Praia da Luz & The Algarve Information

Praia da Luz Guide

Portuguese Gastronomy
Luz Holiday Information

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Portuguese Food Notes -

Portuguese Food & Drink

Portuguese FoodThis page contains small sample of Portuguese Gastronomy. Whilst these days it is easy to get 'international' dishes almost anywhere in Portugal, do take time to try some of Portugal's own offerings. You are pretty much guaranteed to find something to remember. Consider a table outside a cafe on a beach front, a few fresh sardines, maybe a bit of local cheese and some crusty bread together with a bottle of 'local' wine and glorious sunshine........

In the Algarve it is easy to find a good meal even in some small village restaurants. Even the smallest bar normally offers various dishes, not surprisingly a lot are fish related.

 Dining Tip :  Look out for the prato do dia ( dish of the day ), probably on a blackboard outside or inside the restaurant or better still just ask if there is one. It will usually be the 'best value' on the menu.

Some useful general terms:
'Churrasqueira' (or 'Churrasco') serves chicken and meat specialities.
'Marisqueira' is a specialist for seafood.
'Pastelaria' does cakes, deserts and sweet things.
'Gelataria' is basically an ice cream parlour.


Before each meal

Fresh crusty bread, olives, garlic carrots and / or tins / dishes of sardine pate. Seriously tempting nibbles whilst you await your meal. However, they are not free but an optional extra.
 Dining Tip :  You will normally be charged for them unless you make it clear you do not want them.

Appetisers ( Entradas )

Shellfish is, like most everywhere these days, is getting very expensive in the Algarve. Cockles, (Small) Clams and Mussels are the most reasonable, for anything else ask before ordering as prices will normally be adjusted according to availability.
 Dining Tip :  Any prices you see will generally be quoting per kilogram, this includes fish. If you are like me who cannot guess the weight of anything, you may end up paying more than you thought, so again don't hesitate to ask. Having said that most restaurants are pretty good and will volunteer the price without being asked.



Ovo Maionese

Egg Mayonnaise

Ovos com Fiambre

Eggs with Ham

Ovos Mexidos

Scrambled Eggs

Salada de Atum

Tuna / Corn Salad

Milho com Atum

Tuna with corn

Patê de Atum

Tuna Paste

Caracóis à Algarvia


Santola recheada

Dressed crab



Cocktail de Camarão 2 stars

Shrimps Cocktail - generally fresh not frozen and a better presentation than anything you get at home.

Omelete de Camarão 2 stars

Shrimps Omelette


Smoked ham

Melão com Presunto

Melon with Smoked Ham

Chouriço assada

Grilled pepper/garlic sausage

Meijoas 2 stars

Clams - The Alvor clams are perfection.

Amêijoas na Cataplana

Clams Cataplana

Cataplana. Served in a traditional brass pan ( hence the name Cataplana ). It is a mixture of clams, pork, spices, garlic, onions, tomatoes and white wine.

Soup ( Sopa )

 Dining Tip :  Soup in Portugal is generally served tepid / lukewarm, so don't assume it is just bad service. If you prefer it to be hot ask for it 'Bem quente' ( pronounced 'beng kent' ).

Caldo Verde

Soup made with kale


Chicken broth

Creme de Camarão

Cream of Prawn

Sopa de Conquilhas

Shellfish soup

Sopa de Peixe

Fish soup

Sopa Transmontana

'Soup from across the mountains' is made from white cabbage, potatoes, turnip, carrots and may contain some pork meat.

Sopa de Ervilhas

Just Pea soup.

Sopa de Legumes

Vegetable soup.

Sopa de Campo

'Farmers Soup', from radishes, carrots, celery and garlic.


Basically a chicken broth. Rice and ham are common ingredients.

Sopa de Agriões

Watercress and potato soup.

Sopa de Pedra

'Stone Soup'. The soup is prepared from lettuce, egg, onion, and lots of garlic. Watch out it as it does have the traditional small stone is placed in the soup.

