Villa Rental in the Algarve

 

Restaurants

Just a few of our favourites

 

 

There are literally hundreds of restaurants in and around Carvoeiro. Most of them are pretty good, they are usually very child friendly, and the food is generally tasty. Inevitably we've found a few favourites. Essentially they are worthy of inclusion because they are Vegetarian friendly, but also because the food is either different or represents excellent value.

 

NB: Many restaurants, ironically led by the more expensive ones, do not take credit cards, so visit the ATM before heading to any of these suggestions below.

 

 

Smoked salmon starter at O Alambique

La Bella Vita (282 358 556)   Elegant dining €€€
La Bella Vita   If you want to dress up (not required) and enjoy a special evening with charming service and outstanding food, then head to the Western most tip of Carvoeiro and find La Bella Vita in the Club Atlantico resort. A complex menu of italian dishes from a simple Pizza to some exceedingly tasty pasta and meat dishes. Its not at the cheap end, need a car but we felt the price was worthwhile.

 

Bon Bon (282 341 496)   Glorious setting - at a price €€€
Bon Bon Restaurant  

Bon Bon can be found quite easily just under the water tower on the road from Sesmarias to Lagoa. You can sit outside and watch a wonderful sunset, overlooking the mountains of Monchique. The welcome is warm and discreet, the dishes are beautifully presented. The menu is short, elegant and changeable. While there was no vegetarian option on the night we went, the Chef "rustled" up a beetroot risotto that Ingrid thought was the best in The Algarve. We both had a tastebud extravaganza with the cheese starter, and I had a taster plate with three exquisite renderings of need a carLamb. Service impeccable. Price high.

 

Ele & Ela (282 357 509)   Best cooking in the town €€€
Ele & Ela Restaurant   Currently best cooking in Carvoeiro is to be found at the cosy Ele & Ela  right in the middle of town. An eclectic menu, which changes frequently but best described as wild flavours from all over the world with Portuguese ingredients, meats, fish and some inventive Vegetarian options too. Desserts always worth leaving room for.

The setting is perhaps less elegant than many others, but once inside, the atmosphere is very professional where food and wine come before anything else.

 

L'Orange (282 357 297)   Excellent food and exemplary service €€€
L'Orange Restaurant   For a special evening, we always head to L'Orange, which is a bit more expensive than most, but the food is so well prepared and the service and ambiance make it all worthwhile. Duck, Steak, Lamb and Fish dishes are all tasty as well as a selection of Vegetarian options put together with care and thought.

 

Terroir (282 354 024)   Pricy, pretentious and pleasurable. €€€
A wine bar; a tapas bar   This is a wine bar, a tapas bar, but the guys running it do go that extra mile to make the whole experience just that bit different from the run of the mill Carvoeiro fare. As a wine bar, you select your wine form a superb collection and they bring it to the table plus €10 corkage. As a tapas bar, you select what you want from the blackboard, but we advise you not to over order as each dish is a masterpiece in itself. Check them out on Facebook.

 

O Salmao (282 357 031)   Home cooking in Monte Carvoeiro Square €€
O Salmao Restaurant in Monte Carvoeiro   A beautiful setting and always a varied, but distinctive menu with excellent fish dishes as well as my favourite lamb chops and a thoughtful Vegetarian selection cooked by Ed in the back, while Christina looks after front of house with her daughter Ana (both pictured here with Ingrid). Ed hails from Yorkshire, Christina is Portuguese but speaks impeccable English with a Portuguese-Scottish-Yorkshire accent that has to be heard to be believed, and if you engage her in conversation as the evening wears on, believe us, you'll hear a lot of it !

 

Taste (282 358 092)   Excellent service, fine dining. €€
Taste Restaurant   A special welcome from new owners Ciprian and Nicola sets you up for a meal of splendid portions and excellet cooking. The menu is short, but varied with some creative vegetarian dishes as well.

 

A Tasquinha (282 048 893)   Surprisingly good Portuguese family cooking. €€
The Smoke House Restaurant   Down a small alley on the left facing the entrance to the market in Lagoa, you'll find this little gem of a restaurant. On their website, they bill themselves as a wine and tapas bar, which is true at lunchtime, but the evening menu contains enough serious food that 4 of us each chose a different starter and different main course, and all thoroughly reccommend what weneed a car ate.

 

O Alambique (282 449 283)   An oasis in the country €€€
O Alambique RestaurantClosed Tuesdays   O Alambique in Poηo Barreto has been going strong since about 1999. We only found it in 2007 and are we glad we made the journey. It's a 10-15 minute drive from Carvoeiro past Silves and in the middle of nowhere, but when you arrive, the tables are very well spaced out and the food is all delicately cooked with fresh herbs from their own garden.

