Food & drink in VilamouraEating and drinking in Vilamoura. Bars, restaurants, traditional dishes, cuisines available, supermarket shopping, dietary needs, average prices and more! Uncover your perfect meal in Vilamoura with AlgarveUncovered.com
Restaurants, Bars and Clubs in Vilamoura – Algarve – Portugal
There are plenty of places to eat and drink in Vilamoura, and Vilamoura has a fantastic nightlife. There are a huge number of restaurants and bars to choose from and a handful of night clubs. Vilamoura Marina offers a great central spot for enjoying the nightlife and you can party into the early hours! By day, Vilamoura Marina is a great place for a lazy lunch or a few drinks, as many of the bars and restaurants have outside seating, so you can enjoy your meal and drinks in the sunshine overlooking the fantastic ‘boats’! To get the most out of your stay check out Vilamoura Restaurants on TripAdvisor to see other holidaymakers’ reviews for the best places to wine and dine!
Local Gastronomy of Vilamoura
The gastronomy of the area reflects Vilamoura’s international appeal with restaurants specialising in French, German, Italian, Chinese and Indian food as well as a wealth of traditional Portuguese restaurants. Due to Vilamoura huge popularity with British visitors there is also an abundance of cafés and restaurants serving traditional British food – anything from a good cooked breakfast to Sunday roast!
As with the rest of the Algarve fish and seafood is widely available and always fresh. Some of the popular dishes include “Arroz de Marisco” – a deliciously moist and tasty concoction of rice and and different seafoods; “amêijoas” (clams) cooked in a cataplana and simply served with bread and of course, barbecued sardines. There is always a large variety of fresh fish to choose from and a lot of restaurants will ask you to choose your own fish before they cook it! As well as the fresh fish, “bacalhau” (salt dried cod) will normally be on the menu often served in a delicious, creamy sauce with potato on top. It is a staple food in the Algarve and reputedly there are at least 365 ways of cooking it!
Eating out in Vilamoura
With over 200km of coastline, it’s not surprising that the fish and seafood are a staple part of the diet for people in the Algarve and Vilamoura is no exception. With daily fishing trips bringing in huge amounts of fresh sardines, tuna, bream, cod, monkfish and many other types of fish; plentiful supplies of clams, oysters, prawns, not to mention octopus and squid, it’s easy to understand why. There is always a wonderful aroma of barbecuing fish at the restaurants around Fishermen’s beach!
The traditional Portuguese restaurants normally offer a large selection of fish dishes, one of which is almost certain to be grilled sardines, served with boiled potatoes and vegetables or salad. Also commonly on the menu are a range of omelettes, salads and some meat dishes, like thin pork slices (febras) served with a creamy mushroom sauce or chicken piri-piri.The prices are very reasonable, the food is good and the portions are generous. On average a 2-course meal for 2, including house wine, should cost less than €30. (Soup of the day €2.00, main course €7.50 and a bottle of house wine €10). Obviously prices can vary enormously depending on location.
In a portuguese restaurant the meal traditionally starts with “Entradas” followed by “Prato principal” and lastly “Sobremesas”:
Starters – “Entradas”
“Couvert” is the traditional start to a meal and normally consists of fresh bread, olives, sardine paté, cheese and carrots that have been lightly cooked and marinated in garlic, olive oil and spices. Most waiters will ask before serving the couvert, but if it is brought to the table and you don’t want it, simply ask the waiter to take it back. Couvert often costs as little as 1.50€ a person, but do check as it can be rather more.
In traditional Portuguese restaurants, the choice of starters will often include soups and seafood dishes. The Portuguese are excellent at making fresh, wholesome soups. Vilamoura restaurants generally have a choice of vegetable soup (“sopa de legumes” or “caldo verde”), cold “gazpacho” soup made from peppers, cucumber and tomatoes, and fish soups. Generally soups tend to be served tepid, so if you like your soup very hot, then ask the waiter for it to be “Bem quente” (pronounced ‘bem kent’). “Conquilhas” (small clams) are often served as a starter, as are various prawn dishes.
Main Courses – “Pratos”
A lot of the main dishes in Vilamoura restaurants are based around fish and seafood. The fish is normally simply prepared and served with salad and boiled potatoes or chips. You will find lots of types of fish to choose from, such as swordfish (“espadarte”), tuna (“atum”), stone bass (“cherne”) sea bass (“robalo”) and red mullet (“salmonete”). Sometimes the price is for the dish, but a lot of fish is sold by weight (euros/kg) so it is worth checking before ordering.
“Bacalhau” (pronounced “bakel-yow”) is probably one of the most traditional dishes that you’ll find in the Algarve. It is dried salt-cod, preserved in the same way as it was in the days of the first sea voyages in the time of the Portuguese Discoveries. The cod had to be preserved with salt to provide the sailors with a substantial food source while they were on a voyage. Since then, Bacalhau has become a staple part of the Portuguese diet and the Portuguese have come up with so many different ways off eating it that you will find a different Bacalhau dish to try each time; reportedly there are 365 different ways of cooking it!
Chicken (“frango”) dishes are also popular in Vilamoura restaurants and you will frequently see chicken piri-piri (“frango piri-piri”) on a menu. This dish uses the tiny bright red piri-piri chilli pepper, which is used to spice up many other Portuguese dishes too and is even used as table condiment. Barbequed chicken (“frango no churrasco”) is also a favourite for the Portuguese and not surprisingly since the great all-year-round weather has created a tradition of out-door cooking.
Other Algarve specialities include “Feijoada”, a thick bean stew with pork, bacon and sausage which originally came from Brazil and “Cataplana”, a dish of Moorish influence which uses a clam shaped copper pan to cook clams, or a mix of fish and seafood, with spicy sausage, tomatoes, wine, garlic and herbs. Another popular Portuguese dish is “Bife à Portuguesa”, which is beef sirloin topped with smoked ham, cooked in a clay dish served on a bed of French fries.
