Travel & Tourism The food of Portugal’s Algarve region may conjure up images of piri-piri chicken and easygoing fast food, but the area is fast building a reputation for fine dining. There are more Michelin stars on show here than you might expect, so read on for our guide to some of the best food you’ll ever taste on luxury golf breaks. Algarve cuisine features an abundance of fresh produce, providing chefs a lot to work with – and that’s without even mentioning the high-quality wines.
Ocean Restaurant The only restaurant in the area with 2 Michelin stars, Ocean is attached to the luxurious Vila Vita Parc Resort. It’s an intimate, classically decorated building with a wonderful view overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and the resort gardens. In the kitchen, chef Hans Neumer (Portuguese chef of the year 2009) and his team bring a modern twist to fresh, seasonal Algarve produce. Willie’s Restaurant Don’t let the low-key name fool you: with a Michelin star every year since 2006, Willie’s is a real institution. Chef Wilhelm (Willie) is one of the region’s best-known chefs, and the friendly, experienced staff are as good with a quick quip as they are with a wine list. There’s every reason to indulge on golf breaks: Algarve flavours add real character to classical cuisine.
Restaurant Henrique Leis A little way out of the Vale do Lobo and Quinta da Lago resorts, Henrique Leis has held a Michelin star for nearly two decades. Both lunch and dinner are served here, and there’s a clear French influence on every item on the menu, with a cooking style that aims to highlight the best of each individual ingredient. Though the area may be best known for golf breaks, the Algarve’s strong showing in restaurants such as this one might leave you keen to come back just to sample the stunning food. Sao Gabriel Sao Gabriel is also close to Vale do Lobo and Quinta da Lago, but it offers a markedly different experience to the other restaurants on this list.
Far from the classic ambience evident elsewhere, Sao Gabriel is almost rustic. It is located in an old villa with luscious gardens filled with birds of paradise and exotic plants. All this makes for truly extraordinary al fresco dining, and an experience that’ll make your holiday one to remember. What’s more, Sao Gabriel also offers wine by the glass, with an experienced sommelier on hand to make the best recommendations to complement your meal. If you are accustomed to indulging in some fine dining on your golf breaks, Algarve cuisine will surely not disappoint.
This list is by no means exhaustive, and the region’s ongoing boom is likely to see more and more world-class eateries pop up in the near future. Author Plate Steve Frewin is the Managing Director of A Golfing Experience, a company with more than 29 years’ experience organising bespoke golf holidays and escapes throughout Europe for individuals, societies and groups. If you’re looking for truly great golf breaks, Algarve courses are some of the best in the world.
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