In this issue, Essential Algarve offers readers a special and practical guide of some of the best restaurants in the region.
The price guide for two people is the following (including wine):
€ is under €50
€€ is €50-€75
€€€ is €75 – €100
€€€€ is €100 – €150
€€€€€ over €150
Call ahead to confirm opening times.
FARO & EAST
In the capital of the Algarve, Faro, you can find excellent seafood restaurants in comfortable surroundings, enjoy a fine-dining experience in a Michelin-starred venue, or even travel back to a colonial-style decorated restaurant with a view to the river. Here is our list of the Best Restaurants in Faro and the eastern Algarve:
Alameda, Faro €€
Located in downtown Faro, Alameda offers a “fun fine-dining” experience. Lush green wallpaper, porcelain monkeys hanging from the ceiling, and a large wall-to-wall wine cellar create a relaxed yet modern atmosphere. Using the Algarve’s freshest ingredients, chef Rui Sequeira offers four tasting menus, paired with a superb selection of wines from small producers.
Open for dinner Thursday to Monday; lunch also on Sunday. Tel: 289 824 831 | Visit Alameda‘s website.
A Ver Tavira, Tavira €€€
Hidden in the old part of town, this lowkey restaurant was recently awarded its first Michelin star. The bright and elegant dining room gives onto a terrace which boasts one of Tavira’s most sought-after views. Chef Luís Brito’s tasting menus offer Portuguese flavours with a few delicate international touches. The vast wine selection includes Portuguese references and French Champagne.
Open Tuesday to Saturday for lunch and dinner. Tel: 281 381 363 | Visit A Ver Tavira‘s website.
Marisqueira O Capelo, Santa Luzia €€
Excellent fish and seafood in comfortable surroundings. Very popular with locals so arrive early for a table. This restaurant is located on the front in Santa Luzia with views over the Ria Formosa lagoon.
Open for lunch and dinner; lunch only on Tuesday. Closed
Wednesdays. Tel: 281 381 670 | Follow O Capelo on Facebook.
Noélia e Jerónimo, Cabanas €€
Renowned as one the best fish and seafood restaurants in the Algarve, this hugely popular establishment is located on the harbour front in Cabanas, Tavira, owned by Chef Noélia Jerónimo, who was voted Chef of the Year 2021 by Boa Cama Boa Mesa guide. The Chef adds her own flair to traditional Portuguese cuisine and her rice stew dishes are a must. This restaurant is unsurprisingly busy all year round.
Open for lunch and dinner, closed Wednesdays. Tel: 281 370 649 | Follow Noélia e Jerónimo on Facebook.
Vistas Rui Silvestre, Monte Rei €€€€€
Located in Monte Rei Golf & Country Club, this fine-dining venue with one Michelin star offers contemporary Mediterranean cuisine. The spacious dining room has stunning views over the golf course and surrounding countryside with creative cuisine of Portuguese origins from executive chef Rui Silvestre. An outstanding wine list offers over 140 Portuguese and foreign wines.
Reopens in March. Tel: 281 950 950 | Visit Vistas‘s website.
The Grand Salon €€€€€ & The Grand Beach Club €€€, Vila Real de Santo António
Located respectively on the riverside in Vila Real de Santo António and on the river estuary near the beach, these two restaurants are owned and operated by the luxurious Grand House Hotel. The chic yet informal beach club serves a full menu for lunch and dinner with an emphasis on fresh fish and seafood, whilst Grand Salon at the hotel offers fine dining in colonial-style splendour. Acess is only permitted to in-house guests or clients with reservations.
Open for dinner only and luch and dinner respectively. Reservations: 281 530 290 | Visit their website here.
VALE DO LOBO & QUINTA DO LAGO AREA
Considered to be one of the most luxurious locations in the Algarve, the so-called Golden Triangle has a wide range of restaurants to experience the joy of eating well. From tapas, fresh grilled fish, or oriental style meals, to Michelin-starred a la carte options, and much, much more. Here is our list of the Best Restaurants in Quinta do Lago and Vale do Lobo area to visit.
