Best foods and dishes of the Algarve region – fish and traditional Portuguese cuisine

Bacalhau, ©MR Conguito/Flickr

Bacalhau, ©MR Conguito/Flickr

Food is always an essential and important part of a holiday and the further you go from home the harder is to be satisfied unless you like foreign cuisine and like to experiment and try new tastes. Along the coastlines of the Algarve there are several kinds of bars and restaurants offering you plenty of fish and seafood at reasonable prices.

No matter if you are a vegetarian or a meat eater, Algarve offers all kinds of dishes, starters, main courses and delicious deserts. There are many restaurants which serve traditional Portuguese preparations but if you prefer to stick with your own taste there are plenty of dining places which most certainly will be appealing to you.

Sea food and international cuisine

The coastline of the Algarve region is about 200 kilometers long, which means that many of the traditional foods in the area is made of fish and other creatures of the sea. Lots of dishes have as ingredients tuna, monkfish, sardines, clams, octopus, squid, cod, prawns and oysters which sometimes are served with vegetables, salad or boiled potatoes. As it was mentioned the Algarve offers food preparations not only from the local menu but has all kinds of foods such as Indian, English, Chinese, Thai, Italian, Mexican and others and of course let’s not forget about our vegetarian friends either.

Cataplana de Marisco, ©Cayetano/Flickr

Cataplana de Marisco, ©Cayetano/Flickr

“Entradas” in other words: starters

In many traditional Portuguese restaurants couvert is served as a starter, a dish prepared of olives, sardine paté, fresh bread, carrots and cheese. All this is marinated in olive oil, spices and garlic then lightly being cooked and served. Other dishes can be served as starters such as seafood dishes, prawns or different kinds of soups.

Entrada, ©julianrod/Flickr

Entrada, ©julianrod/Flickr

“Pratos” aka main courses

Many of the local main courses in the Algarve region are based around seafood or fish. Several fish preparations are served with chips and salad. Go extreme and try new tastes such as swordfish, red mullet or stone bass. Other traditional Portuguese specialties include Bacalhau that is dried salt-cod, which can be prepared in about 365 different ways; “frango” alias chicken dishes prepared with hot chili pepper, barbeque sauce and others; “feijoada” is made of pork, sausage and bacon; while “cataplana” is a dish prepared from clams. Try one of the mixes of fish or seafood with herbs, wine, tomatoes and garlic. You can also have wild boar, hare, beef and many others. Don’t hesitate to challenge your tastebuds!

Bacalhau, ©MR Conguito/Flickr

Bacalhau, ©MR Conguito/Flickr

Best for last: desserts – “Sobremesas”

The Portuguese can prepare excellent desserts and pastries! In the Algarve region the most popular of them are the creamy custard tarts, créme caramel and the almond tart. As almonds, honey and figs can be richly found in Algarve there are several deserts prepared using these ingredients. Treat yourself with one of the finest deserts of the Portuguese or if on a diet, you can choose a freshly prepared fruit salad which also makes a fine desert.

A custard tart, ©oatsy40/Flickr

A custard tart, ©oatsy40/Flickr

Leave a Reply