Best Algarve Restaurants
I borrowed the idea for this page about best Algarve restaurants from my listing of favourite beaches. So, this page is a 'snapshot' of places I
enjoyed during my recent visits.
Naturally, the list is subject to change at my slightest whim. And I'll be sampling yet
more restaurants soon, so watch this space for any updates!
As well as for their good food, I look for Algarve restaurants that offer something
extra, like a great atmosphere, fascinating location or history - even great service. All
these things add an indefinable something to a meal, making it a
For ease of reference, I've listed my current favourite Algarve restaurants from west to east along the coast. All of them are mid-range for cost (see "Prices" below).
It's generally true that you'll pay less (for the same type of meal) as you get further from the coast. So it's possible to
gorge yourself on the Algarve's tastiest food for
surprisingly little, once you're north of the east-west IP1 motorway.
But, for this list, I've restricted my choices to those Algarve restaurants that you can easily reach from your holiday accommodation close to those gorgeous beaches...
Since I'm vegetarian and therefore in the minority, you
should also check out some ABL readers' recommendations
that you will find here.
Prices in Algarve Restaurants (early 2009)
Naturally, unless you 'own the marina and not just a yacht', you'll be interested in
how much it costs to eat out in the Algarve. So I've included here a (rough) indication of
the cost per head for a 3-course meal, excluding wine and service. I'll try to remember to update this price comparison from time to time, Guide's honour!
Most of my current 'best' are in the mid-range bracket
(prices per head):
Cheapest: 16 Euros or less
Mid-range: 17 to 29 Euros
Dearest: 30 Euros or more
(Should you need to convert prices into your own
currency, use XE.com's handy universal
Okay, so now you know how deep you'll need to dig, let's get down to the contenders...
Rather than pick one favourite of all the Algarve restaurants (which would be nigh impossible) I've gone for 'regional bests'. Which means that, wherever you stay, you're
bound to be
close to one of these recommendations.
My Current Top Six Algarve Restaurants
Top of my list in the western Algarve, this restaurant is near Burgau, on the Burgau to Praia da Luz road. It offers good vegetarian and local Portuguese menus.
The location is interesting, being the converted winery of a manor house.
The surroundings are impressive and it is very popular
venue, so booking is advised in high
season. Note, though, that it's open only in the evening from
7pm to midnight, and is closed completely December
Tel: 282 697 416
Further east along the coast in Portimão's Rua de Santa Isabel, there is an unusual Algarve restaurant that serves authentic Indonesian food. There are lots of
vegetarian choices (yay!.. great for me), but they also offer Thai cuisine. It's closed on
Mondays, unfortunately. (I mention this so you won't be disappointed like we were when we
turned up without checking first - but I'm glad we went back!)
Other points: it's reasonably accessible for wheelchairs,
but doesn't accept payment by credit card.
Reservations are advised. Tel: 282 422 072
This is a great-value Indian restaurant that I tried during my
first vacation in Albufeira. (I was so impressed that I updated this page and increased my top recommendations from
the original 5 to 6...) It's located in the Old Town, not far from Fisherman's Beach, which is a hugely popular spot for beach activities and also strolling around the shops, cafés and open-air restaurants that pepper the locality.
We had stumbled across the Minar during our initial in-depth investigation of Albufeira and surrounding parts. We liked the look of its outside tables with covered awnings. Although not offering a view of beach or sea, it is close to both and has a more relaxed atmosphere for not being on a main thoroughfare.
When we did stroll down to the Old Town to try out the Minar, we were not disappointed. It's great value, with plenty of choice, (even for
vegetarians) and our meals were scrumptious! See the relevant section on my Albufeira page.
One thing's for sure - the Minar is definitely top of my list for Indian meals in
central Algarve! (And we'll be back for sure, next time we're anywhere near
And, if you'd like a second opinion about the
Minar's quality food, try
Museo do Lagar
In central Algarve, you're never far from Loulé. This Algarve restaurant is a good venue for a large dinner party. Located in Largo de Matriz (the
cathedral square), it offers some pretty exotic dishes (like ostrich and buffalo!) for the more adventurous palate.
The impressive vaulted ceiling lends it lots of atmosphere (while keeping any smoke and odours well above nose level!) The menu is pretty varied, though they didn't advertise a
vegetarian menu. I managed to find something I enjoyed, however (much to the others' relief, since they didn't want to have to move on to suit an awkward nuisance like me).
Open all year round. Times: Midday to 4pm, and 7pm to
289 416 307
Badial Punjabi Restaurant
Recently-opened in Olhão, to the east of Faro, this is a
small establishment (with a maximum seating of around 25), but as
husband Nev said: "Never mind the number of chairs, this
is top Indian nosh!"
