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Essential guide: Where to eat this winter

Essential guide: Where to eat this winter


Opening status and hours were verified and updated at the time of print in view of the Covid-19 situation and may vary. Call ahead for confirmation.

SAGRES & LAGOS AREA

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 daily for dinner except Monday. Closing for holidays from

January 1 to February 14. Open for Christmas and New Year’s. Tel: 282 624 788 / 917 128 402

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 the Martinhal Beach. With its cool deck and contemporary look, this is the perfect restaurant for a relaxed summer lunch.

Open November and December from noon to 3pm and 5pm-9pm. Tel: 282 240 200

O Terraço, Martinhal Resort €€€€

O Terraço serves high-quality Portuguese cuisine with a modern touch in a family-friendly setting. Its name does justice to its fabulous location: set on the top floor of the Martinhal Hotel, this restaurant offers stunning sea views to the Martinhal bay and islands, whilst giving parents added peace of mind thanks to the special children’s area. The wine list is extensive, offering many Portuguese options at refreshingly accessible prices.

Open in January from noon to 3pm and 5pm-9pm. Tel: 282 240 200

Eira do Mel, Vila do Bispo €€€

Chef José Pinheiro and his wife Isalia have established 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 for lunch and dinner from Tuesday to Saturday. Closed from December 23-27. Special menu for New Year’s Eve. Tel: 282 639 016

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 to midnight. Closed Monday. Tel: 282 763 845

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

Cacto, Odiáxere €€€€

A lively restaurant located on the EN125 between Portimão and Lagos, Cacto specialises in grills such as great steaks and kebabs. The beef salad starter is highly recommended, as are the garlic prawns.

Open for dinner only. Closed Wednesdays and Thursdays. Tel: 282 798 285

PORTIMÃO AREA

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 lofty ocean views. The food is traditional Portuguese with good-quality, fresh fish and seafood and a good wine list.

Open daily, for lunch and dinner. Closed during winter. Tel: 282 458 503

Vista Restaurante, 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 area (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.

Open Wednesday to Saturday for dinner. Closing for holidays from January 3 to March 4. Special menu for Christmas and New Year’s Eve. Tel: 282 460 280

Vista Restaurante, Praia da Rocha

Luar da Foia, Monchique €€

Heading up from Monchique town to Foia, O Luar 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 and Sunday until 4pm. Tel: 282 911 149

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. Serving only lunch on Tuesdays and closed Wednesdays. Tel: 282 955 117

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 daily for lunch and dinner. Closed on select dates during winter. Visit website or call for confirmation. Tel: 282 461 006

Rei das Praias, Ferragudo

CARVOEIRO, LAGOA & SILVES AREA

Bon Bon, Sesmarias €€€€

With one Michelin star, Bon Bon has long been known as one of the best restaurants in the area for dining in an intimate ambience. Dine inside by the central log fire in cooler months or out on the terrace with views of the Monchique hills in summer. A menu of modern Mediterranean cuisine with a focus on local flavours is backed up by a solid wine list of Portuguese and foreign labels.

Open for lunch and dinner Saturday to Monday and dinner only on Thursday and Friday. Tel: 282 341 496

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 Wednesday to Sunday from 3pm to 9pm. Tel: 282 358 556

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

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 summer months. Regular live entertainment.

Open every day for lunch and dinner. Tel: 282 358 017

Chef’s Kitchen, Carvoeiro €€€€

Dutch chef Harald Kruizinga, who also owns the nearby Ele & Ela restaurant, spread his wings in 2018 and opened Chef’s Kitchen in downtown Carvoeiro. The spacious restaurant is tastefully decorated, cosy in the winter and with pleasant outdoor terrace spaces for the warmer months. The food is a step up from Ele & Ela with a more varied menu. Enjoy the excellent calf’s liver, great steaks and regular fish specials, as well as tasty homemade burgers made from prime meats.

Open for lunch and dinner. Closed December and January. Tel: 282 083 332

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 for dinner. Closed in select dates through the winter, call ahead. Tel: 915 555 977

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

Ocean/Vila Vita Parc, Alporchinhos €€€€€

With two Michelin stars, Ocean — Vila Vita Parc’s gourmet restaurant — enjoys 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 Discovering Portugal menu, inspired by the chef’s own trips around the country, with optional wine pairing recommendations.

Open Wednesday to Sunday for dinner only. Closed November 30 to December 23. Open for the holidays with special menus. Tel: 282 310 100

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 from 11.30am to 10pm. Closed from November 16, briefly open for the holidays. Tel: 282 314 875

O Leão de Porches, Porches €€€

Located in the centre of the small town, this 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. Open for the holidays. Tel: 282 381 384

O Barradas, Lagoa/Silves €€€

Located on the old road from Lagoa to Silves, this 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 for dinner only, closed Wednesdays. Tel: 282 443 308

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. Closed for holidays from January 5-19. Tel: 282 442 682

O Alambique, Poço Barreto €€

This delightful rural eatery really can boast an international flavour. The menu here changes every four months, with a weekly ‘specials’ menu that changes on Wednesdays. There’s a vegetarian choice too, and seasonal specialities abound. Poço Barreto is on the road between Algoz and Silves.

