Deserted island experiences usually don’t come with an over-the-top restaurant where fresh is an understatement.
Sat directly on the edge of the island where the currents meet and collide…some may say its unfair, a bit like shooting fish in a barrel as the catch is spawned nearby in the shallows and then head out to via a deep channel, only yards away from the kitchen. Sounds like a winning location to us, maybe not to the sea life, but tasty nonetheless. The island is a protected area, so infrastructure is nonexistent, meaning the restaurant which can be the only “inhabitant”, had to produce its own energy and make its own drinking water, among other eco-challenges. They’ve done a marvelous job of fitting in in an unobtrusive way, while standing out and grabbing the attention of every taste bud lucky enough to wander in.
Reaching the island is the first step in getting lost for the day and where the adventure begins. Accessible only by arrival from the sea, you can catch a ferry or take a speedboat to get to Estaminé. Be certain to watch the shoreline if you come over during high tide, you’ll be gobsmacked to see the drastic drop in the water level on your way home.
The family began the restaurant here as a shack. Their condition was such that nothing could have been predicted whether they would be able to come on par with modern restaurants by incorporating the right kind of kitchen equipment (such as tomato mills, stainless steel work tables, and electric glass polisher, to name a few) and investing in the interiors to convert the shack into a restaurant. Esteminé, however, has flourished and become a gorgeous restaurant built to blend in with the natural landscape of this windswept island. We hear that from above it resembles a crab. Now that is really trying to blend in to your surroundings. Experiencing the island is a necessity. The fresh caught fish could hardly be fresher as it’s all from just off the shores of the island. The nutrient rich environment of the unique tidal shifts produces a tasty catch. The lagoon estuary feeds directly into the roiling currents of the Atlantic. Being able to see the two bodies of water come together (on your plate) makes every bite even more delectable. The service is exceptionally prompt, hospitable and genuinely welcoming. We catch ourselves expressing this same sentiment repeatedly here in Portugal.
- Insiders tip:
Order the “Beach” shrimp. We won’t ruin the experience for you, but it’s the most unique preparation of shrimp we have ever experienced and the taste is unbeatable.
Stroll around the island after lunch and at the very least one bottle of wine and enjoy everything from sand dunes to crashing waves. There’s a calm lagoon side and an entire island to explore, sometimes it’s difficult to find anyone else for quite a while, so let your imagination be your guide.
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