The East Algarve, ( the old, real part of Portugal ) is impressively managing to establish itself on the international culinary scene, and despite the area continuing to increase in popularity for visitors, local restaurants remain proud to showcase the very best traditional regional dishes to devoted foodies. Salty or spicy grilled meats, fuss free seafood and hearty family stews await hungry travellers in the Algarve.Alongside sun-drenched beaches and historical villages, the East Algarve is packed with choices for anyone with a passion for simple, lovingly prepared local food.
But for food lovers looking to delve deeper into the culinary delights
of the region, dining with the locals is a foolproof way to ensure you
are sampling some of the best dishes south eastern Portugal serves up. From beach bars to remote hilltop restaurants, here is how to eat
inexpensive but delicious food while rubbing shoulders with Algarvians.A fine example of where travellers, expats,nomads, wanderers, ramblers and locals alike is found just 500 yards from our house.A Tasca Medieval is a traditional tavern with a more than welcoming pleasant and informal atmosphere.The friendliness and professionalism in the reception you are given are a constant.The cook ,her husband, their son and her dog are what make this place somewhere to nurture, Ligia,Antonio, Gonçalo and Milka are the role model family business, exhibiting great service, especially when compared to some other restaurants on the Algarve coastline.Donna Ligia is
excellent cook with a contagious smile that you just can´t but love. A truly lovely
family, good home made food and that one unforgettable starter that
they always remember I like so I dont even have to order it, I have
christened it Salada Ligia.
On our last visit I quietly whispered across the table to the thespian that our Pork secretos were missing their signature fried egg sitting atop. Not to be outdone in his professionalism, in a matter of minutes Gonçalo, Ligia´s son appeared bearing a platter with two of the most perfectly fried eggs I have ever seen.Given the incredibly busy nature of the restaurant his friendliness is exceptional.
This is a fabulous restaurant which is
well used by locals for their lunch.
I have noticed recently some of Ligia´s lunchtime specials " polvo lagereiro" "Lingua de vaca no forno", to mention just two of my Portuguese all time favourites. Service aside,this brings me to "THE cataplana".This can be pre-ordered but if you dont know or forget or just decide on a whim that you "feel like cataplana tonight"you will be told that it will be a 40 minute wait.Well whats 40 minutes when you are out of an evening? Whilst you wait there are plenty of other delicious distractions in the form of fresh bread and butter,sardine paste,grilled morcela sausage and of course Salada Ligia,a delicious dish of queijo fresco (fresh
goat's or sheep's cheese) covered by sliced tomatoes and garnished with dried oregano and olive oil.Oh how time flies when you are enjoying yourselves.This more than keeps me happy while I wait and the Thespian pops out for a fag break.Well there should be a fanfare of trumpets to announce the arrival of the cataplana,a huge
sharing dish full of prawns, langoustines, crab claws, green lipped mussels,clams, crayfish,tomato, onion, green pepper in a delicious broth -
FAN-bloody TASTIC!For small eaters,myself excluded, the dish that is portioned for two to share has the possibility of stretching to three...No sir, not while I'm around, Demons are prowling everywhere nowadays,I'll send them howling, I don't care..." Obviously this is a fiddly dish to eat and I have omitted the first part of the ritual which is the applying of the bib so you don´t get bits of seafood dripping down the front of your new Dona Karan.Delicious and at €25 for two people is a steal. Much better value than the more popular hot spots along the
coast where you can expect to pay double that.
I love you guys and I can't praise you enough!The cooking
of the dishes they serve and the wine list are at the level of many good
restaurants in the capital.This is traditional food extremely well made with emphasis on regional products. The price is spot on.We are so proud to have you here in Castro Marim,"My friends" Keep us a table Antonio,we know you are now so busy mas não estamos acostumados a fazer uma reserva!!!