Restaurants and local dining habits
The most important meal in Portugal is lunch, it’s called: almoço. The daily routine comes to a complete stop between 1 and 3 pm. Shops and offices close and the parking places in front of the restaurants are filled. The importance of the Almoço is partially caused by the employer who in most cases pays for the meal. The extended lunchbreak means the normal working hours are longer than Northern Europe, on average they start before 8 am and continue well beyond 6 pm.
Roughly between 5 and 7 pm it’s time for “lanch” a kind of snack, this is comparable to high tea but less common and less extensive. It is meant to cover the appetite between lunch and dinner. The dinner, called Jantar, is served from 7 pm onwards. This is when the restaurants open. When we arrived here we found many closed door at 6:30 pm.
“Paragem” – 800 metres
On the N17, at the crossing to our little paradise you find a Galp service station, snack bar and restaurant, called “Paragem” (bus stop). The food in the restaurant is simple but well prepared and very tasteful. The “prato de dia” (daily platter, consisting of soup, main dish and dessert) will set you back only 15 euro’s for two including a small carafe of wine.
Disadvantage, they only serve lunch, we have not yet seen them serving dinner as well. The “snack bar” next door is open longer but doesn’t have the same quality. Closed on Mondays.
Gota de Agua – 6 km
On the shores on the Alva, just on the edge of the county of Mouronho you find this quality restaurant with a good, typical Portuguese cuisine.
This is the nearest town, approximately 10km away. There are several places that you can enjoy a good meal, for instance:
A Grelha: This is a very fine grill restaurant with a great BBQ vealsteak.We also liked the “panados de porco recheados” (pork with cheese and ham).
Azzuro: A simple and cheap Italian restaurant.
Impala: Just before Arganil in Sarzedo you find a quality Portuguese restaurant with good servings.
Coja - 13 km
In this beautiful place on the river Alva you can have a very good dinner at Churrasqueira Fernandes. This is also the local butcher so you can guess the meat is great here! They have a nice terrace facing west so you can enjoy the sunset.
Lagar do Alva:
An excellent restaurant located at the “praia fluvial”of Coja. The unsolicited served appetizers are extensive and delicious. There is a wonderful terrace overlooking the river Alva.
Tàbua - 11 km
Tàbua has the most restaurants in our area, a few are:
O Toino Moleiro, Tonio is well known in this region for his steaks, so you can have a great meal here. There is no terrace and there is nothing cosy or fancy about the place but the quality more than compensates. The price is also a bit higher than elsewhere, a 2 person dinner easily sets you back 35 euro's but that includes a carafe of wine, bread and olives and a coffee.
O Algulhas, recently modernized. The mixed grill and “bife vitela com alho” (sirloin steak with garlic) are recommended but be free to try something else and please let us know if you liked it.
O Barbas, cute restaurant with some atmosphere, the eternal television is no exception here but the tablecloths and granite walls make up for it. Sometimes over-enthusiastic with the salt but the food is of a good quality.
O Caçador, for the budget traveler. A real local Portuguese restaurant, with very cheap and good food. The grilled salmon is absolutely delicious. Only think twice before you order the “lula”. This squid is more like rubber tube.
Papo Seco, A very decent Pizza place, well known and appreciated for already 25 years!
George and Dragon (8 km) on the N17
English pub in the midst of rural Portugal, for your typical English ales and pub meals. One of the few places that have a nice outside terrace!
Italian and Indian Palace (17 km) on the N17
A remarkable combination, Italian and Indian cuisine. We cannot comment on the Italian menu yet but the Indian dishes are outstanding. The Chicken Korma is legendary here and the red house wine is as smooth as silk.
Pizzeria l’Artista (22 km) on the N17
They call themselves pizzeria but they are far more than that. It’s one of the better restaurants around, especially with regards to presentation. No big screen television mounted on the wall. Nice tables and cosy lighting. A very good menu and outstanding waiters, some multilingual. Better quality comes with higher prices.
Restaurante Quinta de Cabriz (36 km) Carregal do Sal
You need to drive a bit further but this is a quality restaurant. Are you celebrating something or you just want to have a gastronomic treat then this is the place to be. Real table linen, live music and outstanding service.
The Asian menu
We really love Asian cuisine. Unfortunately it’s hard to find in our part of Portugal. As described above, we found one Indian place. For real Chinese or Japanese food however you need to cover some distance. If you want to take the effort we advise you to combine this with a daytrip to, for example, Aveiro or Coimbra. In both cities we know the best local Chinese and Japanese restaurants.
For all the above mentioned restaurants: Please ask us for directions or advice.