Being a coastal country has many advantages and one of them is the freshness of the sea products that reach Portuguese tables.
Algarve, for centuries, relied on fishing and farming as first economical activities and, with the advent of tourism, restaurants multiplied relaying on what the sea and land around them have to offer. This has led to an advantageous partnership that, over the years, has been offering Algave's visitors the possibility of trying new tastes, that are constantly changing but maintain the region's natural touch.
Ahead we list some gastronomical experiences that you shouldn’t miss while visiting Algarve.
1. Octopus in Santa Luzia
Santa Luzia is literally known as the capital of octopus, because many assure you won’t eat this delicacy so fresh or well-cooked anywhere else. It’s an experience that brings Portugal natives and foreign tourists alike to enjoy the different dishes prepared with this mollusk. You can either go to the first restaurant that attracts your attention or you can head straight to “Baixamar” restaurant or “Casa do Polvo”, both being great picks.
2. “Gigi” in Quinta do Lago
Gigi combines great features, firstly because of its cozy appearance provided by the fact it’s a wooden house, secondly because it’s located in Quinta do Lago, right by Ria Formosa, and surrounded by a beautiful view; and thirdly, but not least, because of its fabulous gastronomy. Fish and shellfish, daily caught, is the main component of most dishes, honoring the proximity to the sea.
3. “Estaminé” in Ilha Deserta
Not only is it a great restaurant in terms of food, but a delightful place to visit due to its location. It has a modern architecture (it seems like a crab if seen from above) and is right on the beach, by the sea, with no other buildings at sight. It specializes in dishes cooked with fish and shellfish, a promising pick for seafood lovers. You can rely on this place to get to experience new flavors, surrounded by pure nature, in an ecological establishment.
4. “Gusto by Heinz Beck” in Quinta do Lago
Located in the Almancil region, within the Conrad Hotel / Resort, this restaurant won its first Michelin star in 2018, an expected feat, since the menu is built by Heinz Beck himself, a chef recognized for his work at La Pergola, in Rome, which holds impressive three Michelin stars. The dishes have an Italian influence that delights lovers of transalpine gastronomy and, to avoid routine, are constantly changing, which ensures that no visit will be exactly the same as the previous one.
The ambiance perfectly combines a contemporary and classic style, as well as a view of the unparalleled scenery of Quinta do Lago, making each meal an unforgettable experience. The extended wine list offers guests the option of sampling refined Portuguese wines or, if desired, venturing into the world of international labels.
5. “Doçaria Almeixar” in Guia
Algarve is full of regional sweets, mostly prepared with almond, figs, carobs and gila, all ingredients and fruits you can easily find in the region. The sweetness level ranges widely, so different tastes can be satisfied. “Doçaria Almeixar” is a traditional sweets confectionary where you can find typical pastries like “D. Rodrigo” and “queijinho do céu”, both made with ingredients like eggs and almond, “morgadinho”, made with gila and almond, amongst other pastries and ingredients. It’s definitely worth a visit.
6. “Amendoal” in Loulé
Also a sweets confectionary with manufactured in-house products. This establishment stands right next to the Loulé Market, so you’re passing by, make a quick stop and try its delicious regional sweets.