Updated: May 2, 2024


While Southern Portugal is largely renowned for its glimmering ocean, pristine beaches, and endless days of sunshine, it’s worth heading south to enjoy the bustling food and wine scene on offer, tantalizing taste buds for decades.

While each region of Portugal has its own unique gastronomy, from the balmy Francesinha sandwich in the north to the famous pastel de nata, hailing from Belém in Lisbon, Southern Portugal is home to some of the very best food that the country has to offer.

Southern Portugal encompasses the well-known Algarve, renowned for its spectacular seafood dishes, but also the Alentejo, the so-called “breadbasket of Portugal”, which contains just under 50 percent of Portuga’s utilized agricultural land. The climate here produces some of the best produce in the country, from olive oil to incredible wines.

The Alentejo

Alentejo Portugal real estateThe Alentejo is the largest region of Portugal, largely flat, boarding Spain to the East and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. While many tourists venture the Algarve and miss this beautiful region of the country, the locals know that this is perhaps Portugal’s best kept secret, venturing here instead of the often-busy Algarve to soak up some tranquillity and enjoy the local produce.

This region is home to the most highly prized pig, the Iberian black pig, raised on acorns and left to roam in the oak forests on the border of Spain, contributing to its excellent flavor. The spectacular production of pork in the Alentejo has  led to the creation of dishes such as Carne de Porco à Alentejana, a spectacular dish bursting with flavor that embraces pork and clams. Charcuterie culture in the Alentejo is also renowned across the country, with fantastic choriços (chorizos) and presuntos (cured hams) being created locally here.

If you have more of a sweet tooth, then you’ll be spoilt for choice. As with many pastries and deserts in Portugal, eggs are a key component, alongside native almonds and other nuts. Try the Sericaia, a lovely cinnamon scented cake that is often complimented with Elvas plums, or check out Pinhoada, made with pine nuts and honey.

Many of these sweet treats originated from convents where nuns in medieval Portugal would create specialties with their maids. Plus, due to the Moorish influence, you also will also find specialties with spices, cinnamon and cloves.

For wine fanatics, Alentejan wine is in a league of its own. While the Douro is known for its rich, fully bodied reds, the Alentejan wines are generally fruitier. There is a wide range of wineries and vineyards to visit as wine tourism becomes ever more popular in Portugal and around the world. If you are looking for a good one, the Herdade da Malhadina Nova Estate has been elected the best wine tourism in Portugal for the second time.

The Algarve

algarve portugal land for saleThe Algarve’s long coastline, beloved by expats from all walks of life, is unsurprisingly the perfect home for incredible fish and seafood dishes. This is the southernmost region of Portugal, and while many tourists and expats come to enjoy the balmy sunny days and pristine beaches, the delicacies of the region are another great pull factor. If you are considering visiting, moving to, or buying property in the Algarve, you’ll be able to enjoy an incredible, healthy cuisine.

One of the tastiest is Cataplana, which originated from the Arabs and is named this way as it is cooked in a clay pot. Although Cataplana can be made with pork, the one with fish or seafood is excellent and should be on your list of things to try if you are visiting this part of Portugal.

And then you have a range of octopus dishes, with Santa Luzia, close to Tavira, proudly called the Octopus capital of Portugal, and you can’t visit Portimão without trying their sardines. If you are there for the annual sardine festival in August, then you’re in for a treat.

The Algarve is also known for its fruits and vegetables, with oranges of the Algarve particularly cherished. Other produce from the Algarve include figs, plumbs, and almonds, plus you can find some excellent wines here too.

Where to find the best food in Southern Portugal?

In both the Algarve and the Alentejo, you’ll find an incredible selection of fine-dining restaurants and local, family-owned eateries known as tascas. Below we provide some of the very best restaurants in both of these stunning regions of Southern Portugal.

In the Alentejo

food portugal alentejoSome of the best restaurants in the Alentejo include:

