MasterChef Australia ex-judge and host Matt Preston enjoyed a seven-day holiday in the Algarve last summer, during which he frequently posted photos of his culinary experiences on his Instagram page. Now, the 59-year-old British food critic has chosen the Algarve’s quaint fishing village of Fuseta as his number one place to eat in the world, ahead of New York, Lima (Peru), Mexico City and San Sebástian (Spain).
“The Algarve experience ranges from high rises, golf courses and squawking English tourists of Albufeira to my preference, little fishing towns to the east of Faro where the Portuguese holiday in summer,” Preston wrote in Australia’s Escape magazine.
“The boats still go out from slightly daggy towns like Olhão, Fuseta and Tavira, fishing the cold local waters and down to the coast of Africa. This means the sardines and dorado at Olhão’s little fish market shine and glisten with freshness,” he said.
“It’s not just local restaurants that benefit but also the streetside grills around the quays. Grilling fish over coals is a passion here and these casual pop-ups with their plastic tables, chairs and paper napkins do solely that – and they do it impeccably whether it’s local turbot, tuna or calamari.
The cravat-wearing TV personality also highlighted how the fish arrives at the table dressed with “little more than some crushed garlic and oil, and is served with boiled potatoes and the simplest of tomato salads with dried oregano”.
“Best was the linguardo (sic), the local sole, with a flesh so delicate, pale and just cooked that it slipped off the bone,” said Preston.
On a closing note, he added that “the next best bit was the bill at Café dos Mestres (Rua 1 de Maio, 29, Fuseta); under $100 for a whole fat turbot, half a dozen sardines and that sole, along with drinks, dessert and the backdrop of fishing boats bobbing at anchor in the channel behind us.”