The Algarve has a lot to offer in respect of traditional cuisine and is the ideal place to eat fresh fish, delicious fruit and has a wide variety of puddings. You won't be able to miss the terrace culture and being able to sit outside and enjoy our amazing weather for most of the year. Sit back with a glass of wine or maybe a beer and enjoy!
Snacks and Starters - Algarvian Carrots (Cenouras à Algarvia)
This starter is something you should definitely try; it may sound simple but it’s really delicious. Normally a starter or sometimes a side dish consisting of boiled carrots, chopped garlic, chopped coriander, and finally seasoned with vinegar, oil, salt, and pepper. It needs to be marinated in the fridge for a few hours but ideally, a day or two. It’s a winning combination of flavours and we are sure you won't be disappointed
Snacks and starters - Conquilha à Algarvia
When you go to the Algarve, this is a dish you must try. Conquilhas or Cadelinhas are typical bivalve molluscs from the Algarve. They are similar to clams but smaller and live close to the shore, buried just a few centimetres deep in the sand.
Conquilhas are a great starter or snack and they are made with garlic and coriander and washed down with a little lemon at the end.
Snacks and Starters - Oysters
If you like Oysters, the Algarve is one of the best places to try them in Portugal. The main Oyster production areas in the Algarve are the Ria do Alvor and the Ria Formosa.
The Algarve has a strong connection with the sea, with its abundant coastline, all coastal cities had fishing as their main activity until tourism arrived in the region.
If you love seafood and fish then when you are in the Algarve you have to take the opportunity to eat an abundance of seafood and fish. Whether you sit down and enjoy this in a cafe or restaurant or go and buy your seafood and fish fresh from one of the markets there truly is nothing better to sitting down on a glorious sunny day in the Algarve and enjoying what is on offer with a fresh glass of wine.
In our Page on "Bounty from the Sea"
you will be able to see a selection of our wonderful selection available in the Algarve
Seafood - Algarvian Tuna (Atum à Algarvia)
Tuna is one of the main fishes consumed in the Algarve. Atlantic red tuna was one of the most caught fish in the Algarve. This migratory fish travels long distances to spawn in the Mediterranean, and passing along the coast of the Algarve is mandatory. In the 19th century, Portugal was one of the main tuna fishers.
One of the most traditional tuna dishes in the Algarve is the Algarvian Tuna (Atum à Algarvia). This dish is made with tomato, red pepper, white wine, and tuna marinated with lemon juice. The tuna is served with potatoes and covered in parsley.
Seafood - Cataplana
Cataplana is a special dish in the Algarve. The most popular cataplanas are seafood cataplanas, fish cataplanas, clams in the cataplana, and even the pork and clams cataplana.
Cataplana not only refers to the dish but is also the name of the container used in the preparation. The cataplana steams slowly, which allows it to retain the flavour and aroma of the ingredients.
Seafood - Swordfish
Swordfish is widely used in Algarve cuisine and it is usually grilled over the coals but is also often cooked with onions and garlic. It’s a fish with very juicy white meat.
Seafood - Algarvian fried cuttlefish
Algarvian fried cuttlefish is a very popular dish eaten in the Algarve.
Fried cuttlefish is a dish made with small or medium cuttlefish fried in olive oil with garlic and chilies. Add white wine and let it cook until they are soft. Serve with boiled or fried potatoes and cilantro.
Seafood - Sardines
You won't be able to miss this popular and cheap fish in any market or in any cafe or restaurant in the Summer months in the Algarve. Really all you need to do when cooking sardines is just a little salt, pepper and a drop of Portuguese olive oil and you are ready to go. Simply pop them on the BBQ and enjoy. There is even a Sardine Festival in Portimão held every August.
Seafood - Grilled fish
Eating grilled fish in the Algarve is almost mandatory. In addition to fish in the Algarve being delicious and fresh, it is also one of the cheapest countries to eat fish.
The best way to eat fish is grilled over coal, and the most common species in restaurants are sea bream, sardines, sea bass, and sole.
Seafood - Octopus
Octopus is one of the most appreciated dishes in the Algarve, being especially famous in Tavira and Santa Luzia, known as the Capital of Octopus.
It is a dish that can be prepared in different ways but is always delicious. Stewed in wine, breaded, grilled, with rice or baked in the oven with olive oil and potatoes on the wall. Do try at least one octopus dish whilst you are in the Algarve
Meat dishes - Alentejan pork meat (Carne de porco à Alentejana)
Alentejan Pork meat is a signature dish in the Algarve that is served in almost all restaurants in the region.
The dish is made with pork from the Alentejo (hence the dish’s name), clams, and diced French fries. The dish is seasoned with garlic, paprika, wine, bay leaf, and coriander.
Meat dishes - Frango da guia – Piri piri chicken
Frango da Guia is barbecue chicken made in the parish of Guia in Albufeira. The first restaurant to cook it and make well known was Ramires restaurant in 1964, by José Carlos Ramires who used a recipe originating from the Portuguese African Colonies, making this dish known as Frango da Guia.
Nowadays, many places cook barbecue chicken similar to Mr. Ramires’, but Guia’s chicken has always been famous.
It is a fast food dish that you can eat in a restaurant or have as a takeaway.
Meat dishes - Wild Boar (Javali)
Away from the Coast you will find that wild boar (javali) is something that you’ll see on restaurant menus throughout the area - usually served in a hearty stew, you will struggle to find room for pudding
Desserts and Sweets - Doces Finos
Doces Finos which translates to "fine candies" are a typical sweet of the Algarve.
Cute and fluffy, not to mention delicious. It is a sweet made with marzipan, and can be filled with egg threads. They are moulded into different animal or fruit shapes and can be decorated with chocolate or dyes.
Desserts and sweets - Pudim de laranja
Although custard flans are enjoyed throughout the world, this orange-flavoured version is traditionally associated with Algarve and one of our favourites. This simple dessert consists of a smooth egg-based custard that is enriched with orange juice and orange zest.
Desserts and sweets - Serradura
You can find this dessert in nearly every restaurant in the Algarve. Serradura means literally sawdust, due to the crumbled biscuit that goes on the dessert. This dessert pudding consists of alternating layers of condensed milk and cream with a crumbled biscuit (normally the biscuit is “bolacha Maria”, a brand frequently used in Portugal). It is a very simple but delicious dessert.
Desserts and sweets - Molotof
Molotof pudding is a dessert done by all Portuguese and you will find it in almost every restaurant in the Algarve. Contrary to all other Portuguese desserts this pudding is cooked with egg whites and sugar. Normally this dessert is cooked to use the leftovers of egg whites and is a fluffy soft dessert with a dulcet taste of Caramel.