As promised this week’s foodie Wednesday is dedicated to my holiday food pamper, in my home country Portugal. I don’t even know where to start. I ate so much, and so many good things that it’s difficult to know which ones to pick. I’ve been to several different places: Lisbon, Vilamoura (Algarve), Santa Cruz and Alentejo. In all this places I ate loads of amazing food, but I didn’t always remember to take pictures (oops). I’ll try to report mostly on the ones that might be useful for you too (restaurants, etc), but can’t possible leave out a few homemade goodies.
There’s loads of amazing places to eat in Lisbon, and I promise to dedicate a whole post to Lisbon, in Dreamitravel one day, but this time around I didn’t eat out much. As my parents live in Lisbon we tend to eat at home, those delicious homemade meals that I miss so much. Unfortunately it’s so delicious there’s no pictures, haha, sorry.
I did go out for dinner one day with a friend, to this lovely place outside of Lisbon, in S.Pedro do Estoril. ‘O Boteco da Linha’ is a lovely and cosy restaurant, with a lot of ‘Petiscos’ (the equivalent of Portuguese tapas); there’s a lot to choose from, and we were so eager that we may have ordered just a bit more than we could handle. We still ate it all. Here’s our picks (sorry for the bad picture quality, I forgot my camera and only had my smartphone with me):
As I am completely unware of what’s trendy in Lisbon these days, I rely on my gorgeous friends to show me around. And so they did, they took me to two really fashionable rooftop bars – PARK and The Insolito. The PARK is great for Gin lovers, as they have amazing gin cocktails. Not being a fan myself, I opted for a Mojito that did not disappoint*. I also had a burger which was good (not brilliant), the fries however were amazing! It’s worth to order just the fries. Actually it’s not really fries, as it’s potato slices rather than the usual sticks, I guess it’s chips or crisps then? Not sure but it’s yummy.
The Insolito, has an amazing view to the other side of the city, facing downtown and the castle. I haven’t tried the food, but if you visit it’s worth to try the ‘Daiquiri de pêra rocha’ cocktail. It’s one of their signature cocktails and it’s very yummy.
*Note for the Brits: I almost forgot but cocktails in Lisbon are much stronger than in London. Mind the booze.
There’s tons of amazing things in Lisbon, and as promised, I’ll tell you all about it on a dedicated post. For now let’s move on.
OMG Vilamoura was complete madness. If in Lisbon I didn’t eat out much, in Vilamoura that’s all we did. Except for two nights that we decided to stay home and not eat carbs, for the sake of our clothes still fitting.
Vilamoura is a small place (not sure it’s big enough to be a town) in the Algarve, where people escape to in the summer mostly for the sandy beach, lovely weather and fun nights. It’s a bit of a posh place I have to say, so I recon most places to stay are a bit expensive. In August it’s completely packed, but June and July are good months to visit. There’s still a lot of people though.
There’s a lot of restaurants in the Marina, and although the environment is quite lovely and there’s little shops and good ice cream, most of the restaurants are tourist traps. However if you’re British and feeling homesick there’s a few British pubs. Same for the Irish. As for us, we decided to avoid the fancy Marina restaurants (except for one night) and head to the less glamorous, but full of yummier restaurants, Quarteira. Quarteira is basically attached to Vilamoura, it doesn’t have all the luxurious resorts and posh people, which for me only makes it better, and it has loads of simple little restaurants, which hold the most delicious of meals.
We went to quite a few on ‘repeat’ mode (addresses at the bottom):
– ‘A Cabana’ (attention it’s not ‘La Cabane’, It’s posher more expensive sister) – It’s great value and excellent quality. The fish is very fresh and tasty. On Fridays they have ‘Mussels day’ and you can eat all the mussels and fries you want. The meat is quite good as well, and the baby squid are delicious.
– ‘Snack bar Tico Tico’ (best seafood) – Tico tico is a great place for you to try all kinds of seafood; we tried the clams (ameijoas a bulhao pato), crab (sapateira) and we tried ‘bruxas’ (it looks like a tiny lobster, tastes of heaven). The fish is also really good. To finish off, the chocolate mouse and D. Rodrigo (Algarve’s traditional desert) are to die for. If you’re a fan or want to go wild, they also cook snails here, Portuguese style. Don’t judge before you try.
– ‘Bem Bom Steakhouse’ (best meat) – if you had enough fish and are craving for some good meat this is the place to go. We had the Picanha Brazilian style: with rice, beans, and farofa. The meat quality is excellent. If you’d like to eat all sorts of meat (beef, chicken, pork, sausage) opt for the meat rodizio (kind of an ‘all-you-can-eat’ thing).
– ‘Restaurante Frutos do Mar’ (best for rice –seafood, fish, octopus, etc) – the fish and seafood here are also good, but what’s really yummy is the rice. Any kind. We tried the grouper and seafood rice and it was just brilliant. The razor clam rice is also delicious. The portions are gigantic though, so seek advice from your waiter on how much to order depending on your party.
As if all this food extravaganza wasn’t enough I still decided to buy our traditional ‘beach cake’, Bolinha de Berlim, which is kind of like a doughnut with egg cream (not custard). They sell it at the beach everywhere in Portugal. You’ll hear the sales guys (and girls) screaming ‘Bolinha’ as they pass by. Just stop them and try one. For 1€ you’ll have a little taste of paradise.
Similar to Lisbon, once I got to Alentejo I forgot about my camera and just engaged in binge eating. Honestly my grandma cooks and I sit there and eat. My mum also cooked a few things, and everything was so yummy that I completely forgot to take pictures. I have a few pictures from previous visits though, as we tend to eat the same thing (our favourites, by request), I thought I could use these pictures instead.
A traditional food in Portugal is Açorda. It’s prepared in different ways in the North and South of the country, but it always involves a lot of bread. Really good traditional, handmade bread. In the North it’s kind of like a mash, but in the south, Alentejo, the Açorda is like a soup where you throw the bread inside till it’s soaked. There’s different kinds, with more or less things, it can go from just the broth with bread, to broth, bread, cheese, egg, fish, etc… depends which one you’re eating. I love all the Açordas that there can possible exist.
We also eat a lot of bread here, with cheese and ‘paio’, a kind of chorizo. We pick up oranges from the backyard and squeeze our own orange juice, no sugar needed. But usually there’s no oranges in the summer, it’s more of a winter thing. In the summer we just rejoice in watermelon and melon.
As we left my grandparents small village we went to Evora, a gorgeous town in Alentejo, which is totally worth the visit. The warm nights, kind people and amazing food make it a very friendly and lovely place. However we didn’t book a table, so we couldn’t get a place at the restaurant we intended to. But as everything in life when a door closes, a window opens, and we found another delicious place.
We were scared at first as there were only tourists sitting outside, usually you need a few locals to guarantee authenticity of the place. But I am Portuguese, with a strong southern upbringing and can tell you that was authentic Alentejo food. It’s called Piparoza boutique bar, located close to Praça do Giraldo in Evora’s typical and friendly streets. The food is delicious. You can opt to share ‘petiscos’ (tapas) or for main meals. I shared the squid rice with ink, it was just like a dream. The ‘pataniscas de bacalhau’ (typical Portuguese codfish fritters) were some of the best I’ve had in years, and the pork fillet was great too.
If you go to Evora, you can also try to book a table at ‘Tasquinha do Oliveira’ – there’s only 4 or 5 tables so it’s difficult, but oh so worth it – or go to the ‘Pateo’ restaurant.
The one thing I have to say is, it’s unbelievable how friendly people are in Portugal. Obviously there will be exceptions, but overall customer service is amazing. Everywhere we’ve been people are so kind. At the Piparoza, there weren’t any tables outside, without us having to ask, the team immediately carried an extra table outside and moved mountains to find two extra benches. All done with a smile.
Oh gosh, I notice now I went on forever. It’s only normal considering all I’ve been eating. Anyways hope you enjoy the ‘report’ and don’t hesitate to ask if you have any questions about the places, or the lovely Portugal. I’ll be more than happy to help. Cheers!
O Boteco da linha – Rua Sacadura Cabral, 116A, São Pedro do Estoril, Portugal
PARK – Calçada do Combro, 58, Lisboa, Portugal
The Insolito – R. São Pedro de Alcântara 83, Lisboa, Portugal
A Cabana – Rua do Levante, 13, Quarteira, Portugal
Tico Tico – Rua das laranjeiras 2, Quarteira, 8125-218, Portugal
Bem Bom Steakhouse – Avenida Francisco Sa Carneiro, Quarteira, Portugal
Frutos do Mar – R. Patrão Lopes 45, 8125-256 Quarteira, Portugal
Piparoza – Rua Alcarcova de Baixo -N 23, Evora 7000,Portugal