A good holiday has to have many elements (sunshine and good company are usually fairly crucial) however, one ingredient remains undisputed: good food.
As a continent, Europe is extremely varied in its approach to lining ones stomach – and Portugal’s southern-most region, the Algarve, is no stranger to mouth-watering local delicacies.
Boasting an impressive coastline running right along the south and west of the region, the Algarve is surprisingly well known for its seafood.
There is always a large array of fresh fish dishes on restaurant menus and seafood options are lovingly produced with the local catch of the day.
Restaurants are easy to come by and many offer views of the pretty Algarve beaches ready for you to soak up while you eat.
Given that many Portuguese specialities don’t translate well into English here’s the low down on some of those must-munch menu favourites:
Arroz de Peixe – Fish rice! The rice and fresh fish is cooked with tomatoes and peppers and garnished with fresh coriander or mint – a real Algarvian classic.
Massada de Peixe – Fish with pasta. Replace rice with pasta and you have a delicious dish guaranteed to satisfy a rumbling tum.
Feijoada de Buzinas – Bean stew with Whelks. Bean stews are a popular Algarvian dish and come with a variety of different seafood’s (or meats) added to the mix.
As well as whelks, you can also find Feijoada de Choco (bean stew with cuttlefish) and Feijoada à Portuguesa (Bean stew with lots of cabbage, pork, bacon and sausage!)
Of course not every restaurant focuses on Portuguese food with many first-rate international restaurants popping up throughout the region.
As well as local restaurants, you can also eat in the many first-rate Algarve hotels. Quinta Bonita Luxury Boutique Hotel in Lagos is a fine example with the chef sourcing local, organic produce and wine coming from local Portuguese boutique wineries.
Pequeño Mundo is definitely worth investigating as not only will your taste buds be teased by the delicious French cuisine (the Crepe Suzette is to die for) the setting – an old Portuguese villa – is pretty special too.
It makes a really romantic setting if you are looking to impress and the service is second to none.
Nevertheless, whichever Algarve accommodation option you go for, one Portuguese delight you should definitely add to your ‘to-taste’ list is sardine – just maybe lay off the room service…