A new chef is committed to taking Carvoeiro’s beachside restaurant Pátio and soon-to-open Levels beach bar and grill house to new heights this year.
Both establishments are located at the village’s famous beachside square, boasting magnificent views of the nearby beach.
They are owned by local entrepreneur Sharon Zegers – daughter of the late beloved Carvoeiro businessman Jan Zegers – who spoke to the Resident recently to tell us how “very excited” she is about having new chef Thiago Menezes take charge of the kitchens at Pátio, which is due to reopen on May 22, and Levels, which has its inauguration tentatively scheduled for June 19.
As she explains, Menezes brings with him a wealth of experience at top-class and Michelin-starred restaurants such as Gusto by Heinz Beck, Quinta do Lago, The Fat Duck in Berkshire, UK, and Alinea in Chicago, USA.
“Sometimes things are just meant to be,” Sharon tells us about the process of hiring Chef Thiago.
“He had just left his previous job and wasn’t even actively looking for a new one when we spoke to him,” she says, adding however that they share the same vision for what they believe Pátio and Levels can be.
Although Thiago is helping reshape Pátio’s menu, the restaurant will continue to provide an accessible fine-dining concept inspired by French and Portuguese cuisine.
Meanwhile, Levels will provide a new laidback spot to enjoy a drink or a meal at any time of the day.
Speaking to the Resident, Thiago Menezes says he wants these establishments to set themselves apart from the rest.
“I don’t want Pátio to be just another restaurant. We want to provide an experience of a standard a customer would expect from a Michelin rated restaurant, but at accessible prices,” he tells us.
While the restaurant will continue to serve staples of Portuguese cuisine such as monkfish rice with shrimp and ‘cataplana’ stews, Thiago also has a few surprises up his sleeve.
“We will be serving a Wagyu burger at Levels which will be unlike anything else you can find in the Algarve,” he says.
Using fresh, local produce will also be a defining characteristic of both establishments.
“I won’t use a single frozen ingredient,” says the chef who believes a customer choosing to dine at a restaurant with a sea view should be served only fresh ingredients.
While the concept at Levels will be more laidback, the standards of quality will remain the same, assures Chef Thiago.
The plan is to have Levels become “one of the best spots in Carvoeiro” where visitors can relax, soak in the view and enjoy a light meal, a cocktail and some of the “best coffee around”.
The three-storey beach bar will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner, with a focus on grilled meat and staples such as sandwiches and salads, as well as Hawaiian poke bowls.
“Our goal is to add a special twist to every item, even if it is just a regular club sandwich,” Sharon explains.
At night, a selection of ceviches, oysters and champagne will be served on the bar’s top floor.
While the pandemic has posed unprecedented challenges, Sharon believes that the tide will change soon.
“I am an optimist by nature, and I think people are beginning to appreciate more when things are going well. Before we used to take that for granted,” she said.
Sharon also opened up about the process of taking over some of her father’s businesses after he died in 2019, and how she thinks he would be “really proud” of what she has accomplished so far.
“He would have been devastated by the pandemic. And he would have found many things I am doing now ‘just too much and over the top’. He was more conservative. And he always said: ‘Never change a winning team’. But in the end, he would have been really proud and he would have said: ‘you’re just like me when I was younger. Just like me, you have the vision.’ I can almost hear him saying that,” she told us.
While the process “hasn’t been easy” because Jan “passed away so suddenly” and Sharon wasn’t “prepared or expecting it”, she says she loves Carvoeiro more and more every day and is very thankful for the team of people around her.
Follow Pátio and Levels on Facebook for the latest updates regarding their opening plans.
By Michael Bruxo