Having just booked a last-minute holiday to Bulgaria next month (whoop, whoop!), I’ve been thinking back over my memories from my most recent getaway to Portugal, when I visited Lagos, Algarve for the third time. As I’ve got to know the town so well over the past few years, I thought it was about time I wrote something about where to eat out when you visit Lagos.
Here is my guide to the best restaurants in Lagos, Algarve:
1) Mamma Mia Restaurante and Pizzeria
Rua Portas de Portugal No. 41, Lagos | +351 282 762 231
Conveniently at the heart of the town centre next to the square, Mamma Mia Restaurante and Pizzeria serves mind-blowing authentic Italian food. I discovered Mamma Mia whilst on my first holiday to Lagos back in 2012 and I can still remember how good the pasta bake tasted back then.
Visiting the restaurant for a second time in December, I opted for the rigatoni al forne; al dente rigatoni pasta in a rich, creamy cheese dotted with chunks of ham in a clay earthenware dish, topped with mozzarella and finished off under the grill. The dish was served so hot, it was still bubbling for a good two minutes after it was placed in front of me.
Meanwhile, my guest’s tortelloni four formaggio consisted of handmade cheesy tortelloni in a mildly tangy, silky sauce; another steal at just €4.50.
2) Delhi Darbar
Largo das Portas de Portugal No. 14 | Opposite Repsol Avenida, Lagos 8600-657 | +351 282 762 249
Admittedly, a spicy curry is probably the last thing you’d want to eat whilst holidaying in sunny Lagos. I went to Delhi Darbar for a Christmas Eve curry in December, when the weather wasn’t as glorious.
We shared saag paneer, garlic chicken curry and pilau rice. The saag was aromatic and earthy, brimming with cubes of paneer, while the garlic chicken curry (which wasn’t on the menu but was made to order at our request) consisted of tender tandoori grilled chicken in a heavy, piquant sauce – like garlic-infused chicken tikka masala.
At the end of our meal, we were presented with traditional Indian breath freshener in the form of candied cumin seeds. I had only seen these for the first time when I visited India a month before and if I hadn’t known what they were, I would’ve thought they were some kind of sweet or candy.
3) Restaurante Piri Piri
Rua Lima Leitão, 15, 8600 Lagos, Portugal | +351 282 763 803
No visit to Portugal is truly complete until you’ve polished off some piri piri chicken. In Lagos, it doesn’t get much better than Restaurante Piri Piri. As you can guess, this restaurant specialises in piri piri chicken, alongside regional favourites like cataplanas (seafood dish popular in the Algarve), fish, shellfish and steak dishes.
The chicken is cooked according to your preferred level of spice, and is accompanied by a selection of peri peri sauces for dipping/pouring. It only cost me around €10 for juicy peri peri chicken, homemade crinkle-cut chips and a side salad, with a glass of coke.
4) Restaurante D.Henrique
Rua 25 de Abril 75, 8600-763 Lagos, Portugal | +351 282 763 563
My most memorable meal in Lagos was at Restaurant D.Henrique; not just because it was the first time I’d eaten Christmas dinner away from home whilst on holiday, but also because it was top quality food with star service to match.
An impressive tuna carpaccio (€9.85) combined thin slivers of tuna with peppery rocket, Azores cheese and pink peppercorns, drizzled with a tangy vinaigrette.
Equally as eye-catching, the smoked salmon and smoked swordfish duet (€9.85) consisted of succulent salmon and swordfish slices rolled up to form pinwheels, garnished with capers, basil and a wedge of lemon.
Meaty main courses upheld the high expectations set by our starter courses, although we missed tucking into a traditional Christmas roast dinner with all the trimmings. A rack of lamb was cooked medium-rare to order, served with steamed veg and ‘Baker-style’ potatoes (the potato was scooped out from the skin, mixed with cheese and then replaced), priced at €19.25.
Opposite from me at the table a thick, lean beef fillet steak was smothered in a velvety mushroom, smoked ham and onion sauce, served with steamed veg and Baker-style potatoes (€17.90).
5) O’Amigo Snack Bar
Urbanizacão Costa de Ouro, Lote 24 Cave, Lagos, Portugal | +351 282 761 279
O’Amigo Snack Bar is a traditional, cosy pub offering a range of Portuguese and British beers, wines and spirits. Bar man, Miguel is one of the friendliest people I’ve ever met and he always seems to have a smile on his face. Whenever I visit Lagos, I always make a point of going to see him at the O’Amigo Snack Bar.
Throughout the summer months, the pub also serves light snacks and speciality dishes. When I went to Lagos in July last year, I fell in love with prawns Amigo (€10.80); large king prawns cooked in extra virgin olive oil, garlic, chilli, white wine, parsley and brandy. I enjoyed this dish so much, I tried to recreate it myself when I got home – read all about my attempt here.
6) Fools and Horses
Rua António Barbosa Viana, 8600-302 Lagos, Portugal | +351 282 762 970
Established over 25 years ago by Londoners, this pub is named after the popular British TV sitcom featuring Derek ‘Del Boy’ Trotter and his brother, Rodney.
Fools and Horses is my go-to if I start to miss homely comfort food whilst in Lagos. Think fish and chips, pie of the day, liver and bacon with mash, burgers, steaks and more. All washed down with a pint of lager, of course.
My recommendation would be to order the fish and chips (€8); it’s just like visiting a decent chippy back home. A large, boneless cod fillet is encased in an incredibly crisp and bubbly batter, served with rustic golden brown, fluffy-centred chips. Admittedly, the peas had dried up as they’d been kept warm in the oven for too long, but I was too focused on the fish and chips to worry about that.
7) Carvi Beach Hotel
Alameda Dr. Armando Soares Ribeiro, Praia Dona Ana, 8600-500 Lagos, Portugal | +351 282 762 026
Even if you’re not actually staying at the hotel, you’re still very welcome to dine at the rooftop terrace restaurant as a guest. The restaurant overlooks the award-winning Praia dona Ana beach, once named the best beach in the world by Conde Naste Traveler magazine; so needless to say, the views are breath-taking. The menu hinges upon Portuguese dishes like grilled fish and shell fish. Meanwhile, the bar serves a good variety of beers, wines and spirits and there is an experienced mixologist on-hand to mix cocktails.
I’m not the biggest fan of pork and I was apprehensive about trying clams because I’m a bit squeamish about certain kinds of seafood, but the pork and clams had a delicious, meaty flavour which left me wanting more, while the clams weren’t too tough or chewy as I’d imagined they would be.
8) Restaurante Caravela
Rua 25 de Abril 8, 8600-763 Lagos, Portugal | +351 917 364 080
I have sentimental memories of my first visit to Restaurante Caravela on my 21st birthday (a fair few years ago now!), so it was lovely to return to the restaurant again whilst in Lagos in December.
A large hunk of moist, meaty tuna was grilled with olive oil and garlic, and served with boiled new potatoes, steamed carrots, sprouts and side salad (approx €13).
While an enormous portion of slightly cheesy, creamy spaghetti carbonara (approx €10) was polished off effortlessly.
9) Café Oceano
Rua da Porta de Portugal 5-7, Lagos 8600-701, Portugal | +351 282 762 126
Perched next to Lagos town square, Café Oceano is the perfect place to go for a spot of lunch after a stroll through the winding, cobbled streets or along the marina. The menu offers authentic Portuguese light meals, sandwiches and salads, as well as sweet treats like ice cream, waffles and crepes.
The ‘Pink Salad’ is a colourful combination of smoked salmon, orange, rocket, red onion and coriander, drizzled with a creamy dressing. It tastes great – especially when paired with a glass of fruity sangria.
So, if you’re planning a getaway to Lagos, Algarve this summer, now you know exactly where to go for a bite to eat!
Where’s your favourite holiday destination for irresistible food? Leave your thoughts in the comment box below.