The Best Restaurants in Portimão, Portugal

Praia da Rocha beach is home to the delicious Dolce Vita restaurant
Praia da Rocha beach is home to the delicious Dolce Vita restaurant | © Pawel Kazmierczak / Alamy Stock Photo
Francisco Henriques

If you plan on visiting Portimão, you’ve probably been drawn to the long coastline and wide beaches. But make sure not to miss out on its surprising restaurant scene, which is not entirely centred around the beachfront. Best known for its grilled sardines, the Algarve city is sure to please your palate – read on to discover the restaurants that will make your days here even more joyful.

1. Café Brasil

Restaurant, Seafood

Delicious Mediterranean seafood soup with a variety of mixed
© Damkier Media Group / Alamy Stock Photo

Right in the middle of the old town’s pedestrian district is Café Brasil, a lesser-known seafood restaurant. This charming cafe, with a small outdoor area and pleasant atmosphere, is the place to go for locally sourced meals. The house favorite is the clam and razor clam mixed stew, but feel free to ask the owner Sousa what’s fresh. He won’t let you down.

2. Charneco

Restaurant, Portuguese

A little outside the city – but well worth the 15-minute drive – this award-winning tavern with a 25-year history is a local institution. The menu is set, so you shouldn’t be too picky, but rest assured that all dishes are tasty and fresh. The chef’s daily menu is always inspired by what he finds at the local morning market, so you can’t possibly go wrong.

3. O Caniço

Restaurant, Portuguese

Praia tres irmaos - Beautiful coast of Algarve - Portugal
© Simon Dannhauer / Alamy Stock Photo

Atop the multi-toned cliffs of the sandy Praia dos Três Irmãos is this well-known restaurant, treasured for its closeness to the sea and premium service. The surprises start with the lift, which takes you up through the cliff to the restaurant, hovering above the picturesque cove. Do try the local meat and fish stew, an absolute must.

4. La Dolce Vita

Restaurant, Italian

Pearl barley mushroom risotto on wooden table, closeup view, selective focus
© Vladislav Nosick / Alamy Stock Photo

Tired of eating local food? Then head over to the city’s most prominent pizza house, just off Praia da Rocha. There are plenty of options, including risottos and artisanal pastas, but we recommend the restaurant’s namesake pizza, prepared from scratch to perfection. There’s usually a line at the door, so it’s best to make a reservation.

5. U Venâncio

Restaurant, Portuguese

Marina de Portimao on Algarve in southern Portugal
© Val Thoermer / Alamy Stock Photo

The secret to grilled fish is its freshness, as much as the skill of those who cook it. Few are more skilled than the family behind this breezy restaurant by the old fishing harbour. The catch of the day sits there on display and, depending on what’s available, you can find everything from mackerel to golden bream, grilled to perfection and accompanied by well-seasoned potatoes.

6. Marisqueira Carvi

Restaurant, Portuguese

With a carefully curated Portuguese wine list and a hefty reputation, Carvi remains the best option in the city for a fine seafood meal. To be savoured in a tiled dining room with rows of white-linen tables, the incredible mussels are particularly noteworthy, and so are the grilled prawns, all prepared by the owner’s wife in the semi-open kitchen.

7. O Ténis

Restaurant, Portuguese

Sardines grilled on a stick.. Image shot 04/2013. Exact date unknown.

Found inside the local tennis club, this no-frills restaurant is a local favourite for grilled sardines – the city’s most famous dish, available only between June and September. Well-prepared on the grill, with the flesh cooked but still firm and full of juice, be sure to accompany your meal with an Algarve salad of raw onion, oregano and juicy tomato.

8. Taberna da Maré

Restaurant, Portuguese

Hidden at the edge of the old town is a small courtyard shared by some of the city’s best restaurants, including the Taberna da Maré. In this historic venue, decorated with countless photos of another era and with vintage wine flasks to match, the food is typical of the coastline and well worth trying. Highlights include the marinated mackerel, followed by fried ray and a refreshing tomato salad.

You’ll need a lie down after dining in these eateries – discover hotels in Praia da Rocha, now bookable via Culture Trip. Then, why not head around the coast to Albufeira, where you’ll find a range of things to do, or Faro, where you’ll be able to continue indulging in some of the best bars in town. Finally, rest your head in one of Faro’s top hotels.

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