How to eat like a local in the Algarve
Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and everything in between - a visit to the Algarve is a sight for all senses
Breakfast in Portugal is a simple affair - many locals keep things basic with a slice of buttered toast and a gallon or, a half of milk (milky coffee). Since you're a foodie on holiday (when you're in Rome, right?), use this meal as an opportunity to try one of the country's most beloved sweets.
Portuguese custard tarts and caramelised almond tarts are delicious and deserve a place at every meal. The best part about going to an early pastry shop (pastelaria) is that you also have a high chance of tasting a fresh sweet.
Pastelaria Beira-Mar near Faro and the family-run Padaria Central in Lagos are recommended and will leave you smiling for hours.
Mid-morning snacks (salty)
When a local doesn't have time to lie down for breakfast or lunch, they'll often grab a snack on the go. Enter pastel de bacalhau, a fried and salted cod cake, one of the most traditional foods in Portuguese cuisine.
Another to try are the bifanas - a crusty bun filled with marinated pork seasoned with garlic and spices.
Beautiful Sagres, with its perfect headlands and location in the southern Algarve of Portugal, is a dream place to spend some time. Here, you can spend your days visiting iconic places like Cape St Vincent, the most south-western point of Europe, and dining on authentic local dishes in rustic settings.
The interiors of A Casinha restaurant are inviting and the uncomplicated menu is simple but delicious. There is a wide variety of fresh seafood on offer, from bream to king prawns, but the dish of choice is the seafood cataplana, a traditional Portuguese stew from the Algarve region.
To keep you going until dinner, you'll need a snack to satisfy any hunger and an espresso to pick me up. Familiarise yourself with pastries such as 'almofada de Sintra', a pastry filled with egg, cream and almonds, and Portuguese cream donuts, as these are likely to become your afternoon snacks of choice.
Look out for a traditional pastry shop that will stock these and other sweet treats.
Traditional Portuguese dinner
A tasca is a traditional Portuguese restaurant or tavern that is often family owned and serves a menu del dia (menu of the day) for a fraction of what you'll find in more expensive restaurants.
Tascas are often found in the old town of a city and are where locals gather for dinner - good food and wine, great service, and a charming, intimate vibe are usually guaranteed.
If you like dining with an international flair, and a little more education around your meal, then Mimo Algarve Cooking School has you covered. The cooking school's supper club is a two-hour dinner where the chefs will tell you about the dishes they prepare.
That way you can take home some tips and tricks. A wine expert will also guide you through various wines that can be paired with your dishes. It is best to book in advance.
Whether it's an afternoon aperitif, a few naked whites, a full-bodied red wine during dinner, or a cap to end the day, there is no shortage of choice for tipples in the Algarve.
Touriga Nacional is a must-try - it's one of the most widely planted grapes in the region, and is said to be the best red grape variety in Portugal. Be sure to try a glass of spicy, tawny port like nightcap.
A few days in the Algarve should give you plenty of time to sample some of the country's best drops.
Given you're in Europe, you wouldn't be eating like a local unless some kind of gelato or sorbet was included in your day.
Choose from Valrhona chocolate ice cream, avocado ice cream, black sesame ice cream, or the ever popular salted caramel ice cream.