The Algarve boasts a wealth of gastronomic highlights including fine seafood. Drawing on fresh catch such as cockles, clams, oysters, squid and other local maritime delights are sure to excite every visitor’s palate on the Algarve. Festivals such as the Festival do Marisco in Olhão celebrate traditional delicacies including varied shellfish, some of which finds its way into the celebrated cataplana, a local favorite made of mussels, clams, chorizo, bacon, garlic, onions and olive oil. While in the Algarve, visitors are also recommended to try some of the region’s famous fish stew, called caldeirada.
In the summer fig and orange trees are ready to be harvested and fill the air with a delicate sweet scent. In September it is time for the traditional almond crop. Un-skinned, the almonds wait to dry in the sun on roof terraces. When autumn is in full swing, the chestnuts are ripe. Locals enjoy them most at the traditional magustos festivals with new wine and grape brandy.
The Algarve has the most Michelin star restaurants in Portugal. The following restaurants have been honored with Michelin stars:
Ocean Vila Parc. Porches. 2 Michelin stars. Executive Chef Hans Neuner was named Portugal’s chef of the year in 2009 and 2012.
Vila Joya at Hotel Vila Joya. Albufeira. 2 Michelin stars. Chef Dieter Koschina
Henrique Leis. Loulé. 1 Michelin star for 15 consecutive years. Chef Henrique Leis
Willies Restaurant. Vilamoura. 1 Michelin star. Michelin stars have been awarded to both the chef and restaurant, where you can enjoy fish and meat house specialties, or the homemade seafood ravioli.
For authentic Algarve cuisine, the following restaurants cannot be missed while you’re in the Algarve:
Churrasqueira Ramires, Guia. Known for barbecue chicken piri piri.
Tertúlia Algarvia, Faro. Great for traditional dishes, this restaurant also offers workshops on Portuguese gastronomy.
Paixa, Vale do Lobo. A gourmet tapas bar in fine-dining surroundings.
Estaminé, Faro.One of the most picturesque restaurant locations in the Algarve, located on Ria Formosa Park on a stretch of white sand dunes. Enjoy the fish and shellfish.
Due to its geographical location and countryside, the mild climate all year round ensures the grapes ripen to produce high-quality wines all throughout the Algarve region. Some of the most sought after varieties include the following: Vida Nova grown in Albufeira, Balsa of Tavira, Alvor Vinho Regional Algarve and Tapada da Torre from Portimão.
Aguardente de Medronho brandy (a traditional fruit brandy) and various types of liqueurs complement the long list of aromatic liquid delights from the Algarve.
In Estombar, Quinta dos Vales uniquely combines wine and art side by side, where visitors can explore the grounds and sculptures while tasting a selection of premium wines.
This itinerary is compliments of the Algarve Tourism Bureau. For more things to see and do in the Algarve, check out www.visitalgarve.pt.