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Dine - Rancho del Sol

839_dineLuncheon  @ A sunny place on the hill

"Having lunch in a breezy place is always a pleasure," said my date for lunch one beautiful, calm day. It is a rarity these days to find a "calm" day with the way the wind has been howling the past couple weeks. The trade winds are a blessing usually as they keep mosquitoes away and give sailors who are yacht racing some great excitement, but the downside sometimes is they are not conducive for sitting outdoors to have lunch. The menu gets blown away, the salad being delivered to your table ends up in the car park and – horrors – wine glasses are, on occasion, blown over... Well, that's my story and I am sticking to it!

Fortunately, the lovely establishment on the hill known as Rancho del Sol has a fabulous setting at which to sit and enjoy a great panoramic view over Orient Bay, great food and wine out of a strong wind, when the occasion calls for it, as well as right out on the lawn in a beautiful summer breeze that wafts over one. Imagine slowly sipping on an ice cold beer or chilled glass of rose while looking past the aloe flowers that are busy with the little humming birds and sugar birds at the beautiful kite surfing sails soaring over the azure waters below.

On top of this, the menu at Rancho Del Sol is delightful both for luncheon and dinner. The cuisine is Italian, American and French and they have a delicious "plat du jour" for just €10 each day of the month. They have a website where one can go to see just what is offered each day during the month – do check it out. The day we had lunch, as I said, was warm and breezy; having parked in the amply large parking lot, we chose to sit at one of the wooden garden tables on the lawn.

We ordered a pizza to share; it made an excellent starter. We then had a chilled mahi-mahi salad and a steak and Guinness pie that was covered in wonderful puff-pastry with a side order of French fries. We ended the meal with a shared chocolate dessert; the day always becomes brighter with chocolate – always!

The pizza was honestly outstanding. It was my particular choice because it was called a "Savoyarde" and meant that the topping comprised "Reblochon" cheese, potato, bacon or ham ("Lardons" in France) and a creamy sauce. Never having had such a pizza, I really wanted to try it and have to say we polished it off – it was good! (The word "Savoyarde" made me think of the Alps with the chill of the mountain air which was strangely appealing in the heat of the day.)

The Mahi-Mahi was light and refreshing, one can't go wrong with this raw salad cooked in lemon juice and flavoured with basil. The pie was honest in its tastiness – a steak pie made with Guinness seldom lets one down. It leaves one feeling replete but perhaps not that replete that one cannot share the dessert. The chocolate dessert was warm, lush, melty and chocolaty, just as it should be, just as all desserts should be.

Following this excellent meal, a bottle of homemade rum came to the table and, happily, this was one I love. Made of passion fruit, it is a fabulous "digestif." In France, the traditional "Digestif" is a real gourmet ritual. Digestive drinks are served at the end of a rich meal, to (supposedly) help the digestion process. This convivial moment after dinner gives one the opportunity to taste some great French liqueurs, eaux de vie, brandies and other fruity alcohols; the homemade rum punches in the Caribbean slot into this category with ease and they go down just as easily!

I do hope that we have lunch "atop the hill" again soon because there are many other things I'd like to try – after a starter of the "Savoyarde" pizza again – Yum!

When you do head to Rancho del Sol for a meal, remember they really have an excellent wide selection of meat, fish and burgers on the menu. There is free delivery in the Orient area, just call or visit the website to order online: www.elranchodelsol.com

Info:

Rancho Del Sol

Main Road, Orient Bay

Tel: 0 590 51-12-12 / 0 690 77-04-84

Hours: Open non-stop: 10:00am-10:00pm

Closed on Saturdays

Cuisine: French, American and Italian

Vegetarian: Available

Good: Parking, view

Price range from:

Appetizers: $10

Mains: $12

Desserts: $7

Ratings:

Staff friendliness 4.5

Service speed 4.5

Restaurant cleanliness 4.0

Food quality 4.5

Value for money 4.5

Ambience 4.5

Total 26.5/30

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