[Portugal] Tavira: 5 days of seafood and Vinho (Verde)

I didn’t order white tuna. It’s tuna belly and it’s local. Anyway, I’ve shown the receipt to employees at my lodging and at the beer bar and they all said it’s not right. I checked their FB site (restaurant is Mare Alta in Santa Luzia) but there’s no email and I’m not a FB user so I can’t even mail them a photo of the receipt. Just want to know the reason.


Ventresca = is the belly of the White Tuna …

The Tavira City Hall, could probably tell you. Or the Police Station of this town.

Did you check Google to see if they have a website ?

1 Like

The heat is getting to me and am experiencing lethargy. I tried to bike to another village but had to turn back.

Coffee on the roof


I will always stand up for Portuguese national anthem. Thanks for your massive culinary contributions to the world! Some kind of commemoration was going on below in the town’s square.

Had lunch at a busy place outside the centre, a grilled fish specialist. There’s no menu. You are appointed a table and they only ask what drink you want to order. They bring everyone the same food: mixed grilled fish with toasted bread and other bits.

At first I thought it was tomato sauce but it’s piri-piri chilli sauce.

24 euros for everything on the table, including wine. Seafood quality in this country is superb. The Portuguese, being Europe’s biggest seafood eaters, demand nothing less.

The pit

All tables were occupied. Sitting in intimate proximity to others is uncomfortable but if you want to eat good fish you will endure it.

You queue patiently

Write your name and number of people in your party on this board and wait. In the evening there’s no cuttlefish, I found out from the boss who speaks English well. The sign above the board states “no cuttle fish”.

The servers brush copious amounts of this chilli sauce on toasted bread.

I had to go back to this market delicatessen for more cheese and others types of presunto (Portuguese equivalent of jamon).

Agony of choice.

Got the quince marmelada* and new goat’s cheese. (The word marmalade comes directly from Portuguese marmelada)

Sunset picnic on the roof


Tomorrow is my last day in Tavira… most restaurants are closed on Sun and Mon so today we ate 5 natas with coffee. Orange juice because oranges are in season and are grown right here in Tavira. All the cafes and snack bars juice them to order.

Biked to Santa Luzia again for lunch. There are only a few restaurants in this small fishing village, not enough for all the tourists who come to here mostly just to eat octopus. We had cataplana for 2.

Huge prawns, clams, potatoes, cod, tuna. Cataplana is a seafood stew, a speciality of Algarve region. We drank all the broth and were full (at home we can’t eat this much, somehow we can eat 3 times more on holiday). 25 euros well spent.

We secured our table on the rooftop terrace at 5pm and started drinking beer with snacks, leftover ham and cheese from yesterday then moved on to dinner.

Very simple today. Big cooked prawns, a bag of bitter leaves and more olives. It was still so hot at 6pm. Nice that there’s coriander mixed in with the leaves.

One last paper cup of wine then we had to flee from the smokers. This is the view I see every night after the sun is well below the horizon.

There’s only one place in town to drink craft beers. They have 2 “taps”. Actually, the tap is a portable rig they use at beer fests. There are a bunch of bottles in the fridge and the man-wife team owners are very pleasant.

Labels of sardine tins. Why? Here you can have tastings of gourmet tinned sardines and other tinned seafood, artisanal wines and other artisanal products.







We had some great OJ in Porto as well. We get a lot of oranges in California, back yard and store bought, mostly Valencia and Navels, lately Moro and Sanguinello blood oranges, and Cara cara, but this was different.

[O is for Oranges](https://algarveblog.net/2013/01/

Editing acting up for me.

Yesterday was my last day in Tavira. Restaurants in main touristy spots were opened but I had enough stuff to finish.

Bolinhos de bacalhau and last of custard tarts.


Half the menu is alcohol and this is a pasty shop. Portugal has relaxed alcohol laws. Men in snack bars already drink beer at 10am. Anyone can drink from their 16th.

Last picnic on the roof. Porco preto is Portuguese for pata negra. The same Iberian black pigs you might have heard about in south of Spain. Alentejana means “in the style of/from” Alentejo, which is a state/province known for its robust red wines and Iberico pork.

Also fresh goat’s cheese and Portuguese craft beers.


Found a new range of Lay’s crisps, “gourmet”. Will get them later. I’m in a small village at the moment and everything is limited.

A few images of Santa Luzia

Seen from the beach

Anchor graveyard

This is typical Algarve: beach, hot weather, white houses and flowers.






Wonderful photos. Most evocative.

Thanks! Love Portugal!


I scarfed down a bag of the Mediterranean ones on the train from Porto to Lisbon. Not sure I appreciated their Mediterranean nature, but I LOVE plain Lays chips. I was looking for "presuno but they only had them as Ruffles.

I fly to the Algarve this weekend. Staying 8km outside Tavira Thanks for the mouthwatering posts :slightly_smiling_face: :slightly_smiling_face:
What was the name/location of

  • the craft beer place - and did you eat there ?
  • the place where you cannot choose what you eat ?
  • the pace you seemed to enjoy on your first lunch day ?
    And of course where was the best place you ate/your top recommendation ?

Ex Libris Gourmet is the name. A tiny spot with pleasant and English speaking owners. Cross the Moorish bridge, turn left and walk about 3 steps. They have gourmet tinned seafood and that’s the food they serve. You buy the tins and they serve with bread etc on a plate. The idea seems crazy to most tourists but tinned seafood is highly prized in Portugal and Spain.