Paixa, Vale do Lobo €€€
This hugely popular tapas restaurant blends traditional and meticulously prepared Spanish and Portuguese tapas in a buzzing and relaxed environment. The main attraction is the huge bar, where magnums of wine and champagne await in ice buckets to be served by the glass. Great food and great value for money in a great environment complemented by a superb selection of wines.
Open for lunch and dinner. Closed Sunday. Tel: 289 394 699 | Follow Paixa on Facebook.
Teahouse Oriental, Vale do Lobo €€€
The décor is simple and elegant with a large sea-view terrace for Winter evenings. Authentic dishes are served from Thailand, Hong Kong, Japan, Indonesia, Singapore and Vietnam. Favourites include freshly made Chinese dumplings.
Open for dinner only. Closed Sunday during winter. Tel: 289 353 438 | Visit their website.
2 Passos, Praia do Ancão €€/€€€
For the best fresh fish in the Vale do Lobo/Quinta do Lago area, head for 2 Passos, which is conveniently located midway between the two resorts on the beach at Praia do Ancão. As well as fresh fish, which is either charcoal-grilled or roasted, other specialities include lobster in the pot.
Open daily for lunch and dinner. Closed on select dates during winter. Tel: 289 396 435 | Visit 2 Passos‘s website.
Florian, Quinta do Lago €€€
This charming restaurant close to the entrance of Quinta do Lago offers outstandingly good food in an informal atmosphere. Dutch chef Pieter Warink bases his cooking on the finest ingredients from fresh local fish and seafood to prime Galician beef cuts grilled to perfection on the Big Green Egg. Specialities include his excellent home-smoked pastrami. Signature dessers include balck & white chocolate mousse with confit pineapple and a crème brûlée to die for.
Open for dinner only. Closed Wednesday. Tel: 289 396 674 | Follow Florian on Facebook.
Gusto by Heinz Beck, Quinta do Lago €€€€
Conrad Algarve’s Gusto (one Michelin star) is the Algarve outpost of German chef Heinz Beck, who has three Michelin stars to his name at his restaurant in Rome. As consultant chef, Beck helped form the menu and the Gusto team. Focusing on exceptional Italian cuisine made with the best ingredients, the atmosphere at Gusto is elegant with a contemporary feel. Alongside the degustation menu there is a complete à la carte menu, and Heinz Beck’s legendary Fagotelli Carbonara is not to be missed. The wine list is extremely comprehensive and there is also an adjacent cocktail bar.
Open Wednesday to Sunday from 7pm. The bar is open from 6pm to 1am. Tel: 289 350 700 | Visit Gusto‘s website.
Casa do Lago, Quinta do Lago €€€
Located on the lakeside in Quinta do Lago and long-established as a high-quality, traditional-style fish and seafood restaurant, Casa do Lago was refurbished for 2020. Tastefully decorated, it can be elegantly adorned for weddings and events. The gorgeous lakeside setting compliments the dining experience. The food highlights predominantly fish and seafood but with an exotic contemporary twist complementing the modern design of the restaurant.
Open daily from 10am to 10pm. Tel: 289 394 911 | Visit Casa do Lago‘s website.
Bovino Steakhouse, Quinta do Lago €€/€€€
Meat is the predominant theme in this elegant and spacious restaurant, including T-bone steaks, Australian Wagyu or succulent Chateaubriand. The meat is imported directly from Ireland and goes through a 28-day ageing process. The wine list features more than 250 national and international wines and, in addition to the outdoor terrace and garden, there is also a pool bar, with infinity pool, serving light meals.
Open daily for dinner. Tel: 289 007 863 | Visit Bovino Steakhouse‘s website.
