfortunately, as in most hot countries especially in warm weather, or after some rainfall, you may be bothered by flies that also think you should share your meal with them. It's unavoidable in most situations and you can only hope that there have been no other little visitors while the food was being prepared in kitchens.
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. The waiting time for a table will vary, as will the time it takes for you to be served your meal. There have been occasions where the choice of meals has been limited due to running out of particular menu items. In a few restaurants it is possible to reserve a table in advance. At some places orders have been placed for particular meals a few days or a day earlier, this can be checked when making a reservation.
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 customers who are 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 served on the plate or arrives at the table.
You may also notice, that flies are fewer after dusk.....must me their bed time!
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. 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. There are also Doctors who you can make and appointment to see.
Some hotels and restaurants will have higher food hygiene standards than others, but even the better ones will have complaints from people who have become ill after a particular meal or even the next day. However, rest assured it's not always the meal that was the problem, you may have washed your hands in the bathroom then touched doors, handles, chairs before you sit down, these will most likely have germs on them too. Just think about before you lick your fingers, or after picking up your cutlery from a shared cutlery container that other tourists also use, maybe someone else has touched them, maybe passing on their germs as they took their cutlery..... and so on, so it may not be the meal you ate that caused your tummy problems.
Try and remember to wash your hands with hand gel before a meal and try not to place your fingers near your mouth. The reason being (as stated above) you will have held the arms of the chair as you sit down/stand up, shook someone’s hand, handled money.
Most of us expats wash fruit and dry it properly before peeling or eating it. Needless to say make sure all tap water is removed off salads and fruit. It really depends on whether tap or filtered water has been used to wash the fruit and vegetables. If the food has been washed using tap water and not dried before eating, it may result in an upset tummy. Drink bottled water only, use bottled water to clean your teeth unless you have a water purification and filtration system under the sink which has been changed regularly. Try not to bite your nails or lick your fingers. Anti bacterial wet wipes or gel are very handy to carry around.
We do not know which hotels, restaurants and bars use water filters to purify tap water for ice, washing food etc, so you may want to consider
some of the above tips and pointers.
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.
Winter - at least one long trousers and a jumper
Comfortable walking shoes (flat), thick soled flip flops or sandals
Sun lotions, after sun and Mosquito repellent (can be expensive) Hygiene wash gel/wipes.
Unlocked phone if wanting to use local sim