Did you mean this? It was my first lunch. Name of restaurant is Tempero Caseiro. Side street directly left of the Moorish bridge, around the corner is a tiny church, the restaurant is on the other side of the street. Right side of the bridge is the town’s square. Prices are extremely good considering the location.

I’m not sure… Can you copy an image I posted? (right click, copy image location, then paste in reply box)

I mentioned I couldn’t decide how many kinds of Portuguese cheese to buy. It’s a charcuterie shop located inside the town’s covered market. Even if you are not buying anything in there I still recommend checking out the fish stalls. I always marvel at Portugal’s superb seafood quality.

I only ate lunch out and I thought the fish restaurant was my favourite. It’s not in the centre but not far to walk to. Name is Tres Palmeiras. Address: Rua Vale Carangueijo. You will notice the 3 palm trees outside and rising smoke. Go at lunch time if you want cuttlefish (alongside fish) as they don’t do cuttlefish in the evening. It’s this one [Portugal] Tavira: 5 days of seafood and Vinho (Verde).

1 Like

Brilliant thanks
The fish place was the no choice place I think ! Where you just choose your drinks ??
Did you have squid anywhere ? Or see Totani ? Never found that outside Naples area of Italy but love it :nerd_face:

Oh yes, you get a plate of fish, how many depends on the number of people in your group.

You can eat squid at many restaurants. Portuguese love squid. But, tuna and octopus are specialities in this part of Algarve so try to eat both. Santa Luzia is most famous for octopus. I saw so many people order it. They come especially to eat it.

Apologies for slow reply/report. Since its been a while even since I got back, I will be brief !
Predictably we didn’t end up eating at any of the places you went to. Tried to go to the craft beer place but it was closed the night we were in Tavira itself.

That night we ate at a ‘Gastrobar’ ( me neither ) called Come Na Gaveta. Strange place. Nicely done out room. Friendly welcome but then given a bit of a rubbish table ( pre 9pm so not many locals in at that point ). Small plates. Octopus tempura probably my favourite. Not much by way of vegetables/salad on offer so all felt a bit heavy.

On first night had had simple yet effective octopus at a beach restaurant Cha com Agua Salgada.

Two favourite places I would definitely return to were Restaurante Noelia and Marisqueira os Fialhos.

Noelia was just a lovely room, none beachy/proper restaurant vibe and two of my favourite courses

A very simple yet lovely anchovy toasts

and octopus fritters with coriander rice

Nothing fancy just great food.

Fialhos was even less fancy. The owner of our hotel said his wife would kill him if she knew he had sent us here - no frills and likely to be rude to none Portuguese/tourists - which of course they were not.

I loved this place even if the food wasn’t up to the standard of other places we ate I would definitely go back for the genuine local atmosphere and the sight of cars parked all over then place in the road outside. Its was squid n chips for me !

You know you have found a gem when there is a cat with a half chewed off ear under your table.

Thanks again for your inspirational tips and posts.


Nice “report”! I love local places, where you will almost always have a good meal.

As soon as I arrived in Spain I felt it in my wallet. A similar meal costs twice as much despite the higher tax, and seafood options are a bit different. Made me appreciate Portugal more. Next time I shall stay there longer.

Glad I found this thread. We are ready to try to travel again (post? Pandemic). We are going to spend a week in Tavira in May. I’m ready for some beach, seafood, and wine.

It all looks fabulous, will have to see what things look like at this point.


Octopus and tuna are the most common things to eat in this region. If you don’t eat both then are are lots of fish (can’t avoid fish in the Algarve).

May should be lovely, in terms of weather. High summer is much too hot and really, really crowded.

1 Like

I was talking with an importer of Portuguese tinned food - and he was talking about (and gave us a can) this spicy sardine paste that is served at almost every meal spread on toast/bread (or so he told us, this will be my first time in Portugal). It was delicious and not as “fishy” as you’d think. I wonder if that piri-piri spread you show in those pictures is a version of that? Was it just spicy or did it have any of that “umami” (not a fan of that word but can’t come up with another one right now) quality that you might get from fish, where it just blends into the background (like anchovies sometimes, but this paste was not anywhere near as strong as anchovies are, even when they are a background note)?

The piri or chilli sauce is not very spicy and there are many versions. Some are saltier or a tad spicier but it does not overpower the food. I tried the supermarket bottles a few times but it’s more salty than spicy so I stopped eating that. The flakes or fresh piri piri are better.

Anchovy paste is quite different and “umani” loaded.

I buy my own stash of piri piri and eat 1 or 2 alongside a meal. The partner smiles and shakes head when I pull it out of my pocket when we eat a meal.

Looks fierce but it’s quite mild (I eat spicy). I thought it was tomato sauce on the bread.

In Tavira you can try different brands at this little place just on the other side of the medieval bridge. Tinned sardines are served on a plate with bread etc. The young owners are very kind (and speak English). Even more awesome for us, they have Portuguese craft beers.

Portuguese (tinned) sardines are, IMO, the best. Eat a tin or 2 every single day you are in this great country!

I want to add that swordfish is more popular than tuna. Restaurants have both, though.


Yeah, this was NOT an anchovy paste, it was a sardine paste and not fishy at all IMHO (what this person gave us, not what you had). I’ll keep an eye out for both!