Gourmet Natural/Parrilla Natural, Almancil/Vale do Lobo €€€
Located just a few hundred metres from one another, sister restaurants Gourmet Natural and Parrilla Natural are founded on the same philosophy of serving free-range Uruguayan beef with a taste of South American hospitality. Set within beautifully restored villas, both serve a range of Uruguayan specialities and certified Uruguayan steaks cooked on the parrillas — the traditional South American grills. Each featuring an outdoor bar, Gourmet Natural boasts a pretty courtyard with South American touches throughout, whilst the newer Parrilla Natural features lovely gardens and an extensive terrace, as well as a wine cellar and herb garden.
Gourmet Natural is usually open for the summer months, whilst Parrilla Natural is open Monday to Saturday for dinner, all year round. Tel: 289 350 040 | Visit Gourmet Natural‘s website.
Figueiral, Almancil/Quinta do Lago €€
Very near to central Almancil, on the central road to Quinta do Lago, this establishment enjoys a strong local following, and rightly so. Few can beat its feijoada or the Brazilian speciality of picanha. Be warned though, you need a serious appetite to compete with the array of sundries that accompany this succulent beef dish. And by the way, while being great with meat, Figueiral also serves several prawn specialities that should not be missed.
Open Monday to Saturday for dinner. Tel: 289 395 558 | Visit Figueiral‘s website.
Henrique Leis, Almancil €€€€€
This intimate, Swiss-style chalet is the setting for innovative international cuisine. A warm, friendly welcome and discreet service add to the relaxed but elegant atmosphere. The food tastes just as good as it looks — and the presentation is exquisite. Try the scallops and langoustine or delicate ravioli starters, followed with fresh fish or duck. Dessert options include a basket of four ice creams. A greatvalue lunch menu is also available. Advance
Open Tuesday to Saturday for lunch and dinner. Tel: 289 393 438 | Visit Henrique Leis’s website.
Pizzeria Casavostra, Almancil €/€€
Using homegrown herbs and vegetables, Casavostra boasts a wide choice of pastas, salads and tasty pizzas to suit all taste. This popular pizzeria also features a cool outdoor terrace and the Portuguese wines on the list come from the owner’s family vineyards.
Open for lunch and dinner. Tel: 289 397 565 | Visit Casavostra‘s website.
Aurora by Vitor Veloso, Loulé €€
Nestled within the delightful historic centre of Loulé, Aurora boasts a very typical Portuguese cuisine with Vitor’s own signature twist. With a modern and stylish décor, the ambiance is as cool and fresh as the food. Traditional dishes such as Suckling Pig, Octopus, and Cod combined with new flavoured sauces and textures bring out not only the original Portuguese authenticity but also the chef’s personal style which originates from over 20 years of culinary experience. Having opened Aurora in 2021, he focuses on fresh Algarvian flavours with an exotic flare that are sure to not disappoint!
Temporarily closed for break. Tel: 289 035 506 | Visit Aurora‘s website.
Tribulum, Almancil €€€
Irish chef Jonnie Pratt has been cooking up his own style of bistro cuisine in the Algarve since the late ‘90s and Tribulum is his latest venture. The restaurant is located on the “middle” road between Almancil and Quinta do Lago, set in an elevated position with lovely country views. At lunch time, there is a small and very reasonably menu offering light and tasty dishes such as excellent bruschetta and crispy squid rings. In the evening, a more elaborate but still reasonably priced menu features dishes such as braised pig cheeks with chestnuts and acorn purée, rabbit and tarragon meatballs or, as a fish option, monkfish fillet with confit garlic, roast cherry tomatoes and prawn bisque.
Open Tue-Sat for lunch and dinner; lunch only on Sunday and
dinner only on Monday. Tel: 289 397 784 | Visit Tribulum’s website.
CaféZïque, Loulé €€€€€
Located right next to the castle in the centre of Loulé, in a beautifully converted and traditional whitewashed building, CaféZïque has raised the bar in Loulé. Chef Leandro Araújo and sommelier João Valadas opened this restaurant in 2020 after having worked at the (now closed) Michelin-starred São Gabriel restaurant. The cuisine aims to surprise and delight diners with unusual dishes based on seasonal local ingredients. The focus is on Portuguese flavours but dishes may include an exotic twist. Both an a la carte and tasting menu are available. The wine list offers a selection of the best wines from each and every region of Portugal. During the warmer months, tables on the outdoor terrace overlooking the castle are in high demand, so be sure to book in advance.
