It was my first time to Portugal and I was excited to see what sorts of restaurants it had to offer! Since we only had 4 nights in Portugal, and considering the Algarve region is big, my list of where to eat in the Algarve isn’t very long. However, we still had a good sampling of food that I want to share!
(Be sure to read A Day Out In The Algarve, Portugal to see where we visited in this beautiful region of Europe!)
The first night after we arrived in Albufeira, we walked over to Rania’s for dinner. My husband and oldest son had gone there when they visited Albufeira before and my son loved it. So he was excited to return and show me and his little brother what Rania’s was all about!
Rania’s serves standard European western food…which is what you’re going to find in most restaurants in the area since we’re in Portugal! They have a large selection of food to choose from, and the Tourist Menu is an especially good deal. For about 12 Euros ($13 USD) you can get a meal that includes soup, an entree, dessert, and a drink!
Rania’s offers decent meals for a good price, and the staff are helpful and friendly. There are several restaurants in the area with similar types of “Tourist Menus” with the same food for similar prices. However, Rania’s always had a bigger crowd and a line of people waiting later in the evening. It is definitely a popular place, so it’s a good option when looking for where to eat in the Algarve!
Another restaurant in Albufeira is Iguana Cafe, one of my favorites from our entire vacation.
Iguana Cafe is in the main town center of Albufeira, about a 10-15 minute drive from where we were staying. When you first walk up to Iguana Cafe, the cheerful white and pink exterior seem inviting enough. You step inside and the interior is a bit dark and doesn’t seem like anything special. Then you step outside and you realize this is where everyone is!
Who wouldn’t want to sit outside and enjoy these views??!
Luckily for us, they had seating outside! The views from the patio are beautiful. Big umbrellas shield the bright sun while there is the sound of the ocean crashing on the cliffs below. It was a relaxing way to enjoy a late lunch in the middle of the afternoon. I loved it.
We decided to do a tapas meal and shared two Mediterranean meat and cheese platters and an order of chicken and chorizo toasties. It was all tasty, and while it seemed like fairly simple food, it almost seemed more fun to eat considering the setting we were in!
Iguana Cafe is a must visit if you are in the area!
If you do some exploring and are wondering where else to eat in the Algarve, drive on over to the small town of Loule (LOO-lay). Like many towns in this region of Europe, you can meander around the old town, and then stop into a local restaurant like Restaurante Afonso III for a bite.
Restaurante Afonso is small restaurant, with some casual outdoor seating. It is nothing fancy, but the food is decent, the atmosphere is welcoming, and the staff are friendly. There were, what seemed to be, several locals having lunch when we ate there. As such, we felt we had more of a “local” dining experience as opposed to dining at a more visible touristy place.
Freshly caught fish is a popular meal choice in this region, even in towns like Loule which is further from the sea. I enjoyed a grilled salmon steak and my husband had whole grilled Mediterranean sea bass.
We also ordered sliced jamon as an appetizer which came with a basket of fresh bread. The boys both ordered omelettes, which funnily enough, were served with rice and fries! It’s not quite what I would imagine serving with eggs, but when in Portugal…! It was a good meal all around and we were glad we tried it out.
If you’re in Lagos (la-GOOSH), make sure to stop at Campimar Beach Restaurant.
As the name suggests, the restaurant is situated right on the beach and the views are beautiful. I really don’t get tired of beachfront restaurants!
We sat outside, but the views from inside the restaurant were picture perfect.
Campimar is another restaurant where you can get a good selection of western foods and fresh fish. My husband had grilled Golden Bream and I had a grilled salmon filet. Fresh fish is on just about every restaurant menu and we enjoyed taking advantage of its availability!
The Mediterranean way of cooking fish is simply grilling it with oil, salt and pepper. It is incredibly simple but tasty, and the flavor of the fish really comes through. No sauces or anything fancy…just a side of vegetables and it made for the perfect meal. We enjoyed eating fish served this way several times on the trip.
Finally, if you’re looking for a change from Western European/Mediterranean cuisine, try going for Indian! There are a few Indian restaurants in Albufeira, and Clay Oven is definitely a must-visit.
Clay Oven was a convenient 10 minute walk from our apartment. From my research on the web, Clay Oven used to be a popular hole-in-the-wall restaurant. They’re still popular, but they’re in a bigger, newer, fancier location just a few doors down from where they used to be! The restaurant is fresh, vibrant, contemporary, and inviting.
We nibbled on crispy pappadums that were about the size of a dinner plate! Then we feasted on butter chicken, chicken korma, saag paneer, and chicken tikka masala. It proved to be more food than we could eat, but it all tasted fabulous! It was a nice flavor change for our palates!
As you can see, this region of Portugal offers many dining choices as to cuisine, location, and ambiance, and I have only touched upon a small fraction of them. If you visit the Algarve, I hope you’ll explore a variety of the restaurant options this beautiful area has to offer!
(Be sure to read A Day Out In The Algarve, Portugal to see where we stayed and what we did while visiting the area!)