Facts about Food in the Algarve

Whether you are now on holiday in the Algarve, or you will in the future, Algarve Housing like to inform you about the food in the Algarve Portugal. This article will tell you everything you need to know about the Portuguese food and other food in the Algarve.

Although many exotic ingredients were introduced to Europe by the Portuguese, traditional Portuguese cuisine knows a strong home cooking culture, passing recipes down from generation to generation, with few influences from outside.

The Algarve, with its rolling hills and many valleys overlooking the large coastal line, has clearly developed into two directions: a diversity of dishes with fish and shellfish on the one hand, and a great assortment of meat and game dishes on the other.

Algarve restaurant

If you want to go local, traditional Portuguese food, and eat good value for little money, lower your expectations on the romantic atmosphere and be sure to head to a typical Portuguese restaurant. This means that the t.v will be present in every corner of the restaurant and fluorescent lamps will unkindly light your less appealing features. The food and the bill will compensate.

Traditional food Algarve

Usually, you will get served “couvert” without being asked. Do not be fooled: it is not an act of kindness, it will appear on your bill. Usually, it consists of bread, some olives, cheese and butter, sometimes boiled carrots in garlic and coriander. If you do not wish it, communicate this with a very clear “NO” (in gesture or word), so that it goes back to the kitchen.

These are some of the typical dishes you must give a try:

frango piri piri portugal

Chicken piripiri

Covered in a spicy oil, the chicken is grilled and tastes delicious. Usually comes with salad and fries. Often cheap and good value.


Not to be missed, the grilled sardines, especially on the coast. No one masters the art of grilling them (and eating them on a slice of bread) to perfection as well as the Portuguese. Portions tend to be generous, and as all fish dishes, are served with boiled potatoes and salad.

cataplana food algarve


Cataplanas are brass or copper Algarvean pots shaped like a clam that can close with a lid. In it, they steam cook and serve the most aromatic dishes, often a mix of sausages, shellfish and meat. This is the fine gastronomic Algarvean art at its best. Always served for at least two persons.

Local stews

Absolutely tasty, another fine Portuguese speciality. Jardineira is a beef stew with vegetables, tender and full of flavour. If the menu says “ensopada de javali”, go for it! This wild boar stew served on top of fried bread will not disappoint you. Not advisable if you are on a diet…

suckling pig algarve


Suckling pigs roasted on a spit for 24 hours. That is a true feast meal, and you will often find a suckling pig on many special occasions like baptisms or weddings. Portuguese love it, and so will you!

food algarve


Whether it is the Camarão Portuguesa (prawns) or the Coquilhas a Algarvia or ameijoas (clams), the Portuguese are masters at frying them with onion, lots and lots of garlic, sprinkled with parsley or coriander and served with typical Portuguese fresh bread. Delicious, full stop.


Before dinner, you will see many little bars filled with locals drinking beer and eating “petiscos”, little afternoon snacks. Caracois (snails) are popular, presunto (smoked ham) and cheese also is, and do try the choriço, the spicy sausage.

Other food Algarve

Although Portuguese cannot imagine life without meat or fish, vegetarians can definitely enjoy their soups, there will always be soup on the menu.
Also, due to the rise in tourism, more and more restaurants from the entire world have opened lately, making it easier to find a dish to your liking. More recently, sushi restaurants are popping up everywhere, and they are surprisingly good quality for a very good price, much less than what you might be used to from the north. Most towns these days, have one or more Indian restaurants where you can eat a good curry.

And to accompany all these delicious dishes, nothing beats a good glass of wine, red or white, of which there is a great choice in Portugal for great prices.

You might gain a few kilos on your holidays in the Algarve, because the food Algarve is definitely part of the daily pleasures.
Bon appétit!

This article about food Algarve has brought to you by Algarve Housing, for better holidays in Portugal and quality rental villas Algarve.

Contact me for any further details about the food Algarve and holiday properties Portugal.

Warm regards,
Algarve Housing

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