This restaurant is truly International with a German owner/front of house, Portuguese chef, Moldavian cook and Bulgarian kitchen help. Steaks that I could cut with a fish knife, and truly imaginative Vegetarian dishes need a carco-exist with creative fish dishes that you are unlikely to find elsewhere.

 

O Baradas (282 443 308)   Excellent cooking just out of town €€€
O Alambique Restaurant   In very pleasant surroundings, sophisticated, yet informal, the cooking and in particular, the wines are predominantly from Northern Portugal.

Choose any of the Lamb dishes, Veal steaks or, the jewel in the crown,  an enormous Veal chop that is to die for. Forget about chips, but have their special sautι potatoes with onions. Skip starters and enjoy lots of beautiful little bits in the "couvert" which are sufficient to set you up and allow room for a mouth-watering dessert menu offering a number of flambιed choices.

We'd suggest you get help from Luis, the owner with your wine choice. He has a fanatic love of his Douro collection and won't necessarily force you to select the incredibly expensive wines that he does have on offer and will "allow" you to drink if you really have a fat wallet.

Definitely a special evening out, its one of the more expensive restaurants in the Algarve, but worth every Euro. need a car

Visit O Barradas website

 

Café Inglês (282 442 585)

  Atmosphere and simple food. €
O Alambique Restaurant   In the shadow of Silves Castle, this is an idyllic setting for a long leisurely Sunday lunch. The food is pleasant without being exceptional, but with a changing Brazillian Jazz group striking up at 3pm, its a perfect day. They do have an evening trade, and Fridays and Saturdays have live music too. need a car

 

Chrissy's (282 341 062)   Friendly fine dining €€€
Chrissy's in Lagoa   Louis and Debbie have taken over this well established French/Belgian style smart restaurant in the centre of Lagoa and have kept the same menu, but added a few touches to enhance the taste experience.

The food is very elegantly presented. Clearly a lot of care has gone into the preparation and the subtle tastes were just what we needed. Excellent Lagoan house wine to accompany the 3 course set meal makes it a worthy expedition from Carvoeiro, but at these prices need a car its special occasions only and not for an average night out.

(Closed Sun and Mon)

 

A Gale (282 357 330)   Superb Portuguese cooking €€
A Gale   Probably the best cooking amongst its ilk on "Restaurant Hill". This tiny establishment about half way up on the right, is always packed to the gills, and booking is a very good idea. Usual fare of grilled fish, pork and lamb, but their chips are truly special!

There are a couple of vegetarian options - enjoyable, but not quite up to the standard of the rest of the menu which is truly splendid.

 

Happys (282 357 692)   Always bustling, always fun €€
Happys   Go here for a "different" evening. Libbre, your Dutch host creates a party atmosphere in this very small restaurant which is always fully booked throughout the season. Specialities are their hanging kebabs, and "fish and chips" like no other. Vegetarian option available, but that's not why we go there.
Booking is essential; sometimes many days in advance.

 

Rei Das Praias (282 461 006)   An evening to remember €€€
Rei Das Praias   Set right on Caneiros Beach, Rei Das Praias looks more like a cafe, but has an absolutely splendid setting, and grills some fresh fish that is truly excellent. It's expensive for what you get, but an experience worth booking days in advance for. There is one Vegetarian option that was frankly not very inspiring. need a car

 

Some more nice ones ... Pictures to come, but it's the food that's important !
Maximes
(282 357 852)
Half way up "Restaurant Hill" on the left, serves large plates of highly decorative food that's also very tasty. Special care is given to the small selection of Vegetarian options. €€
Villa Medici
(282 358 017)

 

Another popular and good quality Italian restaurant on the right hand side near the top of "Restaurant Hill" €€
Casa Velha do Pescador
(913 672 887)
This Portuguese restaurant breaks the mould of tourist restaurants described below. Found up the hill just past Benagil beach on the right hand side near the top of the hill, where there are two adjacent restaurants. Casa Velha do Pescador is the lower of the pair, it's very nicely decorated, the menu is a bit more expensive than Restaurant Hill, but we noticed many Portuguese families eating here, and above all, we enjoyed the presentation of the food and the creative vegetarian options so absent in many other Portuguese  establishments. €€

 

need a car

Elliotts
(282 356 096)
Newly established in 2007 in the delightful Monte Carvoeiro square, this restaurant has a bit of a hit and miss history. However, when it's a hit, the food is rather splendid. Your hosts make that extra effort to welcome you and walk you through the menu, the cooking, the food and match the delivery to your tastes and desires. Some spectacular reviews by friends and visitors, but we've also experienced the occasional average meal. €€
The Village Inn
(282 412 036)
This is not easy to find in the little town of Mexilhoeira da Carragaηγo, but they advertise in Free Map with good instructions to a small cosy restaurant that's worth the effort. From the beginning of the meal with some of the more unusual Couvert in the area, through imaginative meat and vegetarian dishes, the food is always faultless. This was the first and only veggie friendly restaurant for miles when we first started going to Carvoeiro in  1999, and they are still popular and full, so book before you make the journey. €€