Open Tuesday to Saturday for dinner. Tel: 289 043 931 | Follow CaféZique on Facebook.
ALBUFEIRA & VILAMOURA AREA
At the centre of the Algarve, there are many opportunities to taste typically Algarvean dishes, like cataplana and cabidela, or more exquisite fine-dining dishes with a view to the Marina of Vilamoura, which was named World’s Best Marina in 2021. Here is the list of some of our favourite restaurants in Albufeira and Vilamoura:
Veneza, Paderne €€
Unassuming roadside restaurant on the road from Paderne to Albufeira. The menu is typically Algarvean, with cataplana, pork dishes and cabidela main courses and typical desserts of figs, almonds and apple-based tarts and fresh fruit. Everything is homemade and served fresh. Great selection of Portuguese wines at unbeatable prices. On-site wine shop worth a diversion.
Open for lunch and dinner. Closed Tuesday. Check after summer period – may only be opening for dinners. Tel: 289 367 129 | Visit Veneza‘s website.
Al Quimia, Albufeira €€€€
Al Quimia is the gourmet restaurant of the five-star Epic Sana Hotel, inspired by regional products and the proximity to the sea, with a laidback yet sophisticated atmosphere. Focusing on traditional Portuguese food, chef Luís Mourão emphasizes products from the sea, and the extensive wine list features some of the best Portuguese labels. There are two tasting menus, but clients can also select dishes à la carte.
Open Tuesday to Saturday for dinner. Tel: 289 104 500 | Visit Al Quimia‘s website.
Vila Joya, Albufeira / Galé €€€€€
With two Michelin stars, Vila Joya’s restaurant in Albufeira is in fact a luxury boutique and spa hotel with palatial suites and well-appointed rooms – yet another top restaurant in our list of the best restaurants in the Algarve. A few tables in the restaurant are available for nonresidents but need to be booked well in advance. À la carte or a fixed tasting menu at lunchtime and degustation menu in the evening.
La Cigale, Albufeira/Olhos de Água €€
One of the oldest existing restaurants in the Algarve in one of the most beautiful locations, La Cigale is located right on the beach in Olhos de Água and has been serving traditional Portuguese fare, especially fresh fish and seafood, since 1960. Today, it has a touch of nostalgic charm with professional service and a good, sensibly priced wine list. The view and the fresh fish are as good as ever.
Open daily for lunch and dinner. Tel: 289 501 637 | Visit La Cigale‘s website.
Willie’s, Vilamoura €€/€€€
Willie’s can be found tucked away within the residential area of Vilamoura, the classic gourmet principles with elements of French, Italian and central European cuisine are backed up by a solid but not exhaustive wine list. Booking recommended.
Open for dinner only, closed Wednesdays. Tel: 289 380 849 | Visit Willie‘s website.
Pepper’s Steakhouse, Vilamoura €€€
Vilamoura’s best steakhouse, Pepper’s Steakhouse, is located in the Tivoli Marina Hotel. Imported beef cuts alongside Portugal’s own prime-quality beef such as Mirandesa, from the North, and Mertolenga, from the Alentejo, are grilled to perfection. Try the spicy prawns to start and, for those not keen on beef, there are fish and seafood options as well as chicken and pork dishes. The restaurant features a cosy indoor dining room and a large terrace overlooking the Marina.
Open every day for dinner. Tel: 289 303 303 | Visit Pepper‘s website.
