For food lovers looking to delve deeper into the culinary delights of the region, dining with the locals is a foolproof way to ensure you are sampling some of the best dishes southern Portugal serves up. From seafood snack bars to snug mountaintop restaurants, here is how to eat inexpensive but delicious food while rubbing shoulders with Algarvios.

Alongside sun-drenched beaches and historical villages, the Algarve region of Portugal is packed with choices for anyone with a passion for simple, lovingly prepared local food.



Start with what the ocean provides. Seafood: clams, oysters, donax clams and cockles cooked on a griddle or in a frying pan are delicious. Some plain barnacles on a beach on the Vicentina coast, razor clam rice, whelk bean stew, clam xerém (stew with maize meal) and seafood açorda (bread casserole) are other examples to make the mouth water.

“Cataplana” is a typical and special dish. It is a big seafood stew served in a metal cataplana cooking pot, and is made for a minimum of two people. The dish includes potatoes, firm white seasonal fish, seafood, peppers, tomatoes, onions and a hint of chilli added to the base sauce.​ You can eat good cataplana at restaurant Ribeiro do Poco in VIla do Bispo  (Rua Ribeira do Poco 11 +351 282639075



Percebes are goose barnacles. They look alarming but have an appealing flavour. Vila do Bispo is the “capital of percebes”.The traditional Portuguese restaurants normally offer a large selection of fish dishes, one of which is almost certain to be grilled sardines, served with boiled potatoes and vegetables or salad. Also commonly on the menu are a range of omelettes, salads and some meat dishes, like thin pork slices served with a creamy mushroom sauce or chicken piri-piri. .The prices are very reasonable, the food is good and the portions are generous.


House wine, which is normally a local Portuguese wine, is also very good value and very drinkable! On average a 2-course meal for 2, including house wine, can cost less than €25. (Soup of the day €1.50, main course €7.00 and a bottle of house wine €8). Obviously prices can vary enormously depending on location.Restaurants have got a lot better in offering vegetarian dishes on the menu (although don't expect to see more than one or two in most places) and vegans unfortunately are still poorly catered for.


You will find the Pastel de nata all over Portugal, but don’t visit the Algarve without having one (or two.) Find a place that serves this creamy custard tart fresh from the oven, as they are so much better served hot. Served with cinnamon and icing sugar, this is one of my favorite foods in Portugal.