The gastronomy of Monte Gordo, and the eastern end of the Algarve generally, revolves around fish, seafood and pork. Tuna is especially important and most menus will include some tuna dishes – simply grilled, cooked with onions and tomatoes, in rissoles or on pizza!
Cataplanas (normally include monkfish, cod, prawns, and clams amongst other fish) cooked in the sealed vessel to keep all the flavors in; risotto style dishes with seafood and /or fish; straightforward grilled sardines with boiled potatoes or a salad or just some fresh bread – there are endless variations in the restaurants.
‘Papas de milho’ is maize flour cooked with water (corn mush) and often combined with small clams (conquilhas), chouriço or toucinho (smoked bacon) and is a popular dish across the Algarve.
Gaspacho soup as a cool ‘starter’ on a hot summer’s day is just as much a part of the menu in the Algarve as in it’s neighbour, Spain.
Desserts centre around the favourite ingredients of almonds, figs, and eggs – figs stuffed with almonds and cinnamon and toasted in the oven; ‘Bolos de amêndoa’ – little cakes made with marzipan and a sweet egg-based filling are typical.
Monte Gordo has restaurants and cafés to suit all tastes – traditional Portuguese, Italian, Chinese, international – you really can’t go wrong!
There are restaurants and bars in abundance along the beach; more along the main Avenida behind the beach and more again in the streets leading off it. There is plenty of room for everyone as most of the restaurants have sizeable inside areas as well as plenty of seating outside.
For those who adopt a vegetarian lifestyle, traditional Portuguese restaurants can be a bit limiting. You won’t find many Portuguese vegetarians in the Algarve at the moment and the understanding of vegetarianism has only really been introduced by tourists over recent years.
Although most of the local restaurants do offer vegetable soup, olives, omelets and salads, this can obviously get a little restrictive if you are staying for a week or longer. It is always worth asking if they can prepare you a vegetarian dish as we have found some restaurants to be only too happy to oblige.
If you fancy a bit of variety, try restaurants offering international cuisine. The Algarve has lots of Chinese, Indian, Italian and Mediterranean restaurants to choose from and they can be great for different vegetarian options. For vegans, it can be very difficult (or certainly restrictive) to eat out in the Algarve.
Although restaurants are catering for vegetarians, most dishes include cheese and eggs and it’s hard to escape foods with any dairy products in them, so you’ll often be faced with the single option of another salad!