"They also directed us to some wonderfully located local beach restaurants, though sadly the food never matched the quality of dinner at Casa Rosada" guest review on Tripadvisor
Getting to know the staff of local restaurants can always be a help when making reservations on behalf of clients.A voice recognised at the end of the telephone I always think will make for a better service, and possibly a better table on arrival.
Most recently we selected two very different restaurants to try out in the company of friends.I say very different when I refer to style, but both establishments had two common denominators,phenomenal service,and a strong sense of nostalgia or saudade.
Restaurante Chaminé, Altura
The cover was excellent ,with a variety of breads, pate and special starters.The buttery sheeps cheese Monte da Vinha,served at room temperature with a spoon was especially good.For our mains I ordered the lamb cutlets in mint sauce, which were excellent, though looked over jealously at the fat veal steaks and lamb stew that my companions had ordered.
The food was well presented in a quaint old fashioned style and accompanied by a very good comprehensive wine list.A Chamine obviously has a great reputation, and I am loathe to be too critical of this place. It is very charming, and the staff are excellent and go out of their way to please you.The restaurant has been representative for Porrtuguese and Algarvian food in competitions abroad.Chef Feliciano has won several prizes in contests and gastronomic competitions among them the most recent"The golden cataplana"
|Mariza with Chef Feliciano|
A Chaminé is a well run,familiar and typical Algarvian restaurant. Not trendy, but very much a family friendly place.
Av. 24 de Junho, 8950-411 Altura Phone +351281950100
Restaurante Gilao, Tavira
Tudo azul,blue winter skies, warm sunshine and the
perfect time and place to find a table for a langourous lunch
Our second choice of establishment to check out was a classic and for me a very successful example of the Algarve re-inventing itself.
This restaurant shies away from the obvious, the easy and predictable, and instead brings surprises to the table that are clever takes on some of the most genuine and traditional of Algarvian gastronomy.This was more than a surprise, an example that should be followed for boldness and originality.We have very strong memories,(the Portuguese would call it saudade)of the old working market on the riverfront in Tavira.Alas the market closed and moved to a more modern location.Someone somewhere had the brainwave of injecting new life into the traditional markets of Portugal. Old buildings full of history have been reborn all over the country with creative and innovative restoration proposals for a change of use as restaurants.
In Tavira, right next to the Gilão River,the old Mercado de ribeira has a new restaurant, born from the ashes of a former family snack bar. The name derives from the neighbouring river and also designates the origin of many of the dishes they serve.The menu is extensive but in no way touristic and Gilao needs to be returned to several times to be able to sample the full potential of their menu.the layout spreads over three distinct spaces all displaying traces of this redefined modernity.
|before the lunchtime rush|
The menu features the fantastic creations of chef Cecilia Paixão. Challenged by owner Ângela Botelho, she has built a menu highlighting the best of Algarvian produce from fish and seafood to mountain food.There is very little I would not want to try on this amazing menu.Its like a dream shopping trip, trying on different clothes and not knowing when to stop.
There is so much to discover here in this whim of re-invention.There is something for everyone ,so does one opt for the à la carte service or let yourself be tempted to try the surprising range of tapas? Who said tapas dont work in the Algarve? Paixão has proved it does and pitched at an audience that wants value for money.
There is a delicious baked camembert with raspberries (€ 4.50)(oh so Avillez!!!!)
The Pianinhos (baby pork ribs)in the oven in honey and mustard (€ 4.50) are a temptation, as well as the Skewered octopus on fried tomato toast (€ 6).
In all there are more than 20 tapas proposals for snacking and sharing with friends. Throughout the menu Alentejan influences pop up in the guise of a Migas of farinheira and egg with coriander and parmesan chips (€ 7). Shrimp,in piri-piri sauce and aged brandy (€ 11) puts a brilliant modern twist on the famous Taviran dish, Piri piri prawns with whisky and lemon
Local classics are also featured in the cockle stew with Xarém (€ 6), the stew of mussels in tomato sauce (€ 7).Another of my favourites, Raia alhada and mussels (€ 23), and the Bulhão Pato clams. If the idea is to share, lose yourself in the bold flavours of the Cataplana for two people, or choose between two more Alentejan classics, black pig cheeks and clams (€ 26),or the octopus with Aljezur sweet potatoes and black pudding (€ 26 ), pork tenderloins with grapes and sweet potatoes,where Paixão once again shows a brilliant conjugation of flavours.The Sweet potato is from Aljezur,its uniqueness geographically protected by the European Union.Signature dishes abound exhibiting Paixão´s creativity.You can spend as much or as little as you want at Gilão,you can mix and match and share and share alike from spicy chicken wings, garlic sauce and chili pepper at just (€ 3) or you can push the prawn out defying your purse strings and order the seafood in brandy sauce and coriander (€ 40)
Coming back down to earth with the phenomenal and daring Carré of lamb sealed in mango and rosemary sauce (€ 16).In a clear reference to the sea and the Algarve, allow yourself be tempted by the Robalo da costa escalado na grelha, batata a murro e manteiga de alho (€14) (butterflied sea bass on the grill, with punched potatoes and garlic butter (€ 14)
or my all time favourite, Polvo a lagareiro com batatas a murro (€13).Oh and I nearly forgot to mention the red velvet cake being given a rightful showing.
Tavira, has always had a rich, intelligent cuisine,but what one discovers at Gilão are some peculiar but very modern ways of using the most common foods.Set in a land of traditions and history, Tavira knows how to line your stomach to the full. For me, dare I say it, is one of the best destinations for sampling Algarve gastronomy.
Vamos voltar...até breve
Rua do Cais, Mercado da Ribeira, Loja 2A 8800-218 Phone: 281 322 050