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Lisbon/Algarve fun for the whole family

skimsogood Aug 19, 2013 03:14 PM

Hi all,

We are visiting Lisbon and Algarve (Castro Marim as our home base) for 9 days in mid-September. We are a couple from NY in our30s traveling with my parents (60s) and a sibling (20s). I'm not necessarily looking for restaurant recs as I'm sure there are tons in the search results, but I'd like to know: other than the pastel de nata and bacalao, what are some dishes that we MUST eat while we're there? Also, do you typically need to make reservations or can you walk in to most places?

Thank you... and I'm very sorry if there is a similar post already that I should look at. The search function on CHOW is turning up server errors for me.

  1. monchique Aug 20, 2013 05:37 AM

    Strange place to chose as a home base... You'll be closer to Sevilla than to Lisbon!
    Plenty of good fish restaurants around Tavira: "Costa" in Fabrica on the ria de Tavira and for upmarket the fantastic restaurant of the Monte Rei Golf club, Michelin star level.
    You want to eat clams (ameijoas) under all forms and recipes and the Algarvian speciality called a "cataplana" from the name of the cooking vessel. Generally a mixture of pork and clams,it comes in many variations.
    In the Algarve, no to pasteis de nata, but plenty of regional sweets made of figs, almonds or carob and of course the "doce branco" made of marzipan in shape of flowers or fruits.
    Go across the border to Spain at least to Ayamonte or as far as Sevilla to explore the tapas bars. Not sure you will have time to get to Lisbon!

    3 Replies
    1. re: monchique
      skimsogood Aug 20, 2013 05:50 AM

      Hi Monchique, just realized my sentence was misleading! We are in Lisbon for 4 days in the Bairro Alta area and then our home base in Algarve is in Castro Marim. Anything we should eat in Lisboa? Thank you so much in advance!!

      1. re: skimsogood
        monchique Aug 20, 2013 06:21 AM

        Now it makes sense. Even then, Castro Marim would not be my first choice, unless you wanted to play golf...
        However I forgot to mention Mertola, North of Castro Marim on the Guadiana. Worth the visit and you might find some "lampreia" (lamprey eel) although the season is April / May. Lamb is v. good around there, and the little cheeses fantastic.
        Lisbon is a big cosmopolitan city... of course try the "Pasteis de Belem" and concentrate on fish, grilled sardines in particular. Generally avoid beef in Portugal unless it say "Mirandesa". But pork, lamb and kid stew are always good.

        1. re: skimsogood
          barberinibee Aug 22, 2013 11:59 PM

          The roasted chicken at Bom Jardim in Lisbon is so tasty, and in such a delightful setting, I recommend that you not miss it. On a weekend night, I might make a reservation.

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