Desserts – “Sobremesas”
The Portuguese make the most wonderful desserts and pastries and a visit to Vilamoura wouldn’t be complete without sampling one or two of them! The best-loved desserts are “Pudim Flan” (crème caramel), “pasties de nata” ( a creamy, custard tart) and “tarte de amêndoa” (almond tart) and are highly recommended! Figs, almonds and locally produced honey in various combinations also feature highly on dessert menus along with fresh fruit.
Dining with children in Vilamoura
Children are always welcome, day or night, and although there may not be a special children’s menu, they are always catered for…either ask for “meia dose” (pronounced ‘maya dose’) which is a half portion, or a meal to be shared.
Useful Portuguese translations for eating out in Vilamoura
Here are some Portuguese words, phrases and numbers to help you order in a bar or restaurant, identify foods, order different quantities or listen to prices. To catch the attention of the waiter / waitress it is perfectly acceptable to just say “se faz favor” (please)!
- “O que deseja comer?” – What would you like to eat?
- “O que os senhores(as) querem comer?” – What would you like to eat?
- “O que (você) recomenda?” – What do you recommend?
- “Prato do dia” – Dish of the day
- “Para mim…” – For me…
- “(Eu) vou comer…” – I’ll have the…
- “Qual é a entrada / prato principal / sobremesa?” – What starters / main course / dessert do you have?
- “(Eu) gostaria ver a ementa por favor” – I would like to see the menu please
- O menú de sobremesas por favor – The desserts menu please
- “Para começar quero…” – To start I would like…
- “Como prato principal quero…” -For the main course I would like…
- “Para sobremesa quero…” – For dessert I’ll have…
- “Não como carne” – I don’t eat meat
- “(Eu) sou vegetariana/o” – I’m vegetarian (f/m.)
- “Uma mesa para duas pessoas” – A table for two
- “Tenho uma reserva em nome de …” – I have a table reserved in the name of…
- “(Eu) queria uma mesa perto da janela” – I would like a table near to the window.
- “Isso não é o que eu encomendei” -That’s not what I ordered
- “A conta por favor” – The bill (check) please
- “O serviço está incluído?” – Is service included?
- “Acho que há um erro na conta” – I think there is a mistake in the bill.
- “O que você quer beber?” – What would you like to drink?
- “E para beber?” – And to drink?
- “Vocês têm um menú de vinhos?” – Do you have wine list?
- “Para beber quero…” – I would like to drink…
- “(Eu) queria uma bica / um espresso” – I’d like an espresso.
- “Uma cerveja por favor. / Duas cervejas por favor” – A beer please / Two beers please
- “Um café, se faz favor” – A coffee, please
- “Uma água sem gás” – Still water
- “Uma água com gás” – Sparkling water
- “Um copo de vinho tinto” – A glass of red wine
- “Vinho branco” – White wine
one – “um”
two – “dois” (doysh)
three – “três” (tresh)
four – “quatro” (kwatru)
five – “cinco” (sincu)
six – “seis” (saysh)
seven – “seite” (sayte)
eight – “oito” (oytu)
nine – “nove” (nov)
ten – “dez” (desh)
twenty – “vinte”
thirty – “trinta”
fourty – “quarenta” (kwarenta)
fifty – “cinquenta” (sinkwenta)
sixty – “seisenta” (saysenta)
seventy – “seisenta” (saysenta)
eighty – “oitenta” (oytenta)
ninety – “noventa”
one hundred – “cem” (sem)
half a kilo – “meio quilo” (mayo kilo)
200 grams – “duzentas gramas”
If you are buying sliced meats or cheeses you can either ask for it by weight or by the number of slices that you want, for instance:
“Seis fatias” (saysh fatee-ash) six slices; se faz favor (se fash fav-or) please.
Vegetarians and Vegans in Vilamoura
For those who adopt a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle, traditional Portuguese restaurants in Vilamoura can be a bit limiting. You won’t find many Portuguese vegetarians or vegans in the Algarve at the moment, and the understanding of vegetarianism has only really been introduced by tourists over recent years. Explaining a vegan diet is still a little hard in most places! It is always worth asking if they can prepare you a vegetarian or vegan dish as we have found some restaurants to be only too happy to oblige.
Chinese and Indian restaurants normally have quite a few dishes on their menus suitable for vegetarians and vegans if you are looking for more variety.
Useful phrases for vegetarians and vegans eating out in Vliamoura
- “Eu sou vegetariano” – I am a vegetarian
- “Eu sou vegano” – I am a vegan
- “Você poderia me prepara um prato sem carne ,peixe, derivados do leite ou ovos por favor?” – Can you make a dish without meat, fish, dairy products or eggs please?
- “Eu não como carne, peixe ou frango” – I don’t eat meat, fish or chicken
- “Eu não como queijo” – I don’t eat cheese
- “Você tem algum prato vegetariano” – Do you have any vegetarian dishes?
- “Eu como ovos, leite e queijo” – I eat eggs, milk and cheese
- “Eu não como ovos, leite ou queijo” – I do not eat eggs, milk or cheese
- “Isso tem algum produto animal?” – does it contain any animal products?
- “Café sem leite” – coffee without milk
- “Eu não como nada preparado com gordura animal” – I don’t eat anything cooked with animal fat
There is a word for “vegan” in the Portuguese language but it is so seldom used that no one seems to understand what it means! To qualify what you say, it is probably best to say “eu sou vegano, eu não como carne, peixe, ovos, leite ou queijo (derivados do leite) ou nada produto animal”.