Gastronomy of the Algarve

17 March 2023
Gastronomy of the Algarve

It is one of the most famous and appreciated cuisines in Portugal and is full of Mediterranean flavors. These are the best typical dishes of the Algarve.


From the sea comes the freshest fish and seafood, the main ingredients in the Algarve's cuisine. They are joined by vegetables and fruits to which the sun has sublimated the flavors, and the elements are gathered for a gastronomic experience that we will not forget. 

And we can start with what the ocean provides. For the seafood: clams, oysters, clams and cockles that are delicious when cooked on the griddle or in the pan. Some natural barnacles on a beach on the Vicentine Coast, razor clam rice, whelk feijoada, clam xerém and seafood açorda are other mouth-watering examples. Much sought after is the famous recipe for clams in the cataplana, one of the most appreciated traditional dishes, whose secret lies in the use of this copper container, of Arab origin, which retains all the flavor and aroma of the food cooked in it. To accentuate the palates, there is nothing better than a little salt from the salt pans of the region, especially their "cream" – the fleur de sel. In addition to the many restaurants where you can taste these specialties, in the summer there are seafood festivals in Olhão and Faro, very close to the Ria Formosa, where it is more abundant. 

But any fresh fish, slow-grilled over charcoal in the manner of the fishermen, can be a true delicacy of the gods. And there are other dishes, such as horse mackerel and grilled sardines that are eaten everywhere, but are famous in Portimão. It is delicious dripping on bread or accompanied with a mountain salad, made with tomatoes to which oregano adds a special taste. From the steak or tuna stupeto from Tavira, to the octopus, which in Santa Luzia is enjoyed in different ways - stewed in wine, breaded, grilled, with rice or simply roasted in the oven -, to the delicious squid and cuttlefish, the Algarve excels in these menus. 

In the Barrocal, a transition area between the mountains and the coast, the diet is different by consuming more meats, such as cherry chicken, chickpea stew, or sausages that in São Brás de Alportel and Querença have fair and party honors. Here agriculture is one of the main activities, and the trees, which bear the indispensable fruits in the manufacture of traditional liqueurs and sweets, add a singular beauty to the fields when they are in bloom, with the almond tree in February being one of the emblematic images of the Algarve. 

 Whether oranges are consumed raw or in juice, almonds, figs and carob are used in the confection of the much-loved sweets. Such as the dom rodrigo that is presented wrapped in colored tin sheets, or the morgado, usually decorated with regional motifs and almond blossom, and the marzipan, the hard almond dough dumplings that reproduce the most diverse fruits and vegetables. And there are other specialties not to be missed, such as the stuffed figs, or the fig cheeses and truffles. On the other hand, arbutus or fig brandy and bitter almond liqueur are excellent digestives at the end of a good meal.


In fact, the best of the Algarve is served at the table. On a simple beach terrace or in the most exquisite restaurants led by world-class Chefs, it is an experience not to be missed, and to be repeated many times!

In the regional foods of the Algarve, fish and Mediterranean flavors prevail, as it could not be otherwise. The quality of the ingredients is essential for the final result. The dishes are light and fresh, adapted to the high temperatures of this region and made with the typical products that the sea and land provide.


In addition to all this, there is also the influence of Arabic cuisine, even in the name of some of the typical dishes. Although many centuries have passed since the presence of this people in these parts, the flavors and spices still refer to those times

by: Gastronomy of the Algarve |

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