Algarve’s Food Guide: The local specialities

Algarve is very well known for its’ natural beauty and amazing weather, but the local food is still a treasure to be found. The region’s traditional cuisine presents itself a whole other world inside the Portuguese culinary traditions, benefiting from the geographical position of the region formed by three distinct zones: mountain range, barrocal and coastline, the local gastronomy has different influences and food with unique features. Simple but rich, Algarve’s cuisine is unmatchable.

In this guide, we present you some of the local foods that are part of Algarve’s gastronomical culture, and that you won’t want to miss out on, during your next holidays.


Xarém, also known as cornmeal porridge, is a typical dish from Olhão, although it’s eaten all around in Algarve, from the seaside to the mountains. . Usually, it’s always eaten with bivalves from Ria Formosa, but the most famous varieties are the Xarém with clams or shells.

Don’t fool yourself thinking there’s nothing new to try here, this cornmeal porridge is unlike anything you’re had before, hence why this one of the most sought specialities of the region.

Where to find it? Restaurant Hábito, in Faro.


It’s impossible to resist the famous cataplana. The secret to this dish resides in the arab utensil where it’s made, which gave the name ‘Cataplana’ to this recipe, and that it’s able to retain and fuse unique tastes and scents. Different recipes have been created throughout time, like Clams in Cataplana, so it’s best to embrace the traditions and try it.

Where to find it? Restaurant Adega TiCosta, in Albufeira.


Octopus salad is extremely famous in Portugal, especially in Algarve, where it’s imperative at the table. Known for its’ rich taste and freshness, this salad combines octopus and traditional aromatic herbs, and it’s capable of converting even the biggest sceptical to its enchantments. A true delight.

Where to find it? Restaurant O Retiro, in Boliqueime.


This dish represents the unknown countryside of Algarve. In other times, stews were fundamental to the population’s diet in the countryside, since they were so simple to make and cheap, however, these stews were reinvented and rediscovered and remain part of the traditional table to this day. The cabbages, the meats and sausages are the stars of this dish, the real comfort food, that reminds us of the good old grandma’s homemade food.

Where to find it? Restaurante A Charrette, em Monchique.


Fish Soup is a very traditional dish in our country, predominantly in Algarve, due to the abundance and richness of fish. Algarve’s style Fish Soup is just one of the many variations there are of the original recipe, an excellent combination of flavours with an ocean scent that can only be described as a true delight.

Where to find it? Restaurant O Caixote, in Olhos de Água, Albufeira.

The best of Algarve is served at the table, whether it’s at a simple seafront café or at a fine dining restaurant. Do not miss out on what is done best here.

Algarve waits for you!



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