CARVOEIRO, LAGOA & SILVES AREA
There are a lot of restaurants in Carvoeiro and its surrounding areas to choose from, with the opportunity to experience fine dining at its best with a meal at a Michelin-starred restaurant in the area or maybe a taste of “tradition with a twist” at a restaurant with a stunning view of the cliffs and the ocean. Here is the list of our selected best restaurants in the Algarve in this area:
Bon Bon, Sesmarias €€€€
With new chef José Lopes at the reins and boasting a new menu inspired by the ocean, Carvoeiro’s only Michelin-starred Bon Bon restaurant has long been known as one of the best in the area for fine dining. The menu is backed up by a solid wine list of Portuguese and foreign labels, carefully selected by owner and sommelier Nuno Diogo. Dine inside by the central log fire in the cooler months or out on the terrace with view of the Monchique hills.
Open for lunch & dinner Monday, Saturday and Sunday; dinner only on Thursday-Friday. Tel: 282 341 496 | Visit Bon Bon‘s website.
Hexagone Steakhouse, Sesmarias €€
The menu at this steakhouse highlights topquality meats and a wide range of cuts, all cooked to tender, juicy perfection. The new menu also offers a variety of fish, seafood and vegetarian option and is backed up by an extensive wine cellar featuring some of Portugal’s finest labels. With an elegant dining room, lounge bar and outdoor terrace, the atmosphere is relaxed and welcoming.
Open for lunch and dinner. Sunday and Monday. Tel: 917 889 344 | Visit Hexagone‘s website.
La Bella Vita, Carvoeiro €€€
High-quality Italian restaurant with an old-school style located on the Clube Atlântico development, a short drive to the east of Carvoeiro on the coast road.
Open Tuesday to Sunday from 6pm. Tel: 282 358 556 | Follow La Bella Vita on Facebook.
The Wolf, Carvoeiro €€
Great steaks, rack of lamb and daily fish and seafood specials are served in this upscale bar and grill with smart interiors and outdoor dining on the ground floor and upstairs terrace. Located on Estrada do Farol, the restaurant’s star attraction is the US Black Angus beef, including an excellent T-Bone cooked on the ultimate charcoal grill/oven — The Josper. Food served on both terraces.
Open daily for lunch and dinner. Tel: 962 708 596 | Follow The Wolf on Facebook.
Primavera, Carvoeiro €
An attractive trattoria-style restaurant at the top of Estrada do Farol in Carvoeiro, serving Italian/Mediterranean cuisine, it has a lovely ambience and features a stylish interior décor, as well as a large attractive terrace that is ideal for the hot days. Regular live entertainment.
Open daily for lunch and dinner except Sunday. Tel: 282 358 017 | Follow Primavera’s Restaurant on Facebook.
Chef’s Kitchen, Carvoeiro €€
This spacious restaurant is tastefully decorated, cosy in the winter and with pleasant outdoor terrace spaces for the warmer months. The varied menu includes the excellent calf ’s liver, great steaks and regular fish specials, as well as tasty homemade burgers made from prime meats.
Reopen in February. Tel: 282 083 332 | Follow Chef’s Kitchen on Facebook.
The One, Carvoeiro €€€€
Located within Tivoli Carvoeiro, The One’s focus undoubtedly remains on creating signature dishes using top-quality, local ingredients for “tradition with a twist”. Indulge in the tomahawk steak (for two), complete with green peppercorn sauce, wedge potatoes and an Algarvean salad — paired alongside a vast selection of wine. Enjoy the experience comfortably indoors or outside on the garden-style terrace with a stunning view of the golden cliffs and the Atlantic Ocean.
Open for dinner from 7pm to 10pm. Closed Mondays. Tel: 282 351 100
Semi XO, Poço Partido €€
Semi XO brings something totally different to the local restaurant scene. A talented chef and a charming young team along with chic interior décor set the scene for an international menu based around French and Asian flavours and techniques, and a focus on locally sourced produce. Grilled dishes are excellent, prepared in the kitchen either on a Japanese robata grill or on the Big Green Egg barbecue cooker. The food is unpretentious but prepared with skill and care, and there is a short but very well-selected wine list.
Open Tuesday to Saturday from 6pm. Tel: 915 555 977 | Visit Semi XO‘s website.
