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Relish Portugese cuisine in Algarve
The Algarve has a variety of international restaurants catering for tourists but they are rarely as good or inexpensive as their Portuguese equivalents.
Local starters include fish soup, fresh cheese, smoked ham
and smoked swordfish - a little like smoked salmon but
with a grainier texture and less sweet.
Fish plays an important part in the Portuguese diet and delicious seafood is always available. Try the Atlantic white tuna which is leagues better than its brown-fleshed cousin, and if you like your fish ultra fresh, many restaurants invite diners to select their own live shellfish from a tank. As fish are priced on weight though, be clear about the cost.
As per the famed spicy chicken piri-piri, many Portuguese dishes benefit from the country's colonial ties. The colonial influence is also evident at Goa-style curry restaurants and Macau-style Chinese ones.
Meat, poultry and game are usually grilled, fried or barbecued.
The Algarve has a ready supply of almonds and figs, so try the cakes for dessert. Alternatives will include rice pudding, crème caramel, ice cream and fine cheeses.
Many restaurants offer an ementa turistica (tourist menu). This includes a choice of dishes with a glass of beer or a half-bottle of wine.
Portuguese house wines (Vinho da Casa) are uniformly good. You need only ask for tinto (red) or branco (white) and you cannot go wrong. An alternative is vinho verde (green wine), which is a young white wine, slightly fizzy, light and delicious. Don't forget Vinho do Porto (port) and Madeira fortified wines.
TYPICAL MEALS AND COSTS
A three-course meal with coffee in a Portuguese restaurant is likely to cost around 15 -20 euros per person.
Below are three typical three-course meals and their costs, including one for vegetarians. Wine starts at around 11 euros per bottle with a medium glass of house wine costing around 3 euros.
Starter: Smoked Ham
Main course: Sole fillets with almond sauce
Dessert: Almond tart
Main course: Grilled chicken piri-piri
Dessert: Caramel pudding
Starter: Chef's salad
Main course: Mushroom stroganoff
Although the majority of menus will have English translations, here are some useful Portuguese words to help you along:
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