One of the Algarve’s best beach restaurants, Rei das Praias is a favourite “winter” haunt, for those in the know…
Most beach restaurants along the Algarve, much like elsewhere, close down at least for a few months over winter. But for those of us who live here, and indeed those who visit at this time of year, the beach can be even more inviting on a mild winter day than in the summer months.
With temperatures often hovering around 20°C even in December, a sheltered spot on a quiet Algarve beach is about as close to paradise as we can get in this part of the world, and few locations in the Algarve can match Caneiros beach, located between Carvoeiro and Ferragudo.
Rei das Praias restaurant is snugly nestled into the cliff and valley that form the access to the beach, protected from all but southerly winds that rarely blow in the winter. Even in January, meals can usually be enjoyed on the partially covered terrace of the main restaurant and even the upstairs terrace, fully open to the elements, is sheltered enough by the cliffs to work as a delightful suntrap.
Another attraction of eating here in the winter is that it is a great deal easier to get a table. During the busier months of the year, it is always advisable to book at least a week or two in advance, but from November through to February, tables for lunch or dinner on weekdays can usually be booked the same day. On weekends, however, advance bookings are always recommended as this is a restaurant with a loyal following of locals, for whom a weekend family dinner here is almost a ritual right.
So, why is Rei das Praias so popular? Ask any regular customer and the first thing they will say is the fish. This is a restaurant where the freshest fish straight from the ocean is always available. This includes large fish to be shared between a small group, grilled over charcoal to perfection and expertly filleted and served at the table. Fish does not get any better than this and it is also worth noting that most of the fish species such as sea bass and golden bream are in peak condition for eating at this time of year.
Apart from fish, diners also know that they will always find excellent clams and oysters alongside delicacies such as carabineiros (scarlet prawns) caught off the Algarve coast and giant tiger prawns.
But perhaps the most appreciated dish on the menu for those in the know is the Arroz de Lagosta, a rice stew flavoured with fresh herbs and homemade lobster stock, with a whole spiny lobster cooked to perfection. This is a favourite dish of some of the Algarve’s top chefs who are also regular visitors during the quieter months of the year.
The food and, no doubt, the sheltered oceanfront location are the main attractions here, but there is also an excellent selection of wine and the familiar faces of the waiting staff and the family who have run this restaurant since 1976.
Rei das Praias is open daily for lunch and dinner apart from dinner on Monday evenings during the winter. The restaurant will be closing briefly over Christmas from December 20 to 27.
282 461 006 | www.restaurantereidaspraias.com