O Pescador, Benagil €€
A cosy restaurant in Benagil whose philosophy stays true to local fishing traditions. With a bright and airy décor and rustic yet elegant touches throughout, the restaurant seats 50 people and enjoys a delightful sea view. Serving fresh sea-caught fish and Argentinian meat, the menu is complemented by an excellent wine list. There is also regular live music and special events.
Open Thursday to Tuesday for lunch and dinner. Tel: 282 354 017 | Follow O Pescador restaurant on Facebook.
Ocean/Vila Vita Parc, Alporchinhos €€€€€
With two Michelin stars, Ocean — Vila Vita Parc’s gourmet restaurant — is yet another top restaurant considered to be one of the best restaurants in the Algarve. With a prime location set just back from the cliff-top, with stunning views both from the terrace and from the inside. The ambience is refined, with discreet service and exquisite tableware, setting the scene for a special occasion. Diners can enjoy the new Islands Edition menu, inspired by the islands of the Azores, Madeira and São Tomé e Príncipe.
Reopens in March. Tel: 282 310 100 | Visit Ocean‘s website.
Arte Náutica, Armação de Pêra €€
Located on Armação de Pêra beach, well away from the built-up part of town, this is a high-quality fish and seafood restaurant owned and operated by the Vila Vita Parc Hotel. Fresh produce is always in abundance and the restaurant has a large terrace with uninterrupted sea views and an air-conditioned interior.
Open every day 10am. Tel: 282 314 875 | Visit Arte Náutica‘s website.
O Leão de Porches, Porches €/€€
Located in the centre of the small town, O Leão de Porches is one of the oldest and most appealing restaurants in the Algarve. Established in the 1960s and run by Bianca Salden since 2005, the restaurant’s creative menu is complemented by a well-balanced list of Portuguese wines. The building retains much of its 18th-century charm, with a cosy and inviting décor to match.
Open for dinner only, closed Wednesdays. Tel: 282 381 384 | Visit O Leão de Porches‘s website.
O Barradas, Lagoa/Silves €€
Located on the old road from Lagoa to Silves, this restaurant is one of the best restaurants in the area for traditional Portuguese food with an international twist. The emphasis is on fresh, high-quality ingredients such as the superb certified Mirandesa steaks from northern Portugal and locally caught fish grilled to perfection. The menu is complemented by an excellent wine list.
Open from 6pm. Closed Wednesdays. Tel: 282 443 308 | Visit O Barrada’s website.
Marisqueira Rui, Silves €€
The Algarve’s most famous seafood restaurant. The food is as fresh as it gets and the ambience relaxed and noisy from the sound of crab cracking. A vast selection of seafood cooked to order and speciality dishes include seafood rice and cataplanas. Very popular with locals on the weekends so arrive early for a table.
Open for lunch and dinner. Closed Tuesdays. Tel: 282 442 682 | Follow Marisqueira Rui on Facebook.
Restaurante Ribalta, Algoz €€
Off the beaten track but worth the journey, this is a traditional-looking Algarve cottage-style restaurant offering traditional Algarve home-cooking. Basic dishes of the day freshly cooked to order, specials available by prior order. Delicacies include fresh cheese with pumpkin jam; chicken with delicious onion sauce; and homemade fig ice cream. Check out the glass paintings and the handmade items in the adjacent shop too: perfect gifts and a real taste of the Algarve.
Open for lunch and dinner. Closed Mondays and Tuesdays. Tel: 963 692 569 / 916 123 835 | Follow Ribalta Restaurant on Facebook.
In the Portimão, Ferragudo and Monchique areas, we have a set of unexpected locations to experience the best of local cuisine the Algarve has to offer. So here is the list of some of the best restaurants in Portimão:
Loki, Portimão €€€€
This tiny restaurant serves just six diners each evening who must all dine at the same time and eat (allergies aside) whatever the chef manages to source that particular day. Expect an unsual experience without any form of pretense, with all inredients sourced locally from the Algarve, many of them wild products forged by the chef who runs the restaurant single-handedly. Reservations need to be made long in advance as there’s a waiting list. You can read more about it here.
