The best restaurants with Portuguese cuisine – Algarve
Did you know that some Portuguese dishes are among the 100 best in the world? It's true, Portugal made it into the TasteAltlas ranking in 2022 with four dishes, so it's safe to say that our gastronomy is a delight. Like all the other country regions, the Algarve has its specialities, and those who spend their holidays here can't help but try one or two. Find out which are the best Portuguese restaurants in the Algarve and take the opportunity to taste the true flavour of fresh ingredients seasoned with great care.
The typical dishes of the Algarve Hills still survive in the region, and we have the family restaurant Tasca do Petrol on the way to the municipality of Marmelete in Monchique to thank for that. It's a meeting place for chefs and locals who like to try a bit of everything. The flavours of times gone by are already evident in the starters, where you can try sausages from the mountains and red lard with pork spikes. Customers most frequently request three main courses, although every dish in this restaurant is a doom. Try the pork knuckle in the oven, the cabbage pot with corn (a typical recipe from Monchique) or the wild boar. These dishes are prepared with time to refine their flavours and cooked in a wood-fired oven.
Demand is high for this restaurant hidden in the mountains, so you should book a table at least a week in advance.
Reservations +351 282 955 117
Closed on Wednesday
Noélia & Jerónimo is the cathedral of Portuguese cuisine in the Algarve, and anyone who passes by without trying one of the dishes can feel like a sinner. It's right on the Ria Formosa, in Cabanas de Tavira, and there's usually a long queue out the door - so we advise you to book a table as soon as possible. Here you'll find Mediterranean dishes made from fresh ingredients, prepared by the "cook of chefs", as Noélia is known. The croaker with lemon rice and clams are one of the most famous dishes, but any dish you find on the menu will leave you wanting more. You will see seasonal suggestions on the menu, a good wine list and delicious desserts.
Reservations +351 281 370 649
Closed on Wednesday
Mar d'Estórias is not a conventional restaurant, and you notice this as soon as you enter the ground floor, where various Portuguese products are on offer. On this floor are the shop, the grocery shop, the wine cellar and, more recently, a room with "Bifanas" (Portuguese sandwich pork) to take away. The first floor is where the magic happens, and the dishes are flavoured with good Portuguese taste. Chef Megan Melling is responsible for Mar d'Estórias Bistro. She prepares the menus with reinvented typical Portuguese recipes and selects fresh, local and seasonal products. It is not only an ode to Portugal, but she also wants to encourage people to eat seasonal products from local producers. Do not forget to go up to the top floor in fine weather and enjoy your meal at the Mar d'Estórias terrace bar.
Reservations +351 282 792 165
Closed on Sundays
4. O Leme
Eating in a place as unusual as an old railway station is only possible at O Leme in Parchal, Lagoa. The best place to enjoy Portuguese cuisine in this restaurant is undoubtedly the terrace overlooking the track where the trains still run (but no longer stop). The restaurant's captains are Raul and his wife, who works in the kitchen preparing fresh fish on the grill or "lulinhas à algarvia", among other Portuguese dishes. Inside the restaurant, bottles of Algarve wine from various wineries are ready to be served during the meal. If you want to gather your friends around a pot of fish stew or another delicacy, make a reservation a day in advance.
Reservations +351 282 419 354
Can you imagine dining in a restaurant that Robert De Niro has been to and loved? Not far from the Jardim da Meia Praia resort (about 12 minutes by car) is the restaurant that made its mark on the Algarve's gastronomic scene in the late 1970s. To counteract the Algarve restaurants that only served international dishes, two friends founded Vila Lisa in Mexilhoeira Grande, a place where people could meet and eat clam chowder, octopus or conger fish pasta. At Adega Vila Lisa, you can book a tasting at a fixed price of €37.50, which includes four starters, four main courses, desserts, coffee and a digestif, and can be repeated as often as you like.
Reservations +351 282 968 478
Closed Sunday to Thursday
6. Prato Cheio
The last restaurant on this list is in Lagos and hasn't one, but several specialities on the menu, made by D. Zezinha's parents. Thus, this family restaurant offers various Portuguese delicacies such as stuffed squid, Conde de Lipa shellfish xerém (Portuguese maize porridge) and finally the famous fish cataplana, a typical dish of the Algarve with Arabic influences. The desserts are excellent and very Algarvian, made with eggs and almonds. The wine list is enough to pair with any Portuguese dish. If you've never been here before, be prepared to come every holiday.
Reservations +351 282 037 469
Closed on Tuesdays
If you've made it this far and want to visit all of the Portuguese restaurants in the Algarve, plan your meals carefully and take a tour of each of these establishments that have poured their hearts and souls into the Portuguese cuisine. Find out where to find Algarve wines in this article if you want to add another experience to your holiday.