SALSA KITCHEN offers up a unique menu in Tobago — Caribbean-inspired tapas, which translate into small plates with great tastes.
Co-owner/chef, Paula O’Neill turns out well-executed small plates like the Seafood Ajillo - shrimp, squid & fish in garlic & parsley; Minted Pork – strips of sizzling pork in a sweet & spicy mint sauce; Lamb Caribbean – grilled saddle of lamb in a tamarind sauce w/tomato choka; and the Dos Quesos - aromatic Tobago feta cheese and creamy mozzarella w/an onion & olive confit.
We first visited Salsa Kitchen during Tobago’s Blue Food Festival weekend and crowned it our new favourite on the small isle. Each small plate is carefully cooked from scratch (you actually can hear Paula in the kitchen chopping the ingredients.)
Highlights of the evening included the absolutely divine Caprese Salad - tomatoes, mozzarella, basil and olive oil, but the restaurant’s description undersells this salad. The tomatoes were juicy and firm while the slices of fresh buffalo mozzarella practically melt in your mouth, and the “basil & olive oil” turned out to be a piquant basil dressing, the perfect complement to the tomatoes and cheese.
The Eggplant Mozzarella also was a bona fide hit at our table. With this dish, Paula has deconstructed and transformed the ho-hum eggplant baked with sauce and cheese. Eggplant is sliced and roasted, and grilled red onions, sweet peppers, tomatoes and mozzarella cheese are layered between the eggplant slices. The amazing thing is that every vegetable manages to stand tall in this dish.
The next plate was the Lamb Caribbean where the most succulent cut of lamb – the saddle – was grilled and served with a tangy tamarind sauce and a side of tomato choka.
Salsa Kitchen also serves fresh salads and specialty pizzas (housemade dough and sauces) are also available. The pizza menu includes a Four-Cheese Pizza of blue, local feta, Parmesan and mozzarella cheeses and a Pizto Pizza made with a pesto sauce.
Be sure to order the tawa(h)-prepared Garlic Flatbread drizzled with butter, garlic and sea salt. It is perfect for sopping up the lovely sauces like the Lobster & Scallops’ coconut curry sauce and the Lamb Caribbean’s tamarind sauce. We can’t wait to return and sample the specialty pizzas; the Tenderloin Piquante - spicy beef in the best sauce; the Shrimp Salsa - hot and spicy shrimp in a chili garlic sauce; and the Pistou Calamari - calamari sautéed in pesto.
What We (3 People) Paid: $676.50 (including VAT & service charge) for Dinner - Lamb Caribbean, Lobster & Scallops in a Coconut Curry Sauce, Lime Fish, Eggplant Mozzarella, Small Spanish Salad, Small Caprese Salad, Garlic Flatbread, along with half carafe of house white wine and a bottle of water.
Cuisine - International
Serving/Hours - Dinner only, Tuesday – Sunday, Reservations are accepted starting at 6pm
Features/Good to Know - Full service; Full bar; Outdoor (covered) seating available; Reservations are essential; Small restaurant
Address/Phone/Website - Pump Mill Road, Scarborough, Tobago; (868) 639-1522; Facebook Page
The New York Times lists Salsa Kitchen as one of the places in its “Where To Eat” Tobago section, saying ”for a casual evening, drive up a steep hill to Salsa Kitchen…a five-table cafe in Scarborough that serves tapas and fresh pizzas.” [New York Times, January 2009]