I arrived in Portugal on March 1st. Just as I got here, the U.S. was easing its restrictions, even in states like my original home, California. Portugal had just gone back into lockdown and remained there until about mid-April when a few things started to open. The first place I ventured, outside of the supermarket and my daily walks around the vineyard, was Silves. I wrote about it here: http://silves-moorish-stronghold-in-the-algarve.
On May 15th, Portugal started admitting non-essential travel from the U.K. and other EU countries. It’s now what back in the U.S. would be Memorial Weekend and I’m finally starting to see people at the beach and in restaurants. I’m down here in the Algarve, the South of Portugal, and what I would consider the “Riviera” of Portugal. So far, I still think that due to the negative COVID test requirements for air travel, most of the tourists I see here probably arrived by car. I am hearing French and Spanish more than UK English, or Dutch/Flemish. But, this has lead to a lot of Portuguese enjoying their beaches and restaurants on the weekends, too! However, I am also in what would be considered a working class town, Portimao, but it has one of the most famous beaches on the Algarve, Praia da Rocha. The places I’ve tried for lunch are just West of Praia da Rocha at Praia dos Três Castelos, or the beach of the three castles. Which three castles they were named after, I’m not sure yet. I picked these, mostly to take in the view, but I’ve been impressed with the overall service and quality of the food I’m getting.
I’ve been trying to chose a couple of places that hadn’t looked that busy compared to some of the restaurants that are below the cliffs right on the beach – although, I will probably go check one of those out, too. Stay tuned for that!
The first place I went to, according to Google Maps, is called “Morang Ice”. Not sure what that means or if it’s even relevant. I had a glass of wine, a salad and a coffee and I was impressed with the freshness of the veggies given that the restaurants/cafes had just been allowed to open. I was expecting them to have things on the menu that would not be available, and, I thought, we are here to be near some people and have a drink with that view, So quality by damned but the quality was good. I spent about 12 Euros here.
Next place sort of reminded me of places in Greece. The structure had that whitewash look with blue trim you see all over the Greek isles. I spent almost 20 Euros here. I had a glass of rose, 2 apps (calamari & bacahlau) and a glass of prosecco to finish things off and hang out. This place is called Cloque ao Mar. The food was not impressive but it wasn’t bad either.
Today, a Saturday, which I picked on purpose knowing there would be more Portuguese about enjoying their day off and eating by the beach with not super crowded restaurants. I went to a place with a little more white glove service. That wasn’t on purpose. I picked it because I knew they had a killer view, the quality of the restaurant was a plus. Again, I keep thinking that these places are just fluff with no substance but they prove me wrong. I had a 1/2 bottle of wine here that was pretty impressive and they had a cooler thing they put on it which gained a point or two on my quality scale. I had some very nice tuna pate and clams in garlic, butter and herbs and finished if off with a nice cup of coffee. This one was a splurge at 25 Euros total including tip.
I am still on a budget and don’t go out more than once or twice a week so when I do, I do it well!
Follow me to my next adventure to the Benagil Cave.
The exchange at the time of this post is $1 is about 1.22 Euros, so add 20% to the prices I’m quoting and that’s the rough equivalent of the dollar price.