 

need a car

 
Portuguese eating I Some of the tourist places

There are quite a large number of simple traditional Portuguese restaurants in the main town, particularly up "Restaurant Hill". We find them all very similar in terms of the menu with grilled fresh fish of the day as top choice. Or you can try grilled lamb chops by the plateful, steaks with various sauces or the specialities of Chicken piri-piri or Cataplana (fish stew in a cauldron - usually for 2 persons).

The other thing they all have in common is the typically informal, friendly service from the waiting staff, but we cannot help feeling that they have adapted readily over the past few years to the burgeoning North European tourist influx. This becomes apparent in the prices, which have risen noticeably, the inclusion of special children's menu (fish fingers, burgers, pizza), and sadly, the feeling of conveyor belt cooking.
 

Here are just a few:

 

Casa Algarvia
(282 357 604)
Towards the top of Restaurant Hill on the left going up, this double fronted restaurant is always busy. Favoured by regular visitors and residents alike, they offer some Vegetarian option, but you do need to like fish to accompany your garlic here. €€
O Chef Antonio
(282 358 937)
Almost opposite Casa Algarvia, this very large imposing looking building reached up a ramp with a large covered verandah, serves h u g e portions, so missing a starter could be a wise move. Although we've heard some stories of below average food, the waiters are very friendly, and if you have the Leg of Lamb, be sure to ask for a right leg, as the left legs tend to be a bit less juicy J €€
A Rede
(282 358 513)
Standard fare served with style, and occasionally some interesting desserts. €€
Vimar
(282 358 322)
More standard fare, but the grilled fish is optionally served headless. They also have a play area at the back for the kiddies. €€
 
Portuguese eating II Not for your average tourist

Running east to west along the whole of the Algarve is the infamous N125 road. South of the N125 are all the good, the great and not so great tourist towns, areas and complexes, where English is widely spoken, and most of the restaurants cater to the visitor. These are described in the preceding section.

If you want authentic Portuguese hospitality, you need to go North of the N125 into any town or village and be prepared to find menus without any English, or even the total lack of menus.

But prices will be substantially lower, and Vegetarians will starve.

 

If you want a taster of what is available in the genuine Portugal, we have found a few local establishments that still maintain the old ways, and for the time being at least offer exceptional value for money - we hope it lasts.

 
Escondidinho The Escondidinho is on the far side of Quinta do Paraiso from Carvoeiro. Past the reception area and up a slight incline, keep left. There is a large unpaved car park on the left, filled with cars and trucks.

It's occupied most lunchtimes with local builders and workmen. For no more than €8 or so, you get a 3 course lunch with wine and coffee, but do not expect any menu in English. In fact, no menu at all. Granny will tell you what you want, she won't wait for you to um and ahh about it, but she will deliver platefuls of wholesome food very quickly.

€
O Branco Another cheap restaurant for the locals, this actually looks much smarter than it is. On the road behind Quinta do Paraiso, heading towards Sesmerais, in an imposing white block building you'll get a choice of main courses (probably all meat), dessert, drinks and coffee all for the princely sum of €7.00 precisely. We had a turkey breast and a fish dish both of which were covered in a hard crispy batter and served with chips, rice and salad. Its obviously not haute  cuisine, but surprisingly nourishing and well presented - definitely not a cafe ! €

 

need a car

Fatacil Cafeteria Inside the gates of the Fatacil (the "fairgrounds" by the roundabout at Lagoa, opposite the Blue elephant car wash) is the Fatacil Restaurant, but we hesitate to call it a restaurant. It's huge inside, extremely bright, noisy and filled with local workmen eating their way through a 3 course lunch with wine, coffee and maybe even a liqueur for less  than €8.00. Some English help may be available, but don't count on it! €

 

need a car

 
Something different Fed up with formal dinners ?
All these are quite a way out of town (car or taxi essential). None are really culinary extravaganzas but they certainly are different, and make a very welcome change if you're eating out most nights.

