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Suggestions around Zambujeira do Mar

t
tjdnewyork Jun 27, 2010 04:06 AM

Staying in Zambujeira for a few days. Saw a suggestion for Gabriel down by Aljezur and we'll probably check that out. Also saw suggestions further inland and further south and southwest. Any recs closer to the Zambujeira area? Thanks.

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  1. monchique RE: tjdnewyork Jun 27, 2010 02:48 PM

    How did you land in Zambujeira??? Closest I have been is Maria Vinagre where one used to be able to buy lobsters at the market... "Chefe Dimas", just North of Aljezur on the Lisbon road is good... Sitio do Rio in Carrapateira also.

    7 Replies
    1. re: monchique
      l
      LeRique RE: monchique Jun 28, 2010 03:07 AM

      Monchique, Zambujeirra is a lovely, rather un spoiled little seaside village that you should check out, not much of a food scene from my experience, but really beautiful surrounded by some vineyards I went a couple of times last winter and it was very sleepy, I am sure its more lively this time of year

      1. re: LeRique
        monchique RE: LeRique Jun 28, 2010 06:23 AM

        I have been there before, not in Summer, but it is hardly a capital city and not that easy to discover! Of course there is the Sudoeste festival in August when it gets too lively...

        1. re: monchique
          l
          LeRique RE: monchique Jun 28, 2010 06:45 AM

          I can only imagine! I only discovered it by accident much like Odeceixe. The entire southwest coast is a delight full of gems. I wonder how long before it gets overdeveloped. Have you been to A Charette lately, I love that restaurant.

          1. re: LeRique
            monchique RE: LeRique Jun 28, 2010 09:37 AM

            Fortunately teh building laws are drastic on the West coast, nothing can be built within the protected "Vicentina" area. Had dinner at Charette last week, and it was just as good as usual. On the road to Foia, a good one at the moment is "O Luar" about 2 kms from Monchique on the left (in front of "Teresinha").
            The long back road from Maria Vinagre to Monchique via Foz do Farelo is really pretty if you feel adventurous... Return via Marmelete and Aljezur is easier.

      2. re: monchique
        t
        tjdnewyork RE: monchique Jun 28, 2010 10:08 AM

        Explored up in Aljezur direction today. Met some friends at Chefe Dimas restaurant in Aljezur, and unfortunately had a bad welcome to the Algarve after Alentejo.

        The older guy working showed us what was in the refrigerator case and recommended a Robalho. I asked how much per kg, and he said it was just a plate on the menu, so whatever price was on the menu. We ordered clams, fish stew for two, and the robalho, along with wine petiscos, etc.

        Main food was okay, fish was decent but looked smaller and different than the one he had showed us and said he would prepare, but I may be wrong about that.

        First bad experience was that the sauce on the Molotofo tasted distinctly of petrol. Really strong and weird taste. I told the younger waiter, he took it back, and then came out and said "You're right, something is wrong with that, it tastes like gasoline." He wasn't sure what it was but offered to bring us one without sauce. Was nice about it.

        When we got the bill there was a charge for 2 plates of robalho at 13 each, so 26. BUt we had only gotten one robalho. I told the young guy and he looked at it and I followed him inside to talk with the other person. He said to the woman in Portuguese what I'd said to him, and at first she said, but it was for two people. I said no, it was one plate, with one fish. Finally she said to him in Portuguese, okay charge them twenty. No way I'm paying for two fish when we've had one. After two weeks in Portugal, splitting plates many times, I know a plate is a plate, especially when we've already ordered more than four dishes for four.

        So he calls the old guy waiter, who is, I hate to say it, a real thief, at least towards foreigners. I could see that the young guy knew the old guy was full of it, but he couldn't say anything. The old guy was really aggressive, obnoxious and unpleasant--the first time I encountered this kind of extreme shysterish behavior in Portugal.

        Then I said we'd resolve it by calling the police, as the police would surely know that a plate is a plate. So the guy backs down and takes off the charge. He is really a thief and I recommend that you do not patronize this place wherever you are from. I hate this kind of behavior, really leaves a bad taste in your mouth. Sorry to say it, but happy to be back in Alentejo after that.

        1. re: tjdnewyork
          monchique RE: tjdnewyork Jun 28, 2010 11:05 AM

          Unfortunate you've been taken for a ride by the waiters twice in a week (both in Porto & Aljezur). By the way, you don't need to call the cops, just ask for the "Livro de reclamações". If they refuse to produce it, then call the cops! But again, I would not expect either to pay only 13 Euros for a sea bass (robalo) anywhere in Portugal, however small it is...

          1. re: monchique
            t
            tjdnewyork RE: monchique Jun 28, 2010 11:52 AM

            Yeah, what are you going to do? We're very obvious foreigners (my girlfriend is Asian)...

            The price for the robalo was really clear on the menu, where it was only listed once, as a plate for 13 euros, not by kg at all. I specifically thought this might happen when he showed us the display case, which was why I confirmed the price on the menu with him before placing the order.

            Anyway, the fight adds to the excitement of the trip--and these guys have picked the wrong tourist because I'm willing to fight this kind of stuff. People try this kind of stuff all the time, in my home (New York) as well. I can't tell you how many times I've spotted extra charges by vigilantly examining the bill. The difference at Chefe Dimas was the guy tried to fight about it after he got caught.

            Despite a couple of obvious shysters, my overall impression has been exceedingly positive here.

            My usual observation when traveling and eating is that the biggest cities are where you typically get treated the most fairly, as long as you go outside of the most touristic areas. In Lisbon even though there are a lot of tourists, they are overall a very small percentage of the total population. Whereas in the south...much more and therefore exploiting them becomes profitable. At a place like the one I mentioned in Porto, because foreigners are a strong part of the customer base, the same may be true. But eating in small local places in the Sao Bento section of Lisbon we never had this kind of experience.

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