At the coast of the Algarve you will get – oh wonder – a lot of fish and seafood. We tried out some restaurants and were also allowed to look behind the scenes.
Our first restaurant was spot on: A Boneca. In the middle of grottos and caves but with sea view. Here you can get freshly caught fish which is grilled on charcoal. But also seafood and other Portuguese dishes are on the menu. And the sunset watched from top of the rock right beside the restaurant is stunning. A reservation is necessary.
In the hinterland near Monchique there is a small but fine nice garden restaurant. Jardim das Oliveiras. In the middle of cork trees it offer Portuguese meat dishes. But also vegetarians find something on the menu. Both owner who speak different languages look for quality and put some effort in buying from the local neighbours and farmers. As we have been there for lunch it was a salad for us. But it was garnished with fresh fruits and delicious.
At A Vela in Cavoeira we were allowed to watch how you do Cataplana. This popular seafood dish is made and served in a copper pot. It does not only taste great but also looks fantastic. But you have to be patient. It takes at least 30 minutes before it can be served.
At A Vela we also tried dried tuna. A dream. It melts on you tongue and tastes a little bit like fish. You have to try that.
In case you like octopus you can get it here prepared in a special way. And it is soft and tender.
The desserts here are all homemade and differ from day to day. If you can get the figs, try them!
The best ice cream we found at Vila Real de Santo Antonio. At the ice cream parlour O Arco you can get a chocolate ice cream to kneel down. But also try the ‚three sins of Algave‘. You won’t hardly get that sort anywhere else. And it is worth the sin.
At Quarteira we went to the beach restaurant Rosa Branca. There is a nice terrace on the first floor with a view over the beach and the sea. Otherwise there are more tables and seats along the promenade and the street. Sometimes they have live music. The catch of the day is grilled on charcoal and is very good. The vegetables are unfortunately not fresh but come from the freezer or out of the can. But you don’t need to eat that, don’t you?
A gem and another discovery was the bistro and restaurant ‚The Garden‘ at Lagos. In the middle of the charming old town and hidden behind high walls lies a green paradise full of flotsam and jetsam and other decorations. You sit between plants and under trees in the shadow or can lie on oriental furnitures and relax. Food is down-to-earth and good. There are some burgers but also marinated goat cheese with salad. You can drink fresh pressed orange juice. Very nice.
Near Cavoerio there exists since 2015 a new fish restaurant ‚Mar de Fora‘. Directly above the beach. How practical. But it is also very popular. So you better make a reservation. Especially if you want to sit at the seaside and watch the sun set. There is an open kitchen where only women are working. Quite uncommon. Fresh fish, but also lamb loin and other meat dishes are offered. For vegetarians there are some fresh salads on the menu. For example with avocado and mango.
At Cacela Velha at lunch time there is only one restaurant open: Casa Velha. So it is accordingly crowded. The terasse is on the other side of the sea so that you don’t have a view. Food is good but no highlight. The fruits that garnished the salad came out of the can. But as there is no other option it is okay.
In case you do not like fish or seafood you might try a pizza out of the brick oven at Mona Lisa. Thin crust and garnished with fresh ingredients and topped with mozzarella. A dream. And try the Tiramisu. It’s great.
At the west coast we have been near Praia do Bordeira at ‚O Sito do Rio‘. Here you get traditional food but also some vegetarian dishes like salad with soft cheese or vegetables with rice. Everything fresh made and yummy.
The best Pasteis de Nata we got at Terra at Praia do Beliche.
At our very last evening we discovered another gem: the beach restaurant O Stop at Praia de Vale Centeanes. You sit right at the beach with your feet in the sand and get served. You can watch the sun set while eating. It was not the best quality of food but good anyway. But it had the best surrounding.