Best Restaurants Portugal
A unique country all it’s own, Portugal is reminiscent of an eclectic hybrid of Italy and Spain. On one hand you have the high quality food and wine similar to that of Italy, yet at a fraction of the cost, while at the same time there’s an offbeat edginess not unlike the gypsy characteristics of Spain. What lies and waits for the visitor is a element of surprise to delight the senses. Here are just a few of the fantastic spots Carri stumbled upon during a recent vacation before heading to the Yoga Teacher Training in Greece. Hopefully you’ll get a chance to try some of these highlights during your advanced training module in Portugal.
Mercado da Ribeira
What was once the most famous fish market in Europe is now a foodie hall hangout destination. Carri was here 3 times within just a couple of days! Mercado da Ribeira houses some of the city’s biggest names in food & drink in addition to pizza, empanadas, croquettes and other handheld goodies. Also check out A Vida Portuguesa for high end gifts, food items to take home and unique kitchen decor.
Cantinho Do Avillez
Relaxed and comfortable with simple yet delicious food at it’s best. Reservations a must for dinner, but if you can’t in during your optimum time, try lunch – especially if you can get there right at the 12:30 opening time, before the crowd. If you’ve never had fried green beans dipped in aioli, this would be an excellent time to try them!
The Algarve Coast
Cantinho do Petiscos, Lagos
This local favorite is best experienced at lunchtime, otherwise expect an hour wait.
The house specialty is a heaping pile of prawns doused in a creamy tomato sauce topped with lemon and cilantro. Paired with a bottle of crisp white wine, it may just be the perfect lunch before heading to the beach for an afternoon of fun in the sun.
Casa do Cabrita, Carrapateira
In a small town near the quiet desolate beaches of Bordeira lies a tiny restaurant with some of the best fish ever. Grilled Stone Bass – lightly salted with just the right amount of lemon & oil was a delectable treat, especially for someone who had not been eating fish for the last couple years.
This town may not be on your bucket list, but if you happen to be en route to Porto, you may decide to make a pit stop, especially with all the great food in one small area.
A destination for any visit to Aveiro. Unassuming and down a small alley, the small interior is reminiscent of a boat, hence the name. To start, try the shrimp cooked in Worcestershire, mustard and garlic. Fish lovers must have Bacalao – the regional specialty, but you’ve never had cod like this – thick, buttery and flaky, encrusted with bread crumbs that resemble and taste like stuffing flavored by bell peppers.
With 250-400 varieties of grapes (depending on who you ask), the wine is always good in Portugal. You can’t go wrong with even the house table wine, but most wait staff seem to be fairly educated on food and wine pairings. Not familiar with Portuguese brands? Simply, tell them preferred characteristics and they immediately have a suggestion in mind.
Means the “neighborhood” or “barrio”. Here, the food is a reflection of the immediate surroundings; in this case the fish market adjacent to this hidden gem. The staff is extremely passionate and the waiters seem genuinely disappointed if you don’t order their favorites; in fact, they may just bring you some anyway. The roasted tomato puree appetizer mixed with smoky fish is one of the most delicious and unique flavor combinations on the menu.
If you’re looking for elegance, need to entertain clients or celebrate a special occasion, this is the place to do it. Impeccable service complete with white tablecloths and formally dressed waitstaff attending your every need. Stand outs are the tender scallops topped with caviar and the fish stew served family style from a hot iron cauldron. For a more casual experience go at lunch or sit in the bar/lounge chill out space. The welcome spumante is a nice touch that punctuates the overall experiences and makes Salpoente one of the best.