One of a kind
Located along Ponta da Piedade road, Monte Mar Lagos restaurant enjoys a setting surrounded by nature, with no neighbours and far reaching views of the Atlantic Ocean, all the way from the edge of Carvoeiro to Porto de Mós beach. Although it only opened in March, the restaurant’s story started being written 32 years ago, near the Portuguese capital.
Monte Mar Cascais was the first restaurant to open under the Onyria Group in 1988. It stands over the rocks of Guincho and, to this day, is led by executive chef Laura Rocha. It was followed by Monte Mar Lisboa, which opened seven years ago in Cais do Sodré, right by the river Tagus.
In Lagos, it all began with an old dream and a ruin in the perfect location. “The Group used to own the Palmares Hotel and so was already familiar with the Algarve. They always wanted to return to the region and this location was just perfect,” says restaurant manager Maria Guedes. It was precisely the fact that the old house was in such a bad state of repair that made Monte Mar Lagos the unique restaurant it is today: “We had a ruin here and, in order to build, we had to follow the same lines. Hence the unusual architectural style of the restaurant,” says the manager.
The building has a rectangular shape, with straight lines and shades of light brown so as not to clash with the surroundings. The highlight is the rooftop “which boasts a spectacular view no other local restaurant can provide”, says Maria Guedes. It’s the perfect place to enjoy a sunset drink before heading down to dinner, or to relax after lunch to the sound of ambience music.
As for the menu, it offers a taste of the sea. Much like its sister restaurants in Cascais and Lisbon, the menu at Monte Mar Lagos was created 27 years ago.
“Every time we open a restaurant, we bring in the team that is already familiar with the brand and the concept we want to implement. In this case, we brought the chef plus eight people who spent a month in Lagos. Clients who are familiar with us will recognise what defines our brand. The menu is the same, as are the service and quality,” states Maria Guedes.
The only areas where they differ are the origin of the fish and seafood, which in the case of Monte Mar Lagos is from the Algarve coast, and the décor, which is inspired by local traditions. “As we are surrounded by nature, we opted for neutral and light colours, Algarve lines, palm leaf baskets, ceramics, raffia and fish motifs,” explains the manager.
At the helm of the open-concept kitchen is chef Osvaldo Marques and the menu is inspired by the sea, with fresh fish and seafood from local suppliers.
Two of the house specialties – and consequently the most requested dishes – are the stuffed crab shell and the hake fillets with cockle rice. “All our clients know this last dish and expect to see it on the menu,” explains Maria Guedes.
Diners are greeted with a showcase of the freshest fish and seafood so that they can pick what they want. There are also options for sharing and for larger groups, such as the prawn açorda (bread stew), the seafood rice stew and the parrilhada de marisco (seafood platter). The menu also features lobster crepes, grilled squid “à Monte Mar” and grouper fillets à la Grenobloise. “Our cooking is very Portuguese and simple. We stand out for the quality and freshness of our products,” says the manager.
Although it has only been open for a few months, Maria Guedes believes the restaurant is one of a kind. “There aren’t many like it in the area and people are delighted by the novelty. We are not just another restaurant; we set ourselves apart through our location and our personalised service, where the fish is plated in front of the customer,” she says.
Monte Mar Lagos is open all year round and can seat 110 people – 40 indoors and 70 on the terrace. It is available for private events. Open Tuesday to Saturday from 12pm to 10pm and Sundays for lunch.
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