It's no secret that Portugal has some of the best beaches, dessert wines, and custard tarts (also known as pasteis de nata) in the world. The southern Algarve region, in particular, is known for its stunning coastal views and picturesque fishing towns. And luckily for foodies, the Algarve has no shortage of amazing food options.
Portugal is famous for its seafood, especially grilled sardines and salt cod, and the Algarve offers some of the best Portuguese food around. The region is home to 8 Michelin-starred restaurants—more than any other region of Portugal. Even if you prefer more low-key dining options, the Algarve will not disappoint.
If you're planning to visit the Algarve, you also have the option of joining a guided food tour to learn more about traditional Portuguese culture and cooking all while enjoying delicious produce and traditional dishes.
Here is everywhere you should be eating during your next stay in the Algarve!
Ocean Restaurant by Chef Hans Neuner is an award-winning restaurant boasting 2 Michelin stars and gourmet tasting menus that change monthly. It is located at the Vila Vita Parc Resort in Porches, about midway between Albufeira and Portimao, and offers diners breathtaking views of the sea amidst elegant ocean-inspired decor.
The restaurant uses the highest-quality local ingredients, including fresh seafood and fish sourced daily from the Algarve coast. Neuner expertly crafts the dishes, showcasing his creativity by pairing interesting ingredients and finishing them off with a flawless presentation. Ocean also includes an impressive wine list that pairs beautifully with its dishes and provides a substitute vegetarian tasting menu for guests upon request. It is highly recommended that you reserve in advance, as this restaurant typically books up quickly.
Gourmet Natural is an Uruguayan steakhouse that prides itself on its use of high-quality and natural ingredients. Its beef is imported from Uruguay, always grass-fed and antibiotic-free, and perfectly paired with specialty side dishes. Unlike Ocean, which has a preset tasting menu, Gourmet Natural offers a myriad of options, all of which are fresh and delicious, so you can't go wrong!
The restaurant features an intimate setting including a courtyard with a beautiful garden for when the weather permits, which in the Algarve is most of the time.
This spot is especially pleasant for a relaxing dinner on a summer evening, and the traditional Algarve villa melds nicely with the South American decorative flair to create a unique ambiance throughout the space. You can also watch as the meats are expertly grilled in the courtyard on the open-air grill, called a parrilla, by Uruguayan chefs.
While Gourmet Natural may not be top of the list if you're looking to try traditional Portuguese food, it is one of the best restaurants in the region and is sure to serve up an unforgettable experience.
The next of several Michelin-starred restaurants on this list is Gusto by Heinz Beck—who has 3 Michelin stars himself. Located in Almancil, Gusto is the signature restaurant of the Conrad Algarve luxury resort. It features a 5-course tasting menu as well as a la carte menu options and, of course, exquisite wines to top it all off.
The open kitchen design makes the restaurant feel lively and exciting, allowing you to watch the chefs as they skillfully prepare the meals. Gusto provides a warm and inviting atmosphere and is the perfect place to enjoy a special dinner. You can also try Gusto as part of a more extensive Michelin food tour including stops at other starred establishments in the region for a particularly memorable culinary experience.
As if there weren't enough amazing restaurant options in the Loulé region of the Algarve, Henrique Leis is another Michelin-starred restaurant with sprawling views of the countryside and the water. The menu offers the choice between an 8-course tasting menu and a la carte options, with dishes rooted in traditional cuisine and incorporating French influences. You'll find an extensive wine list to complement the food, including selections not only from Portugal but all over the world.
Henrique Leis offers a personal touch to his restaurant by displaying his artwork in the dining rooms. The restaurant features a unique setup with two dining rooms, one dining room for winter dining, including a cozy fireplace and warm colors, and another bright room for summer dining including a lovely terrace with a fantastic sea view.
With Algarve born chef Leonel Pereira at the helm, award-winning and Michelin-starred restaurant São Gabriel serves up inventive dishes inspired by traditional Algarve flavors. The restaurant is located in a charming farmhouse with a garden terrace ideal for outdoor dining in the spring and summer.
São Gabriel features both a gourmet dinner menu and two tasting menus, one featuring seafood as the star and the other focusing on international cuisine. It also offers a special lunch tasting menu on Sundays, which offers a great opportunity to try the world-renowned cuisine at an affordable price.
Albufeira is one of the most touristy areas of the Algarve, and as such, it can sometimes be difficult to avoid tourist traps and resist the temptation to sit down at the closest and most convenient spot. If you're looking for authentic Portuguese food away from the busy city center, rest assured that Adega Dom Pipas will exceed your expectations. It is tucked away on a side street but is well worth the visit for traditional fare and charm.
The restaurant is family-run, which shows in its warm hospitality and friendly service. The interior is cozy and makes for a relaxed atmosphere, perfect for a leisurely lunch when you need a break from exploring and sightseeing. Some highlights from the menu include the grilled sea bass and piri-piri chicken, which are further enhanced when accompanied by the house Portuguese white wine.
If you find yourself in Faro, be sure to make it to Outro Lado for a meal. This is another fairly new restaurant that focuses on sustainability and plant-based, organic ingredients. It is open for both lunch and dinner, with the menu changing regularly depending on the produce that's available. This makes for extremely fresh and innovative dishes ranging from Asian-inspired fare to traditional European favorites that will please vegans and omnivores alike.
Outro Lado offers a calm and inviting atmosphere, perfect as a respite from the crowds and heat of Faro. There is a wide range of menu options, including cheesecakes and ice creams for dessert. And of course, wine recommendations are provided upon request and complement the food wonderfully.
Sagres is a small town located on the western tip of the Algarve coast and is home to the modern and hip Three Little Birds Cafe. This cafe serves up typical barbecue dishes such as slow-cooked ribs, offers several vegetarian options, and adds a Portuguese twist to items like its piri-piri chicken burgers. Everything is made from scratch, and the quality is noticeable in the taste of the food.
The atmosphere is very relaxed and laid-back, and during the summer you can experience various live music performances. Three Litte Birds also features an impressive drink menu including 20 craft beers and several cocktails.
Alfarroba Cafe is a relatively new spot in Albufeira, featuring homemade vegan fare and a terrace for al fresco dining. The main dish options change every day, depending on the freshest local ingredients available. The menu is relatively limited, but you can't go wrong with any of the items as everything is delicious. There are also several dessert options for a sweet treat following your meal.
Alfarroba Cafe gives you the option to take away food if you're looking for a quick bite to eat before you get back to your day, but the cafe also provides books and art exhibitions, making it a good spot to relax and stay awhile. You are sure to feel welcomed by the friendly staff and you won't break the bank as the food options are very affordable.
Jardim Das Oliveiras is a bit off the beaten track as compared to the rest of the recommendations on this list, located away from the sea and up in the mountains of the Monchique region. The restaurant serves traditional Portuguese food in a rustic setting, surrounded by eucalyptus and olive trees. It is open for lunch and dinner, and the outdoor seating overlooking the garden provides the ideal spot for relaxing and savoring the food.
Jardim Das Oliveiras is sure to provide a unique dining experience full of hearty and warming dishes, especially if you have not yet ventured away from the sea towns. For a taste of the local cuisine, try the Monchique sausage and the wild boar. The restaurant also serves the traditional Monchique cake bolo tacho for dessert if you still have room!
The food scene in the Algarve rivals that in cities like Lisbon and Porto and should not be overlooked when traveling through Portugal. Whether you're looking for the finest Michelin-star dining experience or prefer to eat at more simple or traditional locales, the Algarve has all you could want and more. Bom apetite!