Open for lunch and dinner from Friday to Sunday; for dinner only Monday and Thursday. Closed for holidays from December 15 to January 15. Tel: 282 449 283

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

ALBUFEIRA & VILAMOURA AREA

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 all day Tuesday and Wednesday during lunchtime. Check after summer period – may only be opening for dinners. Tel: 289 367 129

Al Quimia, Albufeira €€€€

Recently renovated, Al Quimia is the gourmet restaurant of the five-star Epic Sana hotel. Inspired by regional products and the proximity to the sea, the atmosphere is laid-back yet sophisticated. 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 for dinner in November. Closed December and January. Tel: 289 104 500

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. Open for New Year’s Eve. Tel: 289 501 637

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

Pepper’s Steakhouse, Vilamoura €€€€

Vilamoura’s best 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

Pepper’s Steakhouse, Vilamoura

VALE DO LOBO & QUINTA DO LAGO AREA

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 all year round for lunch and dinner except December 24 & 25. Tel: 289 394 699

Teahouse Oriental, Vale do Lobo €€€

The décor is simple and elegant with a large sea-view terrace for summer evenings. Authentic dishes are served from Thailand, Hong Kong, Japan, Indonesia, Singapore and Vietnam. Favourites include freshly made Chinese dumplings.

Open every day for dinner only. Call ahead in December and January. Tel: 289 353 438

Teahouse Oriental, Vale do Lobo

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 from 12.30pm to 5pm from July to September and until 4pm from October to May. Tel: 289 396 435

Florian, Quinta do Lago €€€€

This charming restaurant, located on the Vale Verde development close to the entrance to Quinta do Lago, offers a standard of cuisine that belies its relaxed and informal atmosphere. Dutch chef Pieter Warink bases his cooking on fresh local produce with a modern approach, using light sauces and well-defined flavours. Speciality dishes include his famous home-smoked salmon, grilled Irish Black Angus fillet steak, sautéed fillet of turbot from the North Sea and lasagne of white and brown chocolate mousse.

Open for dinner only. Closed Thursdays. Tel: 289 396 674

Gusto by Heinz Beck, Quinta do Lago €€€€

Located at the Conrad Algarve, 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, headed by the Italian chef Daniele Pirillo. 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 in November for dinner Friday and Saturday. Tel: 289 350 700

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 for lunch and dinner. Tel: 289 394 911

Casa do Lago, Quinta do Lago

D Lounge, Quinta do Lago €€€

Now located on the Ayrton Senna avenue in Quinta do Lago, D Lounge has an inviting large terrace and chilled atmosphere to the sounds of modern jazz. Specialities include foie gras with a passion fruit emulsion and seabass with creamy citrus rice and fresh herbs.

Open daily for dinner. Tel: 289 392 423

D Lounge, Quinta do Lago

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. Look out for summer events like Bovino’s Beats & Brunch 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 Friday to Tuesday for dinner. Tel: 289 007 863

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 only open for the summer months, while Parrilla Natural is open Thursday to Saturday for dinner and Sunday from 1pm to 4pm, all year round. Tel: 289 350 040

Gourmet Natural/Parrilla Natural, Almancil/Vale do Lobo

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 Tuesday for dinner and Wednesday to Saturday for lunch and dinner. Closed for Christmas but open for New Year’s Eve with a special menu. Tel: 289 395 558

Aquarelle, Almancil/Vale do Lobo €€€€

On the road from Almancil to Vale do Lobo, this rustic-looking, octagonal-shaped restaurant serves delightful French food in friendly surroundings. Lunchtime limited dishes of the day, with full à la carte menu for dinner. Specialities include foie gras, maigret of duck, bream with a vanilla sauce and delicious home­made ice creams.

Open for lunch and dinner. Closed Sundays. Tel: 289 397 973

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 great-value lunch menu is also available. Advance booking essential.

Open for lunch and dinner until November 29. Reopens for dinner only on December 29 and for lunch in January 5. Special menu for New Year’s Eve. Tel: 289 393 438

Pizzeria Casavostra, Almancil €€

Having reopened under new management in the renowned interior design shop Alquatro in Almancil, Casavostra has kept most of the menu that made it so popular when it first opened in 2003. Using homegrown herbs and vegetables, Casavostra boasts a wide choice of pastas, salads and tasty pizzas to suit all tastes. 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. Closing for holidays from early December to mid-January. Tel: 289 397 565

Monte da Eira, Clareanes €€

Traditional Portuguese cooking in traditional Algarve cottage surroundings, with a warm we­l­come from owner Pedro Lima. Located on the road from Loulé to Querença, it offers a tasty array of typical fish and meat dishes, and the best carob mousse south of Lisbon. A blazing log fire in winter and a beautiful courtyard in summer add to the atmosphere.

Open Tuesday to Saturday for lunch and dinner and Sunday for lunch. Closed for holidays from November 16 to December 9 and December 24-26. Special menu for New Year’s Eve. Tel: 289 438 129

FARO & EAST

Marisqueira O Capelo, Santa Luzia €€

Excellent fish and seafood in comfortable surroundings. Very popular with locals so arrive early for a table. Located on the front in Santa Luzia with views over the Ria Formosa lagoon.

Open for lunch and dinner. Closed Wednesdays. Tel: 281 381 670

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.

Open Wednesday to Saturday. Closing in late November. Tel: 281 950 950

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.

Closed in January. Special dinner and lunch options at both locations for Christmas and New Year’s Eve. Reservations: 281 530 290


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