The ethos of Algarve cuisine is that it’s locally sourced and delicious. The Portuguese are proud of their produce, and with good reason. The Algarve region is especially good for seafood. Expect mouth-watering grilled sardines all along the coast. One of the best places to try them is Portimao. They come with a rustic hunk of traditional bread – simply beautiful, and super-cheap.
As you’d expect from a region with so many traditional fishing villages, a holiday in the Algarve means a luxurious spread of all kind of seafood. Whether you want a simple bream dish, a hearty stew, or to treat yourself to some lobster, you can trust in it being fresh and of the highest quality.
A great countryside dish is Cataplana. This involves a slow cooked, garlic-rich pork with clams and seasonal vegetables. Other rural favourites are Caldo verde – a hearty soup that’s served as a starter – and Arjamolho – a cold, refreshing soup that’s a little like Gespatcho. Other starters usually consist of tapas-style bread and olive dishes, with delicately seasoned salads.
Aside from pork, the main meat is chicken. This comes in lots of dishes, sometimes simply roast, and others wrapped in local Presunto ham. A famous chicken treat is Piri-piri. It’s a dish best discovered in the Monchique restaurants, tempting travellers with its tangy and refreshing bite.
After dinner is usually time for Bica – espresso coffee served with light deserts. The day traditionally starts with a small sweet cake and some strong coffee too. It’s a real treat to get into local food on your Algarve holiday, with every meal showing the Algarve’s love of good eating. It’s heaven for any foody.
If you’re looking for somewhere with amazing local dishes and a traditional way of cooking, then a holiday to Albufeira is a great choice.