Lodo – the Algarve’s new seafood restaurant
A new restaurant, Lodo, has opened in Faro and claims to be the only true ‘marisqueira’ (the Portuguese term for a seafood restaurant) in the Algarve, with 80% of what it serves coming directly from the Ria Formosa estuary.
“There are many restaurants that call themselves ‘marisqueiras’ but also serve fish and meat. At Lodo, the only meat we serve are ‘pregos’ (steak sandwiches), which are often enjoyed after eating the seafood. We don’t serve fish. That was always our concept,” says the restaurant owner Miguel Gião.
The 38-year-old explained that he sought inspiration from the famous Ramiro ‘marisqueira’ in Lisbon which has been going strong for 62 years.
For those who might not know, ‘lodo’ is the Portuguese word for mud or sludge. It is also a term used to describe when someone is extremely busy. It is precisely due to its “double-meaning” that it was chosen as the restaurant’s name.
A Faro native, Miguel Gião started developing the idea for a seafood-only restaurant in 2017 and invested around €300,000 to bring it to life.
“We are lucky to be right next to Ria Formosa and it is the ‘lodo’ that gives us our ingredients,” said Gião.
In the kitchen, the process is as simple as can be.
“We try to leave the food as close to how it is originally. The secret is in how long it is cooked. That is one of the hardest parts in the kitchen, but it makes a huge difference,” says Miguel, adding that his restaurant only uses high-quality ingredients, no sauces and little seasoning.
Quality is, in fact, the word that Miguel believes best describes Lodo.
Apart from the delicious seafood such as clams, mussels, cockles and shrimp that clients can enjoy, Miguel has also introduced the lobster roll, a sandwich native to New England in the US, to the Algarve.
“It is served in a hot dog-style bun with lobster, coleslaw and mayonnaise,” he explains.
There is also xarém, Portugal’s typical corn porridge, served with lobster, as well as a special kind of oyster from the nearby Faro beach.
“They take nearly two years before they can be served, but they stand out for being fat, not at all milky or floury, and when they ‘explode’ in the mouth they taste like the sea.”
The restaurant also has its own sparkling wine, appropriately named Lodo, which is produced by Cave Central da Bairrada. Says Miguel, it pairs very well with seafood and can only be found at Lodo.
For those who enjoy snacking in the afternoon, the restaurant has a Happy Hour, between 3pm and 6pm, during which clients can enjoy a cold beer with an oyster or shrimp for just €2.50.
Lodo is located on the busy Conselheiro Bivar road near the town’s riverside and is open every day between noon and 11pm except on Friday and Saturday when it stays open until 1am.
Original article written by Maria Simiris for Barlavento