  • Tasca do Celso: A cozy tavern offering traditional Portuguese dishes with a focus on fresh seafood and regional specialties.
  • País das Uvas: A charming restaurant nestled in the heart of Alentejo, known for its refined cuisine showcasing local ingredients and flavors.
  • Howard’s Folly: A winery restaurant offering a unique dining experience with a menu designed to complement their selection of fine wines.
  • Cacalariça: A rustic eatery housed in a converted stable that servies hearty Alentejo dishes in a cozy and authentic atmosphere.
  • Torre de Palma: Located within a historic estate, this restaurant offers a blend of traditional Alentejo cuisine with a modern twist, accompanied by a selection of wines from their own vineyards.
  • Dom Joaquim: A family-run restaurant known for its warm hospitality and delicious home-cooked meals, featuring local produce and flavors.
  • Herdade do Sobroso: Set amidst vineyards and olive groves, this restaurant offers panoramic views and a menu highlighting the very best of Alentejo’s gastronomy.
  • São Lourenço do Barrocal: Situated within a luxury hotel and estate, this restaurant emphasizes farm-to-table dining with seasonal ingredients sourced from their own gardens and local producers.
  • Fialho: A renowned restaurant in Évora, known for its traditional Alentejo cuisine and extensive wine list, housed in a historic building with a charming ambiance.
  • Herdade dos Grous: Offering a picturesque setting overlooking a lake, this restaurant serves innovative dishes featuring fresh ingredients from their own farm and garden.
  • Herdade do Rocim: Known for its contemporary approach to Alentejo cuisine, this restaurant offers a creative menu using organic produce and local ingredients.
  • Octant Évora: A modern bistro specializing in seafood and Mediterranean-inspired cuisine, with an emphasis on quality and freshness.
  • Divinius: A fine dining restaurant located in a historic building, offering a sophisticated menu showcasing the flavors of Alentejo paired with an extensive wine list.
  • Malhadinha Nova: A luxury wine estate with a restaurant offering gourmet dining experiences featuring seasonal ingredients and innovative culinary techniques.
  • Quinta do Quetzal: A vineyard restaurant located just north of Beja, offering a fusion of Portuguese and international cuisine, with a focus on organic and sustainable ingredients.
  • Herdade do Esporão: Again, setwithin a renowned winery, this restaurant offers a menu inspired by Alentejo’s culinary traditions, accompanied by a selection of their award-winning wines.
  • Sublime Comporta: Located in a luxury resort Comporta, known as the “Hamptons of Europe”, this restaurant offers a sophisticated dining experience with a menu highlighting the freshest local ingredients and flavors.
  • Manjedoura: A cozy eatery known for its traditional Alentejo dishes and friendly service, providing a taste of authentic regional cuisine.
  • Lamelas: A family-owned restaurant specializing in grilled meats and traditional Portuguese dishes, served in a casual and welcoming atmosphere.
  • Gadanha Mercearia: A trendy bistro offering creative interpretations of Alentejo cuisine, using locally sourced ingredients and artisanal products.
  • Café Alentejo: Housed in a historic building in the center of Évora, this restaurant offers a menu featuring classic Alentejo dishes in a charming and traditional setting.

In the Algarve

food potugal algarveSome of the best restaurants in the Algarve include:

  • Austa: Offering traditional Portuguese cuisine with a modern twist, Austa provides a cozy dining experience with a focus on fresh, locally sourced ingredients.
  • Vila Joya: A Michelin-starred restaurant known for its exquisite fine dining experience, Vila Joya offers creative and beautifully presented dishes inspired by Portuguese and international flavors. Vila Joya Sea, a sister restaurant to Vila Joya, is also well worth a visit, with a more casual dining experience and a focus on seafood dishes served in a relaxed beachfront setting.
  • A Ver Tavira: Located in the charming town of Tavira, A Ver Tavira serves authentic Algarvian cuisine in a welcoming atmosphere, showcasing the region’s rich culinary heritage.
  • Al Sud: This restaurant combines Mediterranean and flavors from the Algarve, offering a menu filled with seafood delicacies and creative interpretations of traditional dishes.
  • Gusto: Situated in a stunning beachfront location, Gusto specializes in fresh seafood and Mediterranean-inspired cuisine, providing diners with breathtaking views along with delicious food.
  • Restaurante Estaminé: Nestled in the picturesque Ria Formosa Natural Park, Restaurante Estaminé is renowned for its fresh seafood and tranquil ambiance, making it a favorite among locals and visitors alike.
  • Gigi’s: A popular beachside restaurant known for its relaxed atmosphere and delicious grilled seafood, Gigi’s offers a laid-back dining experience with stunning views of the ocean.
  • Noélia: Led by renowned chef Noélia Jerónimo, this restaurant combines innovative culinary techniques with traditional Algarvian ingredients to create memorable dining experiences.
  • Ocean: Located within a luxury resort, Ocean is a Michelin-starred restaurant that offers an elegant dining experience featuring creative dishes crafted with locally sourced ingredients.
  • Morgado do Quintão: Set in a rustic farmhouse surrounded by vineyards, Morgado do Quintão specializes in farm-to-table cuisine, highlighting the flavors of the Algarve region.
  • Casa de Igreja: Situated in a historic building, Casa de Igreja offers a charming atmosphere and a menu featuring classic Portuguese dishes made with seasonal ingredients.
  • Restaurante Rei das Praias: Overlooking the stunning Praia da Rocha beach, Restaurante Rei das Praias is known for its fresh seafood and relaxed ambiance, perfect for enjoying a meal by the sea.
  • Umami: With a focus on Asian fusion cuisine, Umami offers a unique dining experience in the Algarve, blending traditional flavors with modern culinary techniques.
  • Vino by Paper Moon: A chic wine bar and restaurant, Vino by Paper Moon offers an extensive selection of wines paired with Mediterranean-inspired dishes in a stylish setting.
  • Vista: Perched atop a cliff overlooking the ocean, Vista offers panoramic views along with a menu featuring gourmet cuisine crafted with fresh, local ingredients.
  • The One: Known for its elegant ambiance and refined cuisine, The One offers a sophisticated dining experience with a menu that highlights seasonal flavors and international influences.
  • Zazu: This trendy restaurant combines modern decor with a menu featuring creative dishes inspired by Portuguese and Mediterranean cuisines, offering a vibrant dining experience.