Maria-Joao Pombo’s ‘Pilolo Atomico’ — Short Guide to Santomean Restaurants

Café & Compania

Café & Compania. Photo by António Sousa

This is the first in a series of posts about Santomean cuisine, and the restaurants where you can enjoy a good meal of Kalulu, accompanied by local Rosema beer.


Café e Companhia

Pilolo Atomico. Photo by Inna Moody

Cafe & Compania

Probably the most famous place to hang out in Sao Tome is Cafe & Compania. The owner Maria-Joao Pombo has good coffee, sandwiches and the famous Pilolo Atomico (a local ecological answer to Viagra, served as a drink). It’s even got a BBC article by Maimouna Jallow who lived on the islands for a couple of years, and another take on Boise Weekly.

Kalulú de Peixe

Kalulú de Peixe, a national dish with delicious fresh fish and spinach. Photo by Robert Grant.

In the Capital

Other restaurants in the capital include O Pirata, Bigote, and Esplanada Jasmine (per Chika Umeadi a good place for pizza). Also Os Dois Pinheiros, Paraiso dos Grelhados and Dona Teté. A number of restaurants include Portuguese style cooking. Seafood is widely eaten, including squid, shellfish, wide range of locally caught fish, such as barracuda. Meat is served in small pastries as a snack.

If you read Portuguese, have access to the ingredients, and want to try out your cooking skills, there’s a number of Santomean recipes on Canal Santola.

Outside the City

Outside the city, in Angolares, the best place to eat is Roça Sao João ran by the famous TV Chef and Entrepreneur João Carlos da Silva of Teia D’Arte fame. Adrobat has a great post with pictures from various restaurants and bars around town.

Going Out After

If you feel like going out after a good meal, there are a good number of discos in the capital, including Africana, Kizomba, and Beach Club (part of the Pestana resort, ask for Ricardo the manager who speaks good English). Outside the capital,  you’re best off just asking around if there’s a party somewhere tonight.