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Sagres, Portimao, Albufeira, and Faro: Need Simple Recommendations

My wife and 12 year old son will be driving around in June. We love style, but dislike pretense. Any authentic, cool suggestions?

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  1. @ Taiga,

    I will leave most of this for Monchique, however here are some Faro recommendations. I must admit the city is not my favorite, however I sometimes work with colleagues there and have enjoyed the following places:

    Faz Gostos
    Faro e Benfica
    O Vinhão
    República
    Adega Nova
    Palhaçinho
    A Madrugada

    I'm sure some of these have websites and the above are a mix of traditional, non-pretentious, and a mix of traditional, homestyle, and places with good wine lists.

    Boa Viagem!

    1. I dare say I have not eaten in Faro itself for at least 10 years! However there are 2 nice restaurants on Faro Island (just off the airport), namely Camane and O Costa,both fit your request.

      What I would suggest is you start by looking at http://www.essential-portugal.com/ then select the Esserntial Algarve, and go to there restaurant guide at the bottom cormer of the page. It is written by a friend of mine and is the most accurate and comprehensive review you will find of the Algarve restaurant scene... I agree with his opinion on most, but not all of the restaurants. So ask me also!

      How long will you be in the Algarv

      12 Replies
      1. re: monchique

        After 6 nights in the Algarve, we will drive to Coimbra, Guimaraes, then into Galicia to Santiago de Compostela, A Coruna, Ribadeo, and Portonovo, then back to Porto, Valenca do Douro, Viseu, and Lisboa -- 25 nights in whole. I've been reading posts by each of you, but any suggestions for simple authentic recs will be appreciated. My son is a typical Miami boy -- basketball and chicken.

        1. re: taiga

          @ Taiga

          Here are some recommendations for simple and authentic food

          In Lisboa:

          A Granja Velha (Baixa) Unpretentous food; great for lunch
          Bonjardim (Baixa/Restauradores) Best known for the Roasted Chicken
          Esquina da Fé (São José) Excellent, simple, rustic cuisine
          Pitéu (Graça) Excellent regional Portuguese food; large portions
          Churrasco da Graça (Graça) Grilled food, excellent fish, chicken, etc. Cash only
          Forninho Saloio (São José) Grilled specialties; chicken, fish, steak, rabbit

          Porto:

          Casa Aleixo - An unpretentious Portuense tradition; excellent seafood
          Restaurante Abadia do Porto - Portuense cuisine, huge portions

          Coimbra:

          A Taberna - Excellent food from the region; the veal and goat are classics not to be missed.

          Let me know if you have any questions as there are tons of suggestions for Lisboa where I reside.

          Sorte!

          1. re: taiga

            My last post was cut... I was asking haw long and where you were staying, so that I can be more specific.
            I am a great fan of chicken piri piri on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, after which it becomes boring...
            There are 2 main places to eat chicken in the Algarve: One is Monchique, the best place being "A Rampa" on the Foia road. Rampa is mentioned in the latest edition of Conde Nast Traveller magazine (May 2011) in an article about the "authentic" Algarve. It should still be OK when you get there...
            The other one is Guia, near Albufeira, best place "O Rei dos Frangos", horribly touristy...
            However, every local restaurant in the Algarve has a BBQ where they cook most things from sardines to chicken to steacks (normally tough). Best choice is pork, preferably black pig (porco preto) which comes in many different cuts. If you find "segredos de porco preto" go for it.

            1. re: monchique

              To each of you, a hearty thanks.

              1. re: taiga

                Two more questions: How about funky, cheap eats and classic bakeries/confiterias?

                1. re: taiga

                  Every tasca or restaurant will have a "prato do dia" (dish of the day) of which a "meia-dose" (1/2 portion) will probably be enough to feed you.You are looking there at 6 or 7 Euros for a meal. Otherwise a "tosta mista" (ham and cheese toast) or a "bifana" (pork steak sandwich) make a perfect quick lunch...
                  Pastelerias (cake shops) are all over the place. Just walk in and point at what you want in the counter, and sit down with a coffea (bica or cafe com leite) or a tea (cha) to enjoy it.
                  Bakeries have virtually disappeared as such, bread nowadays comes mostly from the supermarket.

                  1. re: monchique

                    @ taiga

                    Here are some confeitarias/pastelarias in Lisbon to try:

                    Suiça (Rossio/Praça da Figueira)

                    Confeitaria Nacional (Praça da Figueira)

                    Pombal (Avenida da Liberdade)

                    Pastelaria Estrela da Graça (Graça)
                    Nicola (Rossio)

                    Pastelaria Pão de Canela (Praça das Flores)

                    Pastelaria 1800 (Rato)

                    Cheap and Cheerful Restaurants in Lisboa:

                    Bonjardim

                    Churrasco da Graça

                    Pitéu

                    Cervejaria Jaguar

                    Borges

                    Estrela Morena

                    A Granja Velha

                    Boa Viagem!

                    1. re: vinhotinto75

                      My wife is somewhat refined, but all this stuff is right up my son and my alley. Thanks so much to both of you great resources!

                      1. re: taiga

                        Hey -- how about Silves, Evora, and Coimbra?

                        1. re: taiga

                          For Evora, amoongst many other posts, look at http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/642199 still mostly accurate, and also do a quick search on this forum.
                          Silves has the best fish & shellfish restaurant in the Algarve: "Rui's" just behind the market. Try to sit in the front room with the locals. "Ponte Romana" is not bad either,but more for meat dishes.

                          1. re: monchique

                            Just returned from Portugal, and just wanted to thank both Vinhotinto and Monchique. We loved so many things, and had wonderful meals and pastries all over. We especially loved both Rui's and Dom Joachim.

                            1. re: taiga

                              Thank you Taiga; Portugal is a lovely and friendly country, I am glad you enjoyed it and hope you will tell your friends!