Although the district of Baishinji is part of Matsuyama, it lies facing the Seto Inland Sea separated from the rest of the city by a ridge of hills. Consequently, it has something of the atmosphere of a seaside village, with a sandy beach and a rickety old beach house on stilts. Part of this beach house is the Buena Vista Café and Restaurant.
In case your Spanish isn’t top notch, buena vista means ‘a good view’, and that’s what you get from Buena Vista. From the window seats of the café, you can look down onto the beach and across a short stretch of the Seto Inland Sea to Gogoshima Island with its rather dramatic mountain. There are always people on the beach, walking dogs, fooling around in the water, and taking photos. You can also enjoy the coming and going of picturesque ferries which dock at nearby Mitsu. Planes taking off from Matsuyama airport rise at a dramatic forty-five degree angle in front of the windows at Buena Vista, although fortunately you can’t really hear them. Besides planes, the sky here is full of seagulls, herons, kites, and a little grey and red bird with a beautiful plaintive song.
Last time I went to Buena Vista, I ordered the keema curry and nan bread for 800 yen. It took a good long time to arrive and it was disappointingly small. The nan bread was clearly one of the frozen type from a supermarket, and in reheating, the middle portion of it had become hard like cardboard. The curry was tasty in a fruity, piquant sort of way. Buena Vista has quite a wide menu which includes the Indonesian dish nashi goreng. I remember it as being tasty but too small to satisfy. I also ordered a bottle of Heartland beer, which is a fairly non-descript sort of lager. Other beers include Guinness, San Miguel and Kirin. There’s also a range of shochu, including some of my favorite brands of awamori from Okinawa.
In spite of being still hungry after my meal, the location worked its charm on me and I felt very relaxed. I could have taken things a step further and helped myself to one of the fleece blankets available in a basket and just zombied out in my chair in the spring sunshine.
Buena Vista also hosts music events which enjoy a good reputation.