Most travellers pass through Faro, the gateway to southern Portugal, on their way to a beach resort. But savvy travellers will stick around to sample the old town’s rural charm, reasonable prices, buzzing nightlife – and excellent restaurants.
Seafood takes pride of place in Faro’s restaurant scene – after all, the Algarvian town boasts its own prominent fishing harbour. But beyond the usual catch-of-the-day, you’ll find a unique twist on Portuguese cuisine, courtesy of their Arabic history. From hole-in-the-wall eateries to luxurious rooftop restaurants, here are the top places to eat in Faro.
One of the benefits of staying in Faro is how close you are to a perfect beach spot. The Ria Formosa is a series of islands and sandbanks, sprinkled with tiny, isolated communities that were founded on fishing. Faro, with its large harbour, is the gateway to this lagoon – so a boat trip is in order. Cafe Janoca, on the Ilha da Culatra, has a relaxed, beach shack vibe that makes you feel right at home. It serves extremely good-value, simple seafood, as well as fresh-as-it-could-be fish of the day.
Sometimes a full meal isn’t necessary – and 8 Tapas have certainly mastered the art of small plates. You’ll find the venue on a cobbled lane in the old town, and it specialises in artisan cheeses and meats. Don’t miss the marinated anchovy bruschetta with grilled vegetables, or the soft cheese from the city of Serpa, drizzled in honey and topped with walnuts. The impressive wine list alone is worth a visit.
Tucked down a Faro backstreet, this unassuming little osteria is something of a local favourite. It is owned by born-and-raised Italians, and aims to provide authentic and simple food with unexpected flavours. Staff are knowledgeable and passionate, and the ingredients are local and high-quality. You will love the unexpected prawn and pistachio pasta, which should be paired with a Portuguese white from their extensive wine list.
Looking for somewhere to stay? Book into one of the best hotels in Faro now with Culture Trip, or give these top resorts a go. Inspire your Algarve itinerary with the top things to see and do in the region. Don’t miss the top bars in Faro.