• During our visit to Albufeira, we were looking for a place to pee for our kid, we stumbled on this place called Sal Rosa. It was an a bsolutely fabulous cosy bar, terrace overlooking the beautiful sea and fantastic beach. Sal Rosa has great views, great cocktails, great playlists and pure artistry.

    Sal Rosa is a great place for a pre dinner or post dinner drink, and to watch the sun go down. Sal Rosa is the kind of address you wish to keep it for yourselves and above all it is run by a wonderful young and very nice lady.

    Sal Rosa is one of the kind of address and a must do in Albufeira!

     

     

     

    Sal Rosa

    Praca Miguel Bombarda 2,

    Albufeira 8200-076, Portugal

    Tel: +351 289 513 089

     

     

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  • Al Quimia was one of the two high end restaurants in Algarve that we really wanted to try, but when we called to make the reservation, we were told that, unfortunately, they do not accept kids under 12 years old.

    After explaining who we are and that our 10-year-old son is very much used to eating at premium places Michelin-starred restaurants they finally gave in to our request under one (costly) condition: our son would have to get the degustation menu just like us. We find it really too bad that high end venues like Al Quimia or five-star hotels like Epic Sana are not kids friendly. They should understand that gourmet children like our son are their future clients…

    But let’s talk about Luis Mourão’s cuisine at Al Quimia: for our dinner on October 21, 2020 we opted for the menu Floodplain which consists of seven dishes plus the usual amuse-bouche and mignardises.

    The first amuse-bouche, the faux olive and carrots served in a small garden pot, was amazing in terms of flavors, and technique also. The rest of the menu was wonderful: from the Black Angus to the mushroom-looking brioches served with three different textures of mushrooms; or from the duck with purple cabbage and pumpkin to the lamb with truffles cooked two different ways. Last but not least, the desserts: citrus with basil and carrot pickles, and orelys mushroom and pear were the perfect ending to this very nice culinary journey proposed by Luis Mourão and his team.

    The wine list was extremely interesting and reasonable in their price range. Wine pairing also available.

    Al Quimia obviously has the ambition to obtain their first Michelin star. Our experience with them convinced us that indeed they do deserve it, for their creative and well-conceived menu, and for the refined setting and ambiance.

    The service was nice and knowledgeable. However, client service needs to be improved. When our son accidentally popped the faux olive bonbon, spilling its juice on the table, the waiting staff continued to bring the dishes as if nothing had happened, and did not do anything about the stained napkin until we asked them to. They need to fix that if they really want that first Michelin Star...

     

    Al Quimia

    Epic Sana Algarve Hotel

    Pinhal do Concelho, Praia da Falésia,
    Olhos de Água
    8200-593 Albufeira, Portugal

    Tel : +351 289 104 300

    www.algarve.epic.sanahotels.com/en/restaurants-bars/al-quimia/#restaurant

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  • One of our main goals during our trip to Algarve was to go to eat at Sao Gabriel in Amancil, the one star Michelin restaurant of Chef Leonel Pereira, but we learned that he had closed it to open a new concept called Check-In, in Faro. So we decided to go check out Check-in!

    This new concept can be defined by three criteria:

     

          1. Informal and accessible refined cuisine for all

          2. The best seasonal ingredients and produces from Algarve and other Portuguese regions

          3. Sustainability, to manage and caliber the food waste.

     

    We actually had to walk through a kind of run down and funky area of Faro to find the place, but once inside we had a warm welcome by our host Delfim João and the sommelier, Victor.

     

    The menu is divided in five categories :

          1. Check-in “Snacks”

          2. Cooked in Pot “Snacks”

          3. Traditional “Snacks”

          4. Special Moments “Snacks”

          5. Check-Out “Snacks”

     

    For Check-in “Snack” we chose the salmon tartar with capers, celery, “buddha's hand” cider, ginger and dry squid oil, and Foie gras sauté (1 unit of 80g.) quince compote and shimeji mushrooms. Both dishes were amazing, incredible flavorful and perfectly cooