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Where to eat in Algarve – a food and dining guide

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The Algarve: a varied landscape of rolling hills and sweeping coastlines framed by the Atlantic Ocean.  Reflecting the region’s diverse topography, the Algarve’s food has developed in different directions.  Staple dishes and notable cuisines are a collection of sumptuous seafood recipes and hearty meals featuring tenderly cooked meats and home-grown vegetables.

Fiona Butler

My Destination local expert on

Algarve

Sagres and Costa Vicentina

 

Because of its location on Algarve’s south western tip, the area of Sagres and Costa Vicentina are well positioned to provide fresh and tempting seafood.  Restaurants serve the fish, such as bream, sturgeon or mackerel, grilled over charcoal and often accompanied by a light Algarvian salad of chopped tomatoes, onion, green peppers sprinkled with herbs and drizzled with olive oil.  Fine diners are known to enjoy Gooseneck barnacles, which are found in the local waters and are a little strange to look at.

 

Portimão

 

Portimão is a place well-known for its sardines.  The salty fishes were once caught by fishermen off of the coast and brought ashore where many were then canned and shipped further afield.  Today, the area hosts an annual Sardine Festival in August in celebration of its heritage.  Sardines are cooked with a sprinkle of salt and grilled over charcoal.  Their small size means that they are easily eaten with fingers or placed on top of a piece of homemade bread before being devoured.

 

Albufeira

 

Albufeira welcomes a hybrid of world cuisines, serving a series of home-from-home style foods.  The area is doused in English restaurants for a taste of Blighty, as well as Indian, Chinese, Japanese and Thai eateries, among many more.  But don’t be fooled, Albufeira is also home to sought after Portuguese restaurants, particularly in its Old Town where you can dine whilst admiring the view over the Fisherman’s Beach.  Additionally, the notable Vila Joya can be found here.

 

Vila Joya, Estrada da Galé, 8201-917 Albufeira, Portugal

 

Guia

 

Guia is renowned as the chicken capital of the Algarve.  Adding a little vigor to your visit, the meat is often served with a tangy piri-piri flavor.  This is a chili dressing that is smothered over the chicken while it cooks.  Served with chips and salad, the chickens are traditionally smaller than many, but tastier too.

 

Golden Triangle

 

For a plush meal in luxurious surroundings, the Golden Triangle is the place to head to.  The various Michelin starred and high class restaurants provide an affluent experience and menu simply begging to be consumed. At Willie’s Restaurant in Vilamoura subtle lighting evokes a relaxed atmosphere, while the cuisine is anything but.  Delicate food is presented like art: a colorful display of textures and tastes.

 

Willie’s Restaurant, Rua do Brazil, 2, Vilamoura

 

Head for the hills

 

Algarve’s inland areas serve hearty cuisine that features an assortment of meat and game dishes.  The country style food often consists of one staple meat such as pork, chicken, beef, rabbit or wild boar.  The meat is cooked in a stew or pot-roast style, resulting in succulent dishes bursting with flavor.  A principal option is the traditional ‘favas a Algarvia’ dish: a broad bean stew featuring red and black sausage.

 

Rich in fresh seafood, it is no wonder that one of the Algarve’s favorite dishes is caldeirada de peixe.  This meal is a mixture of marinated seasonable fish with potatoes, tomatoes, salsa, onion and red pepper.