Salad ( Salada ) & Ingredients

Most everything will be accompanied by a 'basic' salad even roast dinners. Normally consisting of tomato, lettuce and occasionally grated carrot.

Salada de Tomate

Tomato salad

Salada Mista

Mixed salad











Meat ( Carne ) - Main Courses ( Pratos )

Like all European countries there is a preference for meat to be served rarer than you would expect at home ( U.K.). So make sure you emphasise how you would like yours served.



Carne de porco com Amêijoas

Pork and Clams - If you have tried this in nearby Alvor you'll not bother elsewhere. 2 stars

Carne de Porco à Alentejana

Fried cubes of pork and cockles cooked together with a tomatoes and onion sauce.

Carne de Porco à Alentejana

Pork with Clams Alentejo Style.

Lombo de Porco de Monção

Pork from the oven with chestnuts.

Lombo de Porco Assado

Pork Loin Roasted.

Costeletas de Porco

Pork Chops.

Febras de Porco

Pork Fillet.

Entrocosto de Porco

Pork Ribs.

Leitão Assado / Bairrada

Roast suckling pig.


Pork (Spit roasted).


Thick slices of bacon (Gammon).


Black Beans, Meat / Sausage Hotpot.

Favas à Algarvia

Broad beans, Meat / Sausage Hotpot.

Bife à Frigideira

This is a rump steak with a thick slice of gammon ham on top, fried in a earthenware oval dish with a slice of bread.

Cozido à Portuguesa

This is a meat stew (without the liquid) made from the beef shin (other meats can be used),  boiled white cabbage, carrots, turnips, smoked sausage and rice.

Empadinhas de Castelo Branco

These are meat pies with various meat content with onions and white wine.

Ensopada de Borrego

Spicy  fried pieces of saddle of lamb, onion and garlic sauce,  with slices of bread covered in the sauce.

Espetada de Lombinho

Lamb on the Spit.

Cataplana de Carne

 Meat Hotpot.

Espetada de Carne

Grilled Meat on the spit.

Bife a Portuguesa

Steak Portuguese Style.

Bife de Vaca



Roast Beef.

Carne assada

Roast Beef.

Cabrito assado

Roast Goat (kid)

Bife do Lombo com Pimenta

Pepper steak

Sanduíche de steak

Steak sandwich.



Vitela com Amêndoas

Veal with almonds.

Vitela Assada

Veal from the oven.

Vitela Estufada

Veal Stew.

Costeletas de Vitela

Veal Chops.

Bife de Avestruz

Ostrich Steak.

Poultry / Game - Main Courses ( Pratos )

Frango Piri Piri

Also called Chicken Piri Piri. Chicken gilled on charcoal while basted with a special mixture prepared differently by each chef. The essential ingredient is the hot piri piri sauce and the chicken must be served straight from the grill. Normally chipped potatoes and salad accompany it. Can be very hot, spicy or plenty of chillies.
 Dining Tip :  Bottled Piri Piri dressing ( you put on yourself ) on chicken is not 'considered real' Piri Piri as it is not normally as 'fiery' as 'home made'.

Frango Assada

Grilled Chicken.

Frango napucara

Chicken casserole.

Arroz de Pato

Strips of roasted duck mixed with rice and roasted again in the oven.

Faisão Estufado

Stewed marinated pheasant in brandy and wine.

Faisão no Forno

Oven cooked Pheasant.



Bife de Peru

Thick slices or steak of turkey fried with garlic and served with chipped potatoes and side salad.

Pato Bravo

Wild Duck.

Arroz de Pato

Roast Duck mixed with rice

Coelho à Minhota

Rabbit  marinated for 24 hours and then fried in small sections. Served with a tomato based sauce.

Javali Estufado

Wild Boar Stew.

Churrasco de Javali

Grilled Wild Boar.

Carne de Veado

Loin of Venison.

