Famous for its beautiful beaches, Tavira is often described as one of the prettiest towns in the Algarve, thanks also to its hilltop castle and terracotta-roofed houses. After taking advantage of its long seaside walks and warm-water bathing, you’ll probably be hungry. If so, it’s time to sample the area’s array of culinary specialities, from fresh fish to more hearty meals. Dine on some of the best food and drink in Portugal at these top restaurants.
Set in the heart of Tavira on an avenue favoured by street artists, O Tonel is known for its contemporary Portuguese cuisine and wine list. It’s also great value for money, as portion sizes are large and reasonably priced. A good example is the “steak on a stone”, served raw and left to sear on a pre-heated slab, best enjoyed with the home-made mayonnaise.
At the edge of town, seafood lovers can get a taste of the perfect chargrilled octopus that gave this restaurant its name. Take a seat on the outdoor terrace or head indoors to admire the maritime-inspired decoration. The house menu includes a staggering variety of octopus dishes, from salads to curry, showcasing the chef’s ingenuity. Tables are hard to come by, so be sure to book ahead.
If you’re in the mood for fresh grilled fish, then the Barquinha is definitely worth a visit. This unpretentious little restaurant is right by the river, making it easy to find, and has a calm atmosphere, with a good mix of tourists and locals. The cuisine is simple but effective, serving grilled meats, fish of the day and big salads in generous portions, all for a surprisingly modest price.
Hidden away in a side street, Little India looks like a small cafe from the outside – but don’t judge this book by its cover. A first-class Indian restaurant, it’s the best place in town for a vegetarian meal or a good curry. With great hospitality and perfect mango lassis, this tiny place has grown immensely in popularity. Try to get there early.
This slick gastrobar has made a name for itself with its regionally inspired petiscos and cool atmosphere. The sirloin chop and the tuna tacos are worth a try, alongside the artisan cocktails. Close to Tavira Castle, it occupies a prime location for a post-meal stroll through the Medieval streets.
A small restaurant with only six tables, Tasquinha da Paula has bags of local charm. Aside from the regular menu, Paula, the owner and chef, prepares a special dish daily, and it’s usually the first to go. In case you miss it, don’t hesitate to try the seafood rice. You might have to wait for your food to be served – there’s only a tiny team working at any time – but it’s certainly worth it.
A ten-minute drive from town, with far-reaching views of the protected Ria Formosa lagoon, is where you’ll find Fábrica do Costa. Just take a seat on the restaurant’s spacious terrace and order the razor clam rice – it’s the go-to dish here. Ask the staff for the best wine to match your meal. Note: you can’t make a reservation here, so arrive early.
Looking for somewhere to stay? Book into one of the best hotels in Tavira, or widen your search to the best hotels in the Algarve. Finally, inspire your Algarve itinerary with the top things to see and do in the region.
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