No doubt, Portuguese cuisine served up at little tascas and churrasqueiras is one of the many things we love about the Algarve.
But sometimes Portugal Confidential yearns for something a little more contemporary and cosmopolitan.
Onze Restaurant & Bar
Facing the main plaza of the quaint fishing village of Carvoeiro is a hip, streamlined restaurant bar called Onze. It emanates a bit of glam and glitter among the more traditional dining spots in the town centre.
The minimalist design feels more urban than Algarvian. White walls and tall ceilings in the dining room accentuate the spaciousness. There’s a bar area in the back to hang with friends over cocktails or sit out on the terrace and enjoy the fabulous Carvoeiro beach.
The cuisine is Mediterranean and international. Start with barbecued pork Souvlakia on a stick or flash-fried calamari. Move into filet mignon, lamb chops or tiger prawns. Or, chose a pizza with bresaola or mixed seafood. Do you like truffles? Try the fresh tagliatelle with fine slices of black truffles, porcini mushrooms and French truffle oil. Wow!
Onze is just off the main centre of Carvoeiro. Walk up the Rampa da Sra. da Encarnação. It’s at (no surprise) #11.
Away from the crowds of Old Town and Montechoro, but still in one of the most picturesque spots of Albufeira, is Sétima Onda (Seventh Wave).
This multi-level waterfront venue changes energy throughout the day … but the vibe is always cool. Ocean views dominate the open air ambiance. A massive 400m2 terrace is scattered with lounges to sit, sip a cocktail and enjoy lunch or late afternoon snack.
Upstairs is yet another al fresco deck and the setting for the restaurant. Here, a full menu is available featuring a wide assortment of shellfish and fresh fish, salads, cataplanas and traditional Portuguese prepared meats. Sip on a refreshing cocktail or glass of wine while watching the sunset from elevated views.
The club crowd starts arriving just before midnight. The terrace then transforms into an ultra-chic chill-out lounge.
House and dance music radiates from the bar inside. Nudge your way to the dance floor and move to the beat into the wee hours of the morning. Sétima Onda can be found on Rua Almirante in Albufeira.
You’ve heard of the new Tivoli Victoria Hotel in Vilamoura, right? It opened last year and is perched amidst the Victoria Golf Course. The hotel oozes contemporary design throughout. Not to be overlooked, however, is the Emo gourmet restaurant on the second floor.
Entering Emo is like stepping into a sophisticated dining room in New York or Paris. The modern design has a sophisticated art deco flavour, except with 21st century materials and fixtures.
The room is large and open, yet the table arrangement allows for intimacy with your dinner guests. Floor-to-ceiling windows provide 180º views of the golf course and ocean beyond.
In character with the ambiance, the cuisine is contemporary Portuguese. Indulge in scallop petals or tenderloin of venison to start.
Select from main courses such as red snapper filet and lobster, lamb loin or ox-tail tournedo. Save room for the carob coolant with peanut butter mousse or chestnut cake with cinnamon custard.
According to the hotel, Emo is short for “emotions”. Emo is at the Tivoli Victoria Hotel on Avenida dos Descobrimentos in Vilamoura.
For more information on contemporary cuisine on the coast, visit www.portugalconfidential.com.