Finding traditional food…

26 Jun

I want to windup my travelog on Portugal with this post. We usually do a bit of culinary research before visiting any foreign country. We often observed that in most touristic locations the local cuisine is customised for tourists. Sadly, many family run restaurants are taken over by investors. This lead to restaurants being pushed to be profitable by providing what tourists expects. This time we wanted to visit restaurants, that are only owned and run by families.

Our first of this kind is in a town called Loule and we got help from one of the shop keepers who readily suggested an authentic traditional Portuguese restaurant. It is called Bocage. It was bit warm on that day, it was nice to find this little cosy restaurant. This is run by a family and all of them work together. Mother of the family is chef accompanied by wonderful staff of kitchen Alinah. Daughter and father manage the customers. We introduced ourselves to the family and told our interests in traditional cooking. The chef was happy to take us to her kitchen and planned a grill platter for us.

Grilled fishes from Bocage

The staff, Alinah, surprised us with traditional Namaste. Later, we found out that she watched many hindi serials and picked up a bit of hindi. she was happy to strike a pose with a fish in grill to be posted in my blog. Here it goes your warm smile 🙂

We thoroughly enjoyed our grill with salad and potatoes. The bill was moderately priced and worth all the penny.

Alinah in her kitchen

Our next visit was to a restaurant near Faro called ‘O chapparo’. We drove deep into residential area and finally found this hidden gem. The restaurant is run by husband and wife, who have a cute little baby. They only serve 2 menu for a day – no big hassle in choosing your food :). We tried both: Grilled chicken with fried potatoes and Gaucho (Brasilian Portuguese dish).

The cooked rice alone tasted good, along with chicken and cube fried potatoes was yummy. Angelika, the owner of the restaurant, suggested 2 of their desserts, drunken pear in wine and creamed cookies dessert. These two desserts were out of the world. The poached pear just melted in mouth  and wine sauce was delicious.

And the surprise part was the bill which costed less than half of the cost of dinner elsewhere.

Delicious drunken pear

Restaurant chef from O chapparo

Our next try was on our Anniversary day. We had two challenges to handle. One is to choose a family run restaurant and second, we don’t want to be disappointed with food on our anniversary day. While searching for restaurant we took a detour to this country restaurant between Lagos and Portimao. It is called Amigo de Baco.  We decided to check the menu and talk to owners beforehand. As menu was in Portuguese, the owner of restaurant helped us and patiently explained each one of them. Looking at her passion, we decided that it will be the right choice for us. we choose 3 of them from chefs suggestion. Prawns curry with rice, which is a fusion of brazil, African, and Portuguese. Beef steaks with black pepper sauce. Grilled jumbo prawns with a special sauce. They want to keep their sauce recipe as secret. The food was excellent and we couldn’t treat ourselves better than that on our anniversary. While chatting with the family, we came to know that the owner (around 80yrs young) personally goes to buy ingredients as early as 4am and has been in kitchen for many decades. The taste of food made us convinced that the family definitely has more secret ingredients in their recipes.

The dessert was Chocolate pudding and creamed cookies. Creamed cookies became our favourite, out of this trip.

Jumbo Prawns with secret sauce

Grilled Salmon with veggies and salad

Truly inspired by this 80yrs young man

No wonder, we love Portugal and its people!. These trips have given us plentiful experiences and we are moved by the warmth of the people. Moreover, if you are seafood lover, there is no other place than Algarve region in Portugal that can leave you wth lingering taste and memories. Certainly, some of greatest moments in our life :)…


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