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When visiting any country or region, it is imperative that you fully experience and indulge in the different culture. As well as visiting all the main attractions and following all the local recommendations, the cuisine must certainly be one of the main highlights.
The Algarvian cuisine is particularly known for its fresh fish and mouth-watering seasoning. It is considered to be amongst some of the tastiest food within the Mediterranean.
Blue Sky Villas is partnered with various conveniently located restaurants within the surrounding areas and we are able to provide a variety of recommendations for traditional Portuguese food options or, in the comfort of your own holiday home through our personalised concierge services.
Once you are seated in a local Portuguese restaurant, you are typically offered a ‘couvert’ to start with. These traditional starters vary and may include olives, carrots, prawns, a bread basket and of course, a selection of fish pâtés. One of the most commonly seen couverts in the Algarve is a dish consisting of par-boiled carrots marinated in olive oil, garlic, wine and coriander served with olives – truly delicious and a fine example of national ingredients used in traditional Portuguese cooking.
If you like soup and really want to embrace the essence of Portuguese gastronomy, then you need to try a bowl of Caldo Verde. This soup is prepared with freshly picked ingredients, followed by a recipe that has been around for generations.
The Algarve is the best place to enjoy a serving of barbecued sardines with a side order of boiled potatoes, salad and bread. On a beautiful summer’s day, local restaurants known as “tascas” in the area, can be seen packed with locals as well as tourists serving Sardines like hot cakes! Another popular dish is the Bacalhau (salted cod) which is considered to be just as integral to the Portuguese menu. This versatile fish is used in many recipes including Bacalhau à Brás (a Portuguese take on cod with potato all chopped up) and Bacalhau com Natas (cod with cream and potatoes). In its simplest form, but not compromising on taste, this fish is very often served boiled with the same side dishes as the barbecued sardines – humble yet deliciously filling. Close to our Vale do Lobo rental properties, you will find Jorge do Peixe in Quarteira – a friendly restaurant that serves generous portions of tasty fresh fish. One of our many recommendations, contact us for similar restaurants.
If you are looking for seafood, there are many options available to you – all caught locally and delivered to restaurants daily. For a seafood and fish extravaganza, you must try the traditional cataplana. This dish is named after the copper pot used for the cooking process which dates back to the Arabic influences of the region. To experience some amazing seafood, we strongly recommend 2 Passos Restaurant which is situated on the Ancao Beach within easy reach to some of our Quinta do Lago rental villas. Here, you can take-in the breathtaking sea view whilst enjoying some mouth-watering seafood dishes. To experience a more typical restaurant, we recommend Taberna Zé-Zé near Igreja do Carmo which was recently ranked Faro’s second-best restaurant of 2019 on Tripadvisor.
If you prefer something meaty, you should try one of the most commonly seen meat choices in the region – Porco Preto (wild boar). This is cooked in many ways but most typically either charcoal-grilled or stewed. This succulent pig is definitely different but certainly delicious and will hopefully become one of your go-to choices every time you visit the area. Within a short distance to Villa Pine and Villa Pearl (Vilamoura), at Oliveira Dourada, you can try out the stewed wild boar dish which has excellent reviews. Just a short drive away, Casa do Campo in Almancil offers a variety of tasty meat dishes and a charming atmosphere perfect for a summer lunch/dinner. Alternatively, you can add a little ‘spice’ to your Portuguese cuisine experience and opt for the well-known Frango Piri Piri (spicy chicken) - available at many Portuguese restaurants as a regular staple of this country’s traditions.
No meal in a Portuguese restaurant is complete without dessert. The traditional Arroz Doce (rice pudding) - a simple but delicious dish consisting of rice cooked in milk and lemon peel, topped with a sprinkling of cinnamon is definitely a must-try. Or, if you would prefer to end your meal with a simple little pastry and coffee, the world’s famous Pastel de Nata (custard tart) is the way to go. However, these tasty little treats are not restricted to the dessert section. They are also a regular feature in nearly every café as a little guilty pleasure any time of the day to compliment your ‘bica’ (expresso coffee) or other beverage of choice.
If you are looking for a place to experience a variety of the above, along with a glass of wine, look no further than Social – Vinhos e Petiscos. This establishment offers a great local wine selection which comes with expert advice from staff and the traditional food is served in ‘tapas style’. A novel and enjoyable way to sample the culinary delights that the Algarve has to offer.
Even on holiday, we don’t always fancy going out for dinner. A lot of the times, you just want to make the most of the fantastic villa you are staying at and prefer having food delivered. This is still possible even on holiday as Blue Sky Villas offer a selection of menus which include home cooked meals, fine dining meals and a Greek meze. Alternatively, if you want to continue making the most of the Algarvian “al-fresco” lifestyle, you can even get BBQ packs delivered to your doorstep.
If you want the whole “cha bang” and want to be entertained by the entire dining experience while staying at one of our rental properties, you can opt for our personalised catering service. Our experienced in-house chefs will take care of everything, from prepping to cooking. All you and your guests need to do is simply relax and enjoy the food!