Algarve dining for today and tomorrow
WORDS Louise Taylor
As anyone who has spent more than a modicum of time in the Algarve knows, the region is home to some outstanding eateries. From tiny cafés tucked away in crumbling buildings to fine dining restaurants, the region is awash with rich, seasonal flavours that make the most of its local produce.
In addition to its wealth of fish and shellfish, the Algarve is known for its abundance of olives, almonds, carobs, honey, oranges and more. Chef Louis Anjos, based at Al Sud restaurant on the Alvor estuary, believes that the profusion of local ingredients offers a superb opportunity for those serving up regional flavours in the Algarve.
“I feel privileged to be able to look at the Alvor side and to have the best oysters, the best razor clams and clams,” he says. The fish that comes to us from the Lota de Sagres is magnificent and our Algarve prawns are of unparalleled quality, as is our crab from Carrapateira. Other regional specialities include pork and corn from the Monchique mountains, as well as local raspberries and carobs for some stunning, locally focused desserts.”
Al Sud, which is part of the impressive Palmares Ocean Living & Golf resort, made headlines when it gained a Michelin star just seven months after opening. With summer in full bloom, the restaurant is showcasing the Algarve’s sunshine-packed tastes. Tasting menu options include six and nine-moment options, with or without complementary wine pairings from across Portugal, which Chef Anjos refers to as, “a tribute to local culinary traditions.”
Dishes currently on the menu include Dover sole caldeirada, John Dory açorda, Algarve scarlet shrimp with rendered pork belly, wedge clams, rabbit with Monchique black pudding, almonds with local rosemary and honey – flavours that in some cases date back centuries, but with innovative contemporary interpretations that take visitors on a journey of gastronomic exploration.
Of course, any outstanding dining event isn’t solely about the food. It’s about the experience. And the Algarve certainly has plenty to offer there too. Even the humblest of dishes of clams and fresh, crusty bread to soak up the sauce can be elevated to something more when you’re eating them sitting on a terrace, watching the sun go down over the ocean. And what tastes better than a Bola de Berlim (con creme, naturally) savoured on the sand after a dip in the ocean on a long, lazy summer’s day?
Indeed, the wealth of seafront settings available makes a gastronomic tour of the Algarve a joy in itself. It’s a feature that Al Sud certainly makes the most of. With panoramic views of the Bay of Lagos and the Alvor Estuary, the restaurant’s terrace is perfectly positioned for diners wanting to enjoy their meal as the evening sun lights up the ocean. It’s all part of the overall experience, which incorporates more than food alone, as Chef Anjos explains:
“We want to provide a gastronomic experience, but also a cultural one, so that those who visit us can take all this passion with them and remember us for it. It is an experience rich in emotions, in which culinary creation enraptures and delights with every moment of discovery.”
If you plan to spend your summer tasting your way along the Algarve, there are certainly some exciting options open to you. In addition to Al Sud, other Michelin star venues in the region include Gusto by Heinz Beck at Quinta do Lago, Portimão’s Vista, Ocean in Alporchinhos, Willie’s in Vilamoura and Bon Bon in Carvoeiro. Plenty of options to keep foodies happy all summer long.
Please contact Al Sud if you wish to know more or make a reservation:
+351 926 292 617