We were very happy with the meals we were served in this
restaurant (closed on Sundays, I should note, but open daily
from 1100 to 1500 and from 1800 to midnight). You can
bet we'll be back there often, since we find Indian restaurants are
more 'vegetarian-friendly' than most others.
Check out this one for yourself - if you like authentic
Indian food that's reasonably-priced, you won't be
disappointed. It's not far inland from the waterfront
markets in Olhao, in Rua Vasco da Gama - see
map below for the pedestrian route from the easily-located
waterfront market buildings.
don't be fooled by the restaurant's outside awnings, which still sported
the name and logo of the previous establishment when we last
visited! Just check the windows for the true name...)
A definite Algarve Beach Life recommendation and a
welcome addition to Eastern Algarve's gastronomic choice.
All the usual Indian accompaniments, plus a selection from
Tandoori, Karahi, Biryani, Balti and other choices based on
chicken, fish and lamb curries. There's also a
Tel. 289 715 276
Moving further into eastern Algarve, this is a riverside restaurant in Tavira's Rua Borda d'Água da Assêca. It offers great views past the old bridge as you
enjoy your meal. I can attest to this, as we
recently had our (wedding) anniversary evening meal there.
There are some vegetarian dishes on offer (hooray for
me!) but with plenty more for everyone to choose from - with a speciality dish of garlicked quail.
It can be packed out during the tourist season, so it's best to make a reservation. Beira Rio offers lunch as well as dinner, but is never open between New Year's and
Enquiries: Tel. 281 323 165
So, that's my current list of best Algarve restaurants...
The more eagle-eyed reader who had visited this page
before might notice that one favourite establishment has
disappeared. That is because the restaurant, in Vila Real do
S. António, didn't live up to its billing last time we
visited with friends. Four indifferent meals out of four
usually indicate an unfortunate change-out of cooking staff
- or a down-turn in attitude to customer satisfaction.
Either way, it's hard to recommend a restaurant if you
can't be sure visitors are likely to enjoy the experience. C'est
but, on the upside, Gordon, from Selkirk, UK,
emailed to tell me that he'd tried one of my
recommendations. And, here's what he thought about
Just returned from Albufeira
and would like to thank you for pointing out Minar
Indian Restaurant. Ate there 3 times in my
two weeks, and it was fantastic.
I would also like to recommend a restaurant
called O Manjar, Rua do M.F.A. 17,
Albufeira just up from the old town opposite the
Cavern pub. Excellent service, huge portions,
well presented, fantastic tasty food.
So, there you go - it's great to
know that the Minar is still serving up something
special. And I'll be trying out O Manjar when I'm
next feeling peckish in the Albufeira area...
... and, don't forget, if you have a favourite of your own, let me know on the Your Algarve Best page, and you can feature your choice as
well! Your best experiences of Algarve restaurants are of interest to everyone who loves the area or would like to visit, so don't be shy - share them!
Best Algarve Restaurants - Others' Views:
I'm well aware that this page represents only my own
tastes and experiences but, fortunately, Algarve Beach Life
readers are happy to share their own enthusiasms...
Read about an Algarve Beach Life
reader's own favourite Algarve restaurant on
While a compendium of mid-Algarve cuisine can be enjoyed
page that was kindly submitted by Lesley Winograd*.
And here's Lesley's tip for a quality Algarve
restaurant, this time near Loulé.
Not forgetting an Algarve beach
restaurant with stunning location and views
recommended by ABL reader Graham Miller.
* Lesley recently emailed me about a new vegetarian
restaurant she'd found in Faro. Last time we were there, I'd
forgotten to take the directions. Ah, well - we'll find it eventually.
You're going to come across a lot of fish dishes on the menus in Algarve restaurants. And (surprise!) they probably won't be in English. So, here's a list of those you're
likeliest to encounter, and I'd advise you to memorise the Portuguese equivalent of your favourite(s). That way, you won't have to rely on the translating skills of your Portuguese
waiter/waitress while s/he's returning to instruct the chef!
Pargo - bream
Bacalhau - cod (salted)
Rodovalho - halibut
Lagosta - lobster
Salmonete - red mullet
Polvo - octopus
Salmão - salmon
Cherne - sea bass
Savel - shad
Linguado - sole
Lula - squid
Espadarte - swordfish
Truta - trout
Atum - tuna
Armed with that knowledge, you can sally forth into an Algarve restaurant fully confident that you'll know what's in your meal when it arrives!
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