 

Chicken George As the name implies, the priority is Chicken and Chips. You do have a choice of with or without piri-piri sauce and an optional salad (worth having!). It's way out east toward Benagil. From Rocha Brava complex go out of the front and straight over. After 1/4 mile this will bring you to a "T" junction which is the m 1273. If you turn right you go to Benagil if you turn left you go to Lagoa. Go straight over at this junction down a narrow  road. Chicken George suddenly appears 100 meters on the right. €

 

need a car

Piano Bar (282 493 278) This one is west of town on the road from Sesmarais to Ferragudo, on the right opposite the turnoff to Casabela Hotel. The sign on the right of this turning tells us that it's a Pizza and Indian Restaurant, and when you arrive you find its all true. Two large brick Pizza ovens in the front, seemingly authentic Indian kitchen and live  music make it all a bit different. €€

 

need a car

Teodosio
O Rei dos Frangos
(289 561 316)
Translates as "King of Chicken", this is the place to go for Chicken Piri Piri. Its where the locals go for a family dinner, resembling a major motorway rest stop, the place is enormous and always buzzing.  Its a 20 minute drive along the 125 towards Faro. At the roundabout at Guia, turn left, and a couple of hundred meters up on the right is the restaurant sign with a turning 20 meters further to a huge car park behind.

Don't look for menus or choices. Its Chicken, chicken or chicken with chips. Do take the optional added salad, and you only have to decide what to drink and that's it. The piri piri is spicier than many average restaurants in Carvoeiro, but will not  burn. Hard to spend much more than €10 per head. Highly recommended, no bookings required.

€

 

need a car

 
Some Ethnic Restaurants Included for completeness
ITALIAN
Beware, there are a couple of really bad ones. There are also some new ones that are not mentioned here - yet !.

On the other hand, there are some glorious establishments that we have not tried, but have heard very good reports on. They are just listed here.

 
Villa Medici
(282 357 608)
Solid Italian cooking. Populated by many loyal returners, so it must be good. €€
Primavera
(282 358 342)
Refurbished in 2013. At the top of restaurant hill on the right going up. Reports of excellent meals - but at a price. €€€
Forno de Fraser Take away Pizza. Definitely the best Pizza in town - if Pizza is what you want. You'll find this small establishment just up the one way road that comes down to the Post Office (Correiro). €
     
CHINESE
There are about 3 in Carvoeiro itself, but one worth a mention, and another one, which is outside town anyway.  
China Town (282 359 121) This one may be found almost at the top of Restaurant Hill, on the left hand side going up. It's nicely decorated and serves a good standard Chinese meal, but won't really set the world on fire. €€
Jardim do Sul (282 352 273) If you really want Chinese, then head to Lagoa where you will find this unpretentious restaurant, in the pedestrian precinct in the middle of town with easy parking nearby. €€ need a car
     
INDIAN
A new Indian restaurant opens each year, and most of them keep their clientele and stay open, which is no bad thing, but we can only find one to recommend.  
O Indiano
(282 356 999)
Really good Indian food! I'd say there was little else to tell, except that its one of the few restaurants on 'The Hill" that is nearly always full especially in the off season. €€
O Castello
(282 357 218)

*NOW CLOSED*
What a setting ! This is on the hill leaving the main square past the ice cream parlour, and on past Rascals. They have a small number of outside tables which are well worth booking in advance, but even if you're sitting indoors, the food is awesome, and never too hot. €€
THAI
   
Koh Samui
(919 326 682)




*NOW CLOSED*
Found up a steep hill in a side street to the right a short way up Restaurant Hill (kind of opposite the turning for the Municipal Market). Although it may sound a surprising suggestion for eating out in Portugal, the flavours are subtle, spicy items not too strong, and a high quality alternative to the standard fare of fish, meat or Pizza ! Definitely worth a try.

Update: June 2008. Avoid this place. Seems to have changed ownership and its terrible. Service atrocious, you may get what you ordered, but its pot luck, and you may even pay for your neighbour's meal as well as yours. Some of the food is still very tasty, so we're watching carefully.

?
     
ENGLISH
We just could not resist adding this listing in the Ethnic section. Well we are in Portugal - right ?  
Ma Ja's
(282 083 920)
Hidden away in a back street. From the square, walk a short way back along the "in-road" then first left up past the post office, then hard left back on yourself up the one way (down) street on the West Side, you'll find Ma Ja's Bistro, where Mark and Jan (get the name now ?) have set out to offer home English cooking specifically for those who miss it. Prices are very reasonable for freshly prepared fare on an ever changing menu, with vegetarian option to boot. Sunday Lunch speciality as well. €
 

Eat, drink, drink more and be merry!

Most of the restaurants on this page, and indeed quite a few others that we haven't mentioned are all within easy walking distance of Ponto de Vista

 

Some that are special and worthy of inclusion here, will require transport. That means either a designated driver with your rental car or one of the many taxis available in Carvoeiro who will also arrange to collect you at the end of your meal.

 

Restaurants outside the need a carstumbling distance are denoted with this little symbol.

 

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