You can’t be acknowledged as one of the best restaurants in a city as bustling as Albufeira unless you’re doing something right, and Restaurante Dom Carlos does little wrong. A husband-and-wife operation, this restaurant can often be seen packed to the gills on a weekend evening but as long as customers reserve in advance they can expect a real treat. Offering a popular five-course evening meal at €49 alongside a broad selection of wines, this is Portuguese fine dining at its best.
The winner of a 2014 Best Newcomer award from the prestigious Boa Cama Boa Mesa panel, Alquimia is a modern fine dining experience integrated into the upmarket Epic Sana Algarve Hotel. Open to hotel guests and outsiders alike, the restaurant has an intimate ambiance and a classy feel. Its menu includes gourmet twists on a broad range of meat, fish and seafood favourites, from cod and beef to lobster and foie gras.
A traditional family-run venue, the Restaurante Três Palmeiras does it all. It’s the perfect place to try some Portuguese favourites like rabbit stew, or Algarve specialities like rich cataplan-cooked seafood stews. The restaurant caters to families with its children’s menu and as well as offering vegetarian alternatives. A little way off from the tourist-trap restaurants of the central area, Três Palmeiras is a great chance to experience Michelin-listed Portuguese cuisine at reasonable prices.
In 2014, Vila Joya was rated 22nd on a list of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants, the only Portuguese restaurant to make the list. Run by double Michelin Star-winning Austrian chef Dieter Koschina and the seat of an annual gourmet food festival, Vila Joya is an exclusive smart dining experience, just don’t make the mistake of popping in without a prior reservation.
The view from Castelo do Mar is nothing short of spectacular. Situated on a hill overlooking the harbor in an old renovated building on the outskirts of the town, its the perfect place to savour both the Albufeira scenery and sample fresh local cuisine. The restaurant serves Portuguese cuisine with a couple of British and European favourites thrown in for good measure.
Eurasia is one of Albufeira’s few restaurants that caters exclusively for vegetarian and vegan diners. As the name suggests, the interior and cuisine brings together Asian and international influences, though still making space for some reliable Portuguese dishes. Operating a good-value buffet system, the restaurant is the perfect place for a fresh and slightly different kind of lunch.
The Restaurante Veneza shows real pride in its Portuguese and Algarvian cuisine, offering a fine range of options either à la carte or as a set menu or platter. The establishment’s most extraordinary feature is its vast and varied wine cellars, containing over one thousand wines as well as a selection of champagnes and spirits. Alongside a lively calendar of tastings and events, the cellar makes the restaurant a favourite with Portugal’s many wine connoisseurs.
Tucked away outside the packed city center lies O Lusitano, an excellent and authentic Portuguese restaurant which has picked up a great reputation for its first-rate service and honest renderings of Iberian classics. With warm service from owners Pedro and Carlos, O Lusitano is the perfect spot for a relaxing evening away from the noise and hustle of central Albufeira. Dig into some Portuguese favorites like the mixed-meat alheira sausage, that you may not find elsewhere.