Open Tuesday to Saturday for dinner, strictly by reservation. Tel: 962 109 656 | Visit Loki’s website.
O Caniço, Alvor €€€
One of the longest established beach restaurants in the Algarve, Caniço enjoys a spectacular location literally built into a cave in the cliff face below the Prainha resort between Portimão and Alvor. The restaurant is accessed via a tunnel and elevator from the cliff-top above and features a café-bar at beach level with the dining area above offering ocean views. The food is traditional Portuguese with good-quality, fresh fish and seafood and a good wine list.
Reopens in March. Tel: 282 458 503 | Visit O Caniço‘s website.
Vista Restaurant, Praia da Rocha €€€€
The charming Relais & Châteaux Bela Vista Hotel, right on the seafront in Praia da Rocha, is home to one of the best fine-dining restaurants in the Algarve, the Vista Restaurant (with one Michelin star). Chef João Oliveira and his team produce exacting cooking based on classic principles with great respect for local ingredients and a good dash of creative flair. Set within an early 20th-century palace, the sea views from the outdoor terrace are particularly special.
Reopens in April. Tel:282 460 280 | Visit Vista‘s website.
Luar da Foia, Monchique €€
Heading up from Monchique town to Foia, O Luar da Foia is on the left, and whilst this place serves the tasty grilled piri-piri chicken that Monchique is renowned for, there is also a good selection of traditional regional and Portuguese cuisine cooked with care. Comfortable, rustic-style indoor dining room and small terrace offering magnificent views.
Open Tuesday to Saturday for lunch and dinner. Tel: 282 911 149 | Visit Luar da Foia‘s website.
Tasca do Petrol, Marmelete €
Tasca do Petrol is located in the foothills of the Monchique Mountain, on the road that leads from Monchique to Aljezur. This hugely popular restaurant is the home of real country cooking, with pork dishes being the main speciality. The pork and cabbage stew (cozido de couve) is not to be missed, as is the assadura — charcoal-grilled cutlets of locally reared black Iberian pig. Reservations essential, especially for lunch on the weekends.
Open for lunch and dinner. Closed Tuesdays after 4pm and all day Wednesday. Tel: 282 955 117 | Follow Tasca do Petrol on Facebook.
Sueste, Ferragudo €/€€
For the ultimate in fresh fish, charcoal-grilled to perfection, head for Sueste at the end of the fisherman’s quay in Ferragudo. Simple surroundings with soft jazz ambient music and great sunset views across the river to Portimão. Reservations not accepted so arrive early to avoid waiting for a table.
Temporarily closed for break. Tel: 282 461 592 | Follow Sueste on Facebook.
Rei das Praias, Ferragudo €/€€
Located on Caneiros beach, between Carvoeiro and Ferragudo, rather than a typical beach restaurant is a high-quality fish and seafood restaurant which just happens to be located on a beautiful beach. There is always a great selection of prime fresh fish on offer that can be either plain grilled or oven-roasted and then deboned at your table. For a special treat, ask for the fresh giant carabineiros (scarlet prawns). The restaurant also features an excellent selection of fine wines and champagnes. Reservations are essential.
Open Wednesday to Sunday for lunch and dinner. Closed on select dates during winter. Visit their website or call for confirmation. Tel: 282 461 006
SAGRES & LAGOS AREA
From the east end of the Algarve region, here is a list of great restaurants in the Algarve to experience a good meal with friends and family:
Vila Velha, Sagres €€
On the road to the pousada in the centre of Sagres, Vila Velha is well worth a visit. The menu mixes traditional Portuguese favourites with imaginative international dishes. There are always several tasty vegetarian options on offer. Desserts are homemade and delicious. Cosy, friendly atmosphere. Available for private lunches.
Open for dinner. Closed Thursday and Saturday. Tel: 282 624 788 / 917 128 402 | Visit Vila Velha‘s website.
As Dunas, Martinhal Resort €/€€
Part of the Martinhal Resort in Sagres, As Dunas is a laidback restaurant that offers a wide choice of traditional Algarvean food at its best. There’s plenty of seafood and fresh fish to choose from — at accessible prices — and in a stunning location, amidst the sand dunes of Martinhal Beach. With its cool deck and contemporary look, this is the perfect restaurant for a relaxed lunch.
Open for lunch and dinner. Tel: 282 240 200 | Visit As Dunas‘s website.
Eira do Mel, Vila do Bispo €€€
Chef José Pinheiro and his wife Isalia have established Eira do Mel, this comfortable rustic-style restaurant, in the town of Vila do Bispo as one of the top places in the western Algarve for regional cooking. The emphasis is on refined versions of traditional stews using nothing but the freshest local ingredients cooked with great care. Try the octopus cataplana. The quality of food is matched by an excellent wine selection featuring some of Portugal’s top-quality labels. The chef is an active member of various gastronomic associations and when he is travelling to take part in events, the restaurant may be closed. Call ahead to avoid disappointment.
Open Tuesday to Saturday for lunch and dinner, dinner only on Monday. Tel: 917 555 669 | Follow Eira do Mel on Facebook.
O Camilo, Lagos €
A family-run business since the 1980s, O Camilo enjoys a stunning location overlooking Praia do Camilo beach and offering views from Meia Praia all the way to Alvor. The restaurant focuses on traditional Algarve cuisine and is popular for its wide choice of fresh fish and local produce.
Open from 11am. Closed Monday. Tel: 282 763 845 | Visit O Camilo‘s website.
Mirandus, Vivenda Miranda/Porto de Mós €/€€
The terrace of Vivenda Miranda’s restaurant, from its elevated cliff-top position overlooking the ocean and surrounded by sub-tropical gardens, is one of the most beautiful lunch or dinner settings in the Algarve, with a cosy indoor dining room for the cooler months. German chef Christoph Voigt offers a refreshingly classical take on fine dining on his evening menu with a selection of lighter dishes, including an excellent Caesar Salad and a fresh daily fish dish, at lunchtime. Prime ingredients, careful cooking and a very good wine list are rounded off with the chef’s delectable desserts.
Open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Tel: 282 763 222 | Visit Mirandus‘s website.
No Pátio, Lagos €€
Named after the charming patio at the rear of the restaurant that affords secluded al fresco dining, the menu here includes the “No Pátio signatures” with dishes such as seared salmon with asparagus risotto, white wine and watercress cream. A fine selection of Portuguese wines, plus one or two from Australia and the USA, complement the dishes.
Open for dinner only from Tuesday to Sunday. Tel: 282 763 777 | Follow No Pátio on Facebook.
Palmares Clubhouse, Palmares Ocean Living & Golf Resort €€/€€€
The impressive building offers a 180º view spanning from Alvor to Lagos’ Ponta da Piedade. Chef Louis Anjos, who previously maintained Bon Bon’s Michelin star, took the lead at the resort’s three restaurants and here, the team serves up gourmet snacks such as tempura asparagus and Alvor oysters, as well as comfort foods like oxtail ravioli and seafood rice with sea bass.
AL SUD, Palmares Ocean Living & Golf Resort €€€€
Featuring signature cuisine from award-winning chef Louis Anjos, the Michelin-starred Al Sud promises a journey through the best that the Algarve has to offer, with the ocean as its muse. Facing the Bay of Lagos, to the right, and the Alvor Estuary, to the left, the tasting menus are broken down into 8, 10 or 12 ‘moments’. The bluefin tuna with Ria de Alvor oysters, Oscetra caviar and Granny Smith apple or the Iberian pork noodles with stew broth, Monchique corn and fine herbs are two of the standout dishes. Reservation is required.
Reopen in February. Tel: 926 292 617 | Visit Al Sud‘s website.
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