Ambientes com Sabores...and the rare fish

If you don't already know this, Ryan and I usually go out for dinner on Friday nights.  Even when we were in Vegas we usually went out Friday nights more often than Saturday nights.  Ok, we may have gone out on Saturday nights too, but it was very low key.  Friday night tends to be a nicer dinner out.  So, Friday night we decided to go to Os Moinhos, the restaurant that is in an old mill.  It servess traditional Portuguese/Azorean (there is a bit of a difference) food.

So, we arrive and park at the top of the hill, get out and walk down a few houses until we reach the restaurant.  I should mention it was raining and very dark outside.  No one is there.  So we check the hours and it opens at 19:00.  Ok, so it was 18:50.  No biggie.  We headed back to the car because it was raining...so we walked back up the hill.  It is always good when you burn off dinner before you eat it!

So, 19:05 (7:05, since the place opens at 7:00, which is not that unusual, but usually the restaurants open for dinner at 6 or 6:30...they eat dinner late around here) rolls around.  We get out and walk back down.  Still dark, not open and no sign on the building.  Great, by then we were starving and we had driven all the way to Sao Sebastian and we do not know what else they have to eat around in this town.  At this point we are half way between Praia and Angra, but we are hungry and it is raining and very foggy. 

We decided to head to Angra and try out a restaurant we have passed before but have not yet had a meal there.  The drive was extremely foggy along the coastline.  Luckily it cleared up through Porto Judeu, as it reminded me what a cute little town it is over there.  Then it got foggy again and we were driving slow and wondering if we would ever get there.  It wasn't like we had been driving forever, but it was starting to feel like it. 

Then of ourse once we did get to Angra it is always like a maze adventure.  Ever been on Mr. Toad's Wild Ride at Disney...yep, there is a road that reminds me of a cross between the ride and Lombard Street in San Francisco.  We managed to find that road and drive down it, but with all the twists and turns and then one way roads, it can get insane.  Much easier to navigate Angra in the daytime.  But at least we found the main square...and a decent parking space...and Ambientes Com Sabores.

We we entered, we headed upstairs, and luckily there was a server who spoke some English.  Since they had just opened for dinner service, not many people were in there yet.  This was the dining room we were seated in, although I did see some other differently decorated rooms inside.  It seemed sorta Alice in Wonderland-ish.  I loved it!

We looked over the menu, and the items were a tad pricer than what we usually order, btu I think that was because we were looking at the fish and seafood menu and that always seems to be more expensive.  I glanced at the other items and I do think they may have been higher priced than some other restaurants we have dined in...but oh well, we do not spend money out elsewhere, so dinner out once a week is our splurge.  I like date night.

After sitting for a while I wondered if we would get bread.  Then they brought this out as our couvert.  There was a toast with cheese and then it had some proscuitto, so I passed and gave it all to Ryan.  I asked what the dish in the middle was and he said no meat, I could eat it.  So Ryan tried it first.  When he said it was good, I gave it a try on those little toasts.  then the man came back and said "squid and octopus".  Wow, wasn't expecting that!  I have had calamari before, so I was not opposed to eating squid and octopus, I just didn;t expect it to be so tasty.  I think it was chopped into very fine pieces and seasoned well.  Ryan surprisingly liked it to, and octopus is not really his thing.

and yes, we got bread.  Sadly no olives, but this was a bit fancier than the average restaurant.  Probably the fanciest yet.  I would expect that in Angra as they cater to more tourists there from mainland.  Angra is a UNESCO world heritage site.  World leaders will even meet in this town due to it's geographic location.

Ryan ordered the sesame crusted tuna.  It was cooked although through and not seared.  I liked it this way.  This was some insanely good tuna.  It was served with (I think!) taro root and a sauce.  I loved the presentation!

I ordered something that was not on the menu.  The server knew I did not eat meat and that I did eat fish, so he offered me a rare fish not on the menu.  We asked what it was called, but he didn't know how to say it in English, and I guess he assumed we would not know it in Portuguese, so he said it was very good, very rare and I would like it.  I usually get offered something "not on the menu" and so now I was wondering if this meant super expensive (good news, it was priced the same as other fish on the menu, whew!).

This was my dinner.  Again, the presentation was amazing.  We watch a lot of Hell's Kitchen and love Gordon Ramsey, so this was perfect for us.

The fish tasted so fresh.  In explaining it was rare, we also gfot the impression it was just recetly caught.  He did tell us it was local and from right there.  After I ate some and Ryan took a bite, Ryan knew right away this was veja.  I was wondering how this was so rare since the guys catch it spearfishing (yes, my awesome husband goes spearfishing and has even prepared the fish before, including veja, which is how we know what it tastes like).  Ryan explained this fish does not swim in schools, so it is hard to catch if you have a net out or even a fishing pole.  The reason they catch them spear fishing is that they actually see the fish and go after it under water.  The guys free dive and then use a spear gun to catch this fish.  So for it to be on a menu, it is considered a rare fish.  Ryan even said it is rare to catch them spear fishing sometimes because they swim around by themselves.  The server did in fact confirm this was veja when we asked about it.

This fish was served with little clams, spinach, a side salad, and was on top of garlic mashed potatoes.  It was so good.  I actually tried a clam for the first time, but I think they tasted a little minty (which I am allergic to) and they were chewy.  I just swallowed the darn sucker whole.

I was going to pass on dessert, but it just seemed like a good end to this really nice meal.  So we ordered this brownie sundae to split.  It was really good.

Instead of each getting our own "sweet" dessert, we split the brownie and then split this delicious pineapple.

Again, I was loving the presentation!

Yep, coffee (meia da leite to be exact...a latte) to end the meal.

This is definitely a place we plan to bring guests when they come to visit.

QUESTION: Do you watch Hell's Kitchen or Kitchen Nightmares?  Do you like Gordon Ramsey?  What was the coolest food presentation you have ever been served?

7 comments:

Gina said...

Ryan is such a champ for eating all that interesting food (octopus?!) Nick would never even try it (I don't think) Although it may be different if we lived near the coast!

We do watch Hell's kitchen AND Kitchen Nightmares. We love it because we both used to (or he actually still currently) work in the food business. So we always root Gordon Ramsey on and laugh at the idiots working in the restaurants. It's such a fun show, even though really it's kind of lame. I think Hell's Kitchen is our favorite. We have to make sure NOT to be eating anything when we watch Kitchen Nightmares!

Shannon, Tropical Eats said...

ahhh i love Kitchen Nightmares and his show The F Word on BBC. He is just so amazing and tells people exactly how it is. All of that food looks delish! :)

Abby (Abbys Vegan Eats) said...

Such unique restaurants you are experimenting with.. the presentation of all the food is beautiful!!!
We typically got out on Fridays too!

I used to be really into Kitchen NIghtmares.. I love Gordon just gives it to em straight up.. he's so mean.. its great! Lol

Mari said...

Wow what a beautiful looking restaurant and the presentation is amazing!

Andrea@WellnessNotes said...

Looks & sounds like a great restaurant! And I love the story behind the fish!

We don't watch T.V. anymore, but I like Gordon Ramsey. And I like his BBC show even more.

Sook said...

The food looks great! Yummy!

Laura Kasten said...

We're going this Friday for my birthday. I googled it because Nikki talked it up so much and I found your blog about it. I like your rare fish story, I'm so impressed that they were able to fulfill your request.

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