Carmen Monteiro is a visionary woman who hails originally from Brava, the smallest of the ten islands making up Cape Verde. As a little girl she was surrounded by the cooking of her parents and grandmother, and she always wanted to open her own restaurant. Along with the help of her husband Carlos and their construction partner Joseph, they spent nearly a year converting what was once a fading building near the East Side into the now beautiful Ten Rocks Tapas Bar. Carmen’s children Joceyln and Adilson, along with her son-in-law Victor, handle the business aspects of Ten Rocks - it’s truly a family driven establishment created from love.
Cape Verdean food is an interesting amalgamation of flavors from Portugal, West Africa and the Caribbean. You throw in the leisurely pace of tapas dining and combine that with soulful live music (on weekends) and you have a real cultural experience. Start off the evening with a flight of their traditional Verdean rum ponches, which are made from artisanal sugarcane liquors and fresh juices like mango, coconut and the unique tamarind. Head chef Elia Lima is Cape Verdean and is cooking up some incredible fare. “Octopus is our number one dish,” explains Carmen. “Elia has a recipe that makes the octopus very soft; it melts in your mouth. For contrast she serves it over fried plantains.” The Cape Verdean cod cakes served with house-made sriracha sauce is a must try, as is the garlic shrimp tapas. There is also a popular potato dish, which is sauteed with fresh garlic and chourico, then topped with a fried egg and their signature creole sauce. All of their cocktails have Cape Verdean elements, like fresh fruit juices.
“I’m a very positive person,” Carmen says. “And we wanted to keep it a very happy and positive environment here.” Come to Ten Rocks Tapas Bar for delicious Cape Verdean food, live music on the weekends and a warm atmosphere always. Patio seating is available as well. Open 4pm Tuesday through Sunday (with half prices on select apps between 4-6pm) until late night on weekends.