Fish ( Peixe ) & Shellfish - Main Courses ( Pratos )

Cheapest are Sardines and they bear no resemblance to tinned U.K. offerings! Tuna, Swordfish and the Dourada bream are pretty much boneless, Locally caught Sole, Bass, Red Mullet and various types of Sea Bream are the bony ones.
 Dining Tip :  Any prices you see will generally be quoting per kilogram, this includes fish. If you are like me who cannot guess the weight of anything, you may end up paying more than you thought, so again don't hesitate to ask. Having said that most restaurants are pretty good and will volunteer the price without being asked.

Recheado à Algarvia

Cod Fish Algarve style.

Bifes de Atum com Tomate

Tuna Fish and tomatoes.

Atum Grelhado

Grilled Tuna.

Pescada assada à Algarvia

Whiting Fish.

Lulas cheias

Squid stuffed with cured meats and rice.

Lulas Recheadas

Another variation on the above.

Arroz de Polvo

Octopus and Rice.

Cataplana Algarvia

A variety of Fish with Rice.

Ameijoas na cataplana

Steamed clams with spicy sausage and onions.3 stars

Cataplana. Served in a traditional brass pan, it is a mixture of clams, pork, spices, garlic, onions, tomatoes and white wine.

Arroz de Peixe

Fish and Rice.

Açorda à Algarvia

Bread and Shellfish.


A fish stew - cooked with a fish of your choice.

Arroz de Lingueirão

Shellfish and rice.

Bacalhau Assado ou Cozido

Boiled or Roasted Codfish.

Bacalhau à Braz

Codfish with potatoes and eggs.



Lagosta / Lavagante


Lagosta Grelhada

Grilled Lobster.

Lagosta ao Natural

Fresh Lobster.


Langoustine (scampi).

Mexilhões / Percebes







Large Crab.

Linguado Grelhado

Grilled Sole.

Carapaus Alimados

Boiled Mackerel.

Douradas na Brasa

Grilled gold Bream.

Gorazinhos Grelhado

Grilled small Sea-Breams.


Red Mullet.



Salmão Grelhado

Grilled Salmon.


Sea Bass.

Massada de Peixe

Small Sea Basses on Charcoal.





Peixe Espada Grelhado

Grilled Swordfish.

Lulas Recheadas

Stuffed Squid.

Lulas Grelhadas

Grilled Squid.

Arroz de Polvo

Octopus with Rice

Camarão Cozido

Boiled shrimps.


Large Shrimps. 3 stars

Camarão Tigre Grelhado

Grilled Tiger shrimps. 2 stars
The Sardines must be tried, preferably caught the same day and cooked on an open grill. Perhaps not something you would normally go for back home, but try them at least once whilst visiting Portugal, you will soon realise why they are so popular.
Shrimps / Prawns come in 3 sizes, first the well-known shrimp (Camarão) then the Gamba, which is considerably bigger, and third and largest the "Camarão Tigre", Tiger Shrimp. Prices do reflect the availability.

Desserts - ( Sobremesas )

The Portuguese are very fond of their "Doces" which means "Sweets", and that covers it perfectly, all cakes, tarts and custards are highly sugared. A lot of restaurants have their Doces da Casa, homemade sweets. Widely served are the Puddings/Mousses, Ice cream, Fruit or a Fruit Salad.

Bolinhos de Amêndoa

Almond cakes.


Almonds, Figs, Eggs & Sugar (Very rich!)

Dom Rodrigo

Almonds, Egg & Cinnamon.

Mousse de Amêndoa

Almond Mousse.

Bolos à Fatia

Cake (Slice).

Pudim Flan

Caramel pudding.

Leite Creme

Cream custard.

Mousse de Chocolate

Chocolate Mousse.

Morgado de Figos

Fig and Marzipan.

Fruta da Época

Fruit (Seasonal).

Salada de Frutas

Fruit Salad.


Ice Cream.



Ananás ao Natural

Pineapple (Fresh).

Arroz Doce

Rice Pudding.


Bica Pingada / Pingo

A small black coffee with a drop of hot milk..


A small black coffee served in a tea-sized cup usually served with whipped cream or with machine frothed milk.


More hot milk than coffee in a tumbler glass.


Coffee with some hot frothed milk in a tea-sized cup.

Café com Leite Apart / Serviço de Café

Coffee with hot milk to add in a tea-sized cup.

Bica, Expresso, Café

Small black coffee - served in a small cup. 2 stars

Italiana / Bica Curto

Small black coffee with less water.


Small black coffee from a Cimbalin Coffee Machine.

Carioca / Bica Fraca

Small weaker coffee.

Bica Dupla

Double black coffee in a cup. ( recommended after midnight ).

Cheese ( Queijo )

You don't really associate cheese with Portugal, but the country has a fair range to offer. Probably the main difference is that whilst some are made from cows milk the majority are made of goat and / or ewe's milk. This tends to give them pretty pungent smells and strong flavours which is not everyone's choice. The Portuguese also tend toward using a natural ( the thistle plant ) instead of animal based rennet. Though Cheese is not particularly prominent in traditional Portuguese cooking it is appearing more in those restaurants that serve a more 'international' styled menu. When served it is normally eaten as separate course during a meal. However, don't let it stop you from eating it 'U.K.' style, at the end of your meal together with a glass of port.

( Queijo ) Serra da Estrela
One of the oldest and probably the best-known Portuguese cheese. Soft and creamy when young and firming up as it matures. A strong smell ( ewe's milk ) with a slightly sweet, burnt fruity taste. Hand made in small batches using ewe's milk with cardoon thistle used instead of the normal rennet. Made during the winter months in the mountain region of Serra da Estrela. Recommend a spicy red with this one.

de Serpa
Made from sheep's milk and comes from the Alentejo region. A pale yellow creamy cheese with a strong scent with a slightly sweet and spicy flavour. No animal based rennet used.

de Castelo Branco
A very pale yellow, soft, but not creamy cheese Produced in the Beiras region. Made from either goat’s milk or ewe’s milk it has an intense aroma and a strong spicy flavour.

Made from sheep's milk and comes from the North Central Portugal. Starting as soft, gooey and mild to a firmer chewier texture with age. A direct relation to the Serra da Estrela above.

de Castelo Branco
A very pale yellow, soft, but not creamy cheese Produced in the Beiras region. Made from either goat’s milk or ewe’s milk it has an intense aroma and a strong spicy flavour.

Sao Jorge
Queijo Sao Jorge comes from the Azores. A traditional cheese made from un-pasteurized cow's milk. Firm, aged, yellow in colour, with a strong spicy with peppery undertones.

Made from ewe`s milk, sometimes mixed with goat`s milk. Best eaten soft or semi-hard. A pungent smell with a strong flavour. From the regions of Ansião and Penela.

de Niza
A ewe’s milk cheese from the Alentejo. A yellow, semi-soft texture with small holes. Strong flavoured and perhaps a little acidic. Thistle used instead of animal rennet.

Made from Un-pasteurized sheep's milk in the Beira Baixa region. Ranges from semi soft to firm, a yelowish paste with small irregular holes, made with animal rennet. Definitely an acquired taste, with an extremely pungent smell and a very strong flavour. Another one for a spicy red accompaniment.

de Bica
A good 'all-rounder' Philadelphia style. A blend of cow’s milk goat’s and sheep's milk. Quite mild and smooth textured with a slightly salty butter flavour. Will appeal to the 'casual' cheese eater.

An un-pasteurized cheese made from ewe’s milk, with thistle instead of animal rennet. A smooth, creamy soft cheese, a slightly sour flavour with a hint of herbs.

de Terrincho
A straw coloured ewe’s milk cheese. Soft, smooth with a rye flavour.

Beers / Spirits

Local Spirit:

Medronho A strong, jenever like spirit. Made from the red berries of the arbutus shrub. It does vary and any you find in properly labelled bottles is not nearly a good as 'local supplies'. Treat with respect as it is a bit of a killer!

Local Liqueur:

Amarquinha is an Almond liquor, usually taken as a desert 'wine'.


Portuguese beers ( Cerveja ) are good. The most popular of the major brands is Superbock with Sagres close behind. Superbok is the smoother of the two, whilst Sagres has a drier taste ( a little bit like Stella ). Both brands also have a dark beer. Targus is more of a locally drunk beer, which whilst I don't rate as in the same league as the previous two is quite popular where served. San Miguel ( Spanish ) is now more widely available and is rapidly gaining in popularity.


Strongbow is probably the most common. Magners Cider ( Irish ) is also popular in most bars ( especially the Irish ones ) as is of course is Guinness.
'Off Licences' and supermarkets have a wide variety of international beers.


Port is a fortified wine; the wine has had grape brandy added to it after a couple of days' fermentation. 80% wine 20% brandy.

  • Tinto ( red ) - dark, sweet and the cheapest, made from a blend of wines of lesser quality.
  • Tinto Aloirado ( ruby red ) - dark, sweet and the cheapest, made from a blend of wines of lesser quality.
  • Aloirado ( tawny )
  • Branco ( white ) not so well-known outside Portugal. Excellent when chilled.
  • Seco (dry) makes a good aperitif.
  • Doce (sweet) a good alternative to the more usual dessert wines.
  • Vintage Character Port ( a cheaper version of Vintage Port )
  • Quinta (wine estate)
  • Colheita (tawny port, cask-aged for 7 years or more)


Other than Medronho mentioned above there are no other 'local' spirits produced on the Algarve ( perhaps with the exception of Brandymel ). Most international spirits are widely available but despite generous measures ( compared with the U.K.) they are quite pricey.

Wines ( Vinhos )

There are four major wine regions in the Algarve, these are Lagoa, Lagos, Portimão and Tavira. Lagoa is the probably the most important. The regions produce about 6 million litres annually between them, mainly red wine but also white and rosé.
The red wines are fruity and the whites are reasonably dry, both though are pretty high in alcohol content. The quality of the Algarve's wines is said not to be as high as that of wines produced in other regions of Portugal, but I've found them more than drinkable.
With prices from 3 to 6 Euros for a 'nice' bottle from the supermarkets and about ten Euros in the restaurants you can't really go wrong.
Make sure you try the restaurant's 'house' wines if you have no preference, you may be pleasantly surprised.
The top wines are those with the description 'reserva a garrafeira' on the label. Expect to pay more for these wines and those of vintage quality.

Lagoa (DOC)

This region covers the municipalities of both Albufeira and Lagoa. The soft sandy soil and warm climate provides a rich distinct flavour. The red wines are ruby-coloured which develop with age and are easy to drink. The white wine is soft and full-bodied. Both red and white have high alcohol content.

Lagos (DOC)

This region covers the municipalities of Aljezur, Lagos and Sagres. The red wine is smooth and fruity with low acidity level. The white wine is lemon-straw in colour and tends to be full-bodied.

Portimão (DOC)

The red wine is light, smooth with low acidity and high alcohol content. The white wine is straw-coloured with a soft and rich aromatic flavour.

Tavira (DOC)

This region covers the municipalities of Castro Marim, Faro, Olhão, São Brás de Alportel, Tavira and Vila Real de Santo António (i.e, Eastern Algarve). The red wine is soft, pale-coloured and with a fruity aroma. The white wine is straw-coloured, smooth and full-bodied.

Vinho Branco - White wine
Vinho da casa - House wine
Vinho clarete - Light red wine
Vinho doce - Sweet wine
Vinho espumante - Sparkling wine
Vinho do Porto - Port wine
Vinho da região - Local wine
Vinho seco - Dry wine
Vinho verde - "Green" wine (semi-sparkling acidic wine)