I see myself as something of a foodie and, when I go away on holiday, there's nothing that I like doing more than to sample the cuisine of the places that I visit. On a recent trip to the Algarve I spent some time in the bustling city of Faro and found it simply amazing!
Given its coastal location, I don't think it will come as too much of a surprise that fresh fish and seafood are major ingredients in many of the local dishes. However, there are ample opportunities for both meat lovers and vegetarians to enjoy great-tasting fare. If you're considering going on a food-focused getaway - like I did when I recently took a flight to Faro with Monarch
- here's a look at some of the specialities to sample and top restaurants to eat at.
First of all, let's consider what delicacies this part of Portugal has to provide. Octopus features in lots of local dishes, so I certainly recommend that you give it a go. You can have it fried or grilled over charcoal (the latter being one of the most popular methods of cooking in the area), though I found it was particularly tasty in feijoadas, a traditional stew that also consists of kidney beans and vegetables.
Other dishes that I recommend you try are shellfish cataplanas - which a cooked in a deep copper pan known as a cataplana - and carne de porco com ameijoas, a combination of pork and clams.
If you've got something of a sweet tooth (like I do!), you should make the effort to try fig cheese. Despite its name, this isn't made from dairy and is actually a dessert. This traditional Algarve cake consists of figs, cinnamon, arbutus berries, cocoa and lemon - among other ingredients - and is often accompanied with a glass of Aguardente de Medronho, a local brandy that contains arbutus.
Pudim flan (which is the local version of creme caramel) and pasteis de nata, which is a type of creamy, custard tart, are some of the other popular desserts in the region, with many local sweet treats containing honey, figs and almonds.
Now that I've looked at some of Faro's best bites, I'm going to give you some information about a few of its top restaurants. I am quite certain that you will find the following to be great places to tuck into authentic Algarve delicacies.
Established in 1925, this eatery has long been at the heart of the city's culinary scene. This is a great place to try traditional local fare and, as is the case with many other establishments, it offers a wide range of fresh fish and seafood dishes. Among these is monkfish and shrimp kebab, grilled cuttlefish and squid kebab with prawns.
Head to Adega Nova and you'll get the chance to dine in a countryside-style restaurant which features a high-beamed ceiling and communal tables. There's a real focus on local fare here, with dogfish stew and seafood rice among the dishes on offer.
This is just a taster of the great food that Faro has to offer. There's so much more to devour, so why not tell us what you want to taste when you visit the city by leaving a comment below?