Caneiros beach, between Carvoeiro and Ferragudo, is home to a unique destination for great food and luxury accommodation.
When it opened in the mid-1970s, Rei das Praias beach restaurant was a humble and rustic affair. But even back then, founder David da Encarnação Martinho and his family had their sights set firmly on positioning their restaurant as one of the best. The name Rei das Praias (king of the beaches) was not chosen in vain, and over the decades that followed, as the Algarve developed as a tourism destination, Martinho and his son Luís, who has since taken over the reins, have strived to keep their beach destination one step ahead of the game.
In 2011 they first opened their small boutique hotel, just a short walk from the beach, which reopened for this season in February, after the latest stage of refurbishment works. Today Caneiros Luxury House & Suites offers 18 luxuriously appointed rooms, a spa, champagne bar and a wine cellar. During the summer months, champagne and cocktails are served on the newly refurbished roof-terrace bar, offering spectacular view down the valley to the ocean.
Down on the beach, the restaurant is as popular as ever, with a loyal following that includes some of the region’s most famous chefs alongside a smattering of visiting celebrities, local residents and well-informed tourists. The restaurant has won many accolades and in March this year was included in a Condé Nast Traveller list of the Algarve’s best restaurants with ocean views.
The restaurant is most famous for its grilled fresh fish, but the dish the chefs keep coming back for is arroz de lagosta (lobster rice), prepared much like a traditional arroz de marisco (mixed seafood rice stew) but made exclusively from rice cooked in lobster stock, with a whole lobster cooked in with it.
And when it comes to fresh fish, Rei das Praias is rightly known as one of the best, especially if you order a large fish to share between a group at the table. Luís can be seen every morning at the fish markets, either in Portimão or in Sagres, at the auction buying fish straight off the boats.
This is one of the few restaurants where the skill on the grill is such that large fish are barbecued whole over charcoal, rather than butterflied, keeping the fish beautifully moist. Large sea bass are one of the specialities, with many others on offer, from Dover sole to golden bream and red mullet, all depending on what the ocean provides each day. All this is backed up by an excellent selection of wines and champagnes and professional service that includes the waiters deftly filleting the fish for guests tableside.
Praia dos Caneiros is located on the coast, between Carvoeiro and Ferragudo. The restaurant is set on stilts right above the sand, offering stunning ocean views from the dining room, adjoining terrace and the upstairs lounge terrace. The hotel is located just a short walk from the beach.
Their top-notch beach concession boasts elegant, over-sized wooden sunbeds with soft cushions and towels and bar service — advance booking is essential to avoid disappointment, not only for the restaurant but also for sunbeds.
Throughout the summer there are beach parties and live music, all advertised via their website and Facebook page.