What Foods Should I Try in Southern Portugal?

When you think of the Algarve, you likely picture sunny skies, twinkling turquoise seas, beautiful beaches, and picturesque towns and villages. But the golden shores of Southern Portugal are also home to a wide, varied, and mouthwatering cuisine.

With a rich maritime heritage, seafood is at the heart of our culinary scene, but our region provides a bounty of fresh and delicious ingredients, all of which come together to create delectable dishes.

We take food seriously here in the Algarve. Every bite tells a tale of tradition and local passion. Much like our Ria Formosa boat tours and outdoor activities in Faro, exploring our cuisine is a fantastic way to connect with the heart of Southern Portugal.

Scroll down to find some of our picks for the food you should try in the Algarve. And if you have any questions about our tours, activities, or equipment rentals in Faro, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

bacalhau market

Sample Bacalhau, One of Portugal’s National Dishes

Our culinary journey starts with a dish that’s practically a national treasure in Portugal – bacalhau. The Algarve, being no exception, offers an array of ways to prepare this dried, salted cod. Whether it’s the comforting bacalhau à brás, a blend of shredded cod with onions and potatoes, or the hearty bacalhau à lagareiro, baked cod with potatoes, onion, and garlic, your taste buds are in for a treat. 

And that’s only the beginning! There’s bacalhau com natas, pasteis de bacalhau, pataniscas de bacalhau, arroz de bacalhau, and many more! No matter which towns in the Algarve you visit, you will find bacalhau-based dishes.

Cod became a staple due to its ability to withstand long sea voyages, so each bite is a nod to Portugal’s long-standing connection with the sea.

Caldeirada de Peixe is a Succulent Fish Stew

For another taste of the Algarve’s maritime heritage, seek out Caldeirada de Peixe. This fisherman’s stew is a symphony of flavours, featuring fish and other seafood, potatoes, tomatoes, and onions. 

With its roots deeply embedded in coastal communities, each spoonful is a journey through our region’s seafaring past. Imagine the scent of the ocean and the warmth of the sun in every bite – that’s the essence of Caldeirada de Peixe.

peri-peri chicken

Turn Up the Heat with Some Peri-Peri Chicken

As you explore the winding streets and sun-kissed squares of Faro and the Algarve, make a pitstop for some peri-peri chicken. This dish embodies the Algarve’s spicy side, with succulent grilled chicken marinated in a fiery blend of chilli peppers, garlic, and spices. 

Whether you like it mild or crave a bit of heat, peri-peri chicken is a must-try, reflecting our love affair with bold and vibrant flavours. And as yet another simple but delicious dish, you can rest assured that eating well is one of many budget-friendly things to do in Faro and the Algarve.

Sardinhas Assadas

Try Another Portuguese Staple — Sardinhas Assadas 

A trip to the Algarve is incomplete without indulging in the beautiful simplicity of grilled sardines, known locally as sardinhas assadas. Freshly caught and expertly grilled, these sardines are beloved, delicious, and healthy. 

Whether enjoyed on one of Faro’s best beaches or at a quaint seaside eatery anywhere in the Algarve, this dish is a celebration of Southern Portugal’s coastal charm, where the sea meets the plate in perfect harmony.


Enjoy the Tasty Simplicity of Cataplana

Step into a world of culinary craftsmanship with cataplana. This unique dish takes its name from the copper pot in which it’s cooked, and it’s a star of the Algarve food scene. Whether it’s the seafood variety with clams, prawns, mussels, and fish, or a meat-based alternative, cataplana showcases the Algarve’s commitment to flavour, tradition, and a touch of theatricality in the kitchen.

Ameijoas à Bulhão Pato

Take Your Time and Cherish Ameijoas à Bulhão Pato

Seaside bliss continues with ameijoas à bulhão pato, a dish that marries the briny goodness of clams with the aromatic allure of garlic, coriander, olive oil, and white wine. Close your eyes, and you can almost hear the waves as you savour this delightful concoction. 

It’s a dish that embodies the laid-back coastal lifestyle, where good food isn’t just savoured, it’s a celebration of life itself.

Are you looking for inspiration for other areas of your trip? Our blog 10 Fun Things to Do in Faro in Just One Day is the perfect place to start! 

Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth with Dom Rodrigo and Morgado

For those with a sweet tooth, the Algarve has you covered. Dom Rodrigo, a sweet concoction of almonds and egg yolks, and Morgado, a fig and almond cake, reflect the region’s affection for sweet indulgences. These treats are the perfect way to sweeten the end of every meal in true local style.

red wine

Pair Your Food with Exceptional Regional Wines

Let’s raise a glass to the Algarve’s culinary delights with a sip of some regional wine. From crisp whites crafted from local grapes like Verdelho to robust reds boasting the flavours of Touriga Nacional and Trincadeira, the Algarve’s wine scene is a delightful surprise. 

Explore local vineyards, savour the terroir, and toast to the good life with wines that perfectly pair with the region’s diverse culinary offerings.

Enjoying local dishes with wonderful wine is one of our picks for the best things to do in Faro at night.

Ria Formosa Marina Faro

Take Your Algarve Adventure Further with Ria Formosa Boat Tours

If our recommendations for foods you need to try in Southern Portugal have made you hungry for more, turn your attention to another of the Algarve’s gems — Ria Formosa Natural Park.

Our range of Ria Formosa boat tours takes you into the heart of this wetland of international importance. Led by expert local guides, excursions with Formosamar are fun, fascinating, and eco-friendly.

If you have any pre-booking questions for our team, please get in touch for the answers you need.

Open chat
Scan the code
Hello 👋 How can we help you today?