A taste of the Algarve

Dining in the Algarve

You’ll find a number of excellent options for enjoying a taste of the Algarve’s cuisine, which is essentially centered around fresh grilled seafood; Atun (Tuna), Dourade (Sea Bream), Sea Bass (Robalo), Sardinhas (Sardines), Espadarte (Swordfish), Tamboril (Monkfish), Raia (Rays) Pregado (Turbot), Linguado (Flounder), Imperador (Alfonsino) as well as shellfish; lagosta e lavagante (lobsters), camarão e carabineiro (shrimp), sapateira e santola (stone and spider crab), conquilhas, amêijoas e lingueirão (clams and razor clams), and during the season, the small and tender percebes (goose barnacles), once called the “seafood of the poor”.  There is also Lula (Squid), Choco (Cuttlefish), and one of our favorites, pulvo ‘à lagareiro’ (baked octopus with potatoes).

From Sagres to Faro

lunch at Retiro do Pescado
A typical serving at lunch at Retiro do Pescador


The “Fisherman’s Retreat”, Restaurante Retiro do Pescador, at Rua dos Murtórios, 4, proved to be an excellent choice on a rainy Saturday afternoon.  As expected, the portions were enormous, the fish delicious and the service excellent.  Very popular with the locals for both price and quality.  Tel: (+351) 282 624 438

And if you happen to be down at the port, then stop by A Sereia Sagres at Porto de Pesca da Baleeira.  Find a table inside overlooking the port or sit outside on the deck.  It’s very basic, as are most of the restaurants in Sagres, but the seafood is fresh, tasty and reasonably priced.  Tel: (+351) 282 109 68



Finding a place to park in Largos on a Friday evening was a bit of a challenge, but the fact that the grilled prawn kababs at Restaurant Cantinho Algarvio were both interesting and tasty made the adventure worth it.  The restaurant, located at Alfonso D’Almeida Street 17-21, a pedestrian street off Praça Gil Eannnes, has been around since 1987 and once again recommended in the Michelin guide for 2018.  Closed on Sundays and yearly from December 1-31.  Tel: (+351) 761 289 282

Chef Christoph Voigt’s Restaurante Vivendo can be found in the heart of Lagos at the Vila Palmeira, overlooking the sea near the Ponta da Piedade cliffs.  Michelin quality without the price.  Dinner only, Tuesday-Sunday.  Closed from December 3, 2018 until January 11, 2019.  Tel: (+351) 282 770 900


We stopped by the small wine bar/restaurant Vila Adentro at Praça Dom Afonso III, 17, recently for a glass of wine while exploring Faro’s old town and ended up staying for lunch.  The menu is Mediterranean and well priced.  The interior of the small dinning area, several smaller rooms, is lined with historic hand painted tiles.  They are open daily from 9:00 am to midnight.  Well worth a stop if you’re in the old town, but expect it to be busy during high season.  Tel: (+351) 289 052 173

Sitting across the square from Vila Adentro, Restaurante Faz Gostos  is another good option for enjoying the local fare when you’re in the old town.  It’s open daily for lunch from noon to 3:00 pm and Monday to Saturday for dinner at 6:30 pm.  Reservations recommended during high season.  Can be booked on the Fork.  Tel: (+351) 914 133 668

Another local favorite, off the normal tourist path, Restaurante Chefe Branco, is open daily from noon to 11:00 pm, can be found at Rua de Loule, 9, a few minutes walk from the Faro train station and a 15-minute walk from the parking area near the Museu Arqueologico in Faro’s old town.  They specialize in the traditional Portuguese dish, Arroz de Marisco Cataplana.  Tel: (+351) 289 807 584

From Faro to the Spanish border

Casa Corvo grilled fish
Casa Corvo’s best grilled fish for lunch


The highly popular seafood restaurant Casa A. Corvo, is rated one of the best on the coast, with prices that make it hard to beat.  It’s located next to the harbor at Largo 1° de Maio in this small seaside village.  A first glance it doesn’t appear very inviting, but you quickly realize that it is somewhere you would expect to find Anthony Bourdain sitting at one of its outdoors tables sampling the expertly grilled fish overseen by the chef who reminded us of José Andrés, a little smaller in statue, but with the same outgoing personally.  A serving of grilled tuna (atun) and half a kilo of curvina (two pieces), with a small salad, 1/2 liter of a local Algarve white wine, and plate of fries (prato de friets), set us back an astounding 32€.  There was enough for four.  If you’re into grilled fish, you have to stop by.  Closed Mondays.  Tel: (+351) 918 928 785

Cabanas de Tavira

Noélia e Jerónimo, a slightly more refined restaurant named for it’s owners, is located at Rua da Fortaleza, 2, in the former fishing village facing the Ria Formosa Nature Park.  We stopped by late on a Sunday afternoon last month and were lucky to find a table (they always leave a few tables for walk-ins, but reservations are highly recommended on weekends).  Publico, the Portuguese newspaper, declared Noélia to be the “best restaurant in the world”, a few years ago, and it’s where Michelin superstars like José Avillez, Hans Neuner , and Dieter Koschina have been know to dine on their nights off.  They offer an excellent example of regional cuisine.  Closed Wednesdays.  Tel: (+351) 281 370 649

Santa Luzia (Faro)

For octopus in the Algarve, it would be hard to beat Chef Almeida’s Polvo & Companhia where nearly everything on the menu is Polvo.  We savored the Carpaccio de Polvo and Polvo con Miel e Mostarde (with honey and mustard) along with a local wine wine, Joäo Clara, late one Sunday evening.  They were excellent!  Tel (+351) 281 370 459

Carpaccio de Polvo at Polvo & Companhia 
Carpaccio de Polvo at Polvo & Companhia


The Michelin Stars

If you are not traveling on a budget and your style is a little more upscale, you might find one of the following will fit your taste.

Vale Formoso (Loulé)

The top rated 1 Michelin star restaurant (since 2000) Henrique Leis is set in the woods about a 20-minute drive northwest of Faro, just off the A22.  Open Tuesday to Saturday for dinner only beginning at 7:00 pm, with a tasting menu for 85€.  Tel: (+351) 289 393 438 / (+351) 913 254 322


If you are looking for something a little more sophisticated, then the one Michelin star Bon Bon should do the trick.  Chef, Louis Anjos offers a 3-course lunch menu for 35€, or you can have 4 courses for only 47,50€.  Closed for the winter, it reopens on February 7, 2019.  Tel: +351 282 341 496


Located in the Bela Vista Hotel & Spa with views of the ocean from the terrace, Vista Restaurante is another Michelin star option by 31-year old Chef João Oliveira, who has served as sous-chef at Casa de Calçada in Amarante, The Yeatman in Porto, and later at the Vila Joya in nearby Albufeira.  Tel: (+351) 282 460 280


Austrian Chef Dieter Koschina’s two-star Michelin Restaurante Vila Joya can be found in the upscale beach-front boutique hotel on the beach at Praia da Galé (Albufeira).  Tel: (+351) 289 591 839


Chef Hans Neuner’s two-star Michelin Restaurante Ocean, the second two-star in the Algarve, belongs to the 5-star Vila Vita Parc Resort and Spa is where you head to for gourmet fine dining, elegance and sophistication,  Open Wednesday-Sunday for dinner.  Tel: (+351) 282 310 100


The classic São Gabriel, with one Michelin star and 3 Repsol suns, is now overseen by the native Algarvian chef Leonel Pereira.  It can be found at Estrada Vale do Lobo, Quinta do Lago, the golf club and gated community.  Tel: (+351) 289 394 521


Willie Wurger’s Restaurante Willie’s, specializing in cuisine from central Europe, received it’s Michelin star in 2006 can be found tucked away behind the Hilton Resort in the residential area of Vilamoura at Rua do Brazil, 2.  Tel: (+351) 289 380 849

Contact Iberian Traveler-Maribel’s Guides if you would like Maribel to prepare a custom itinerary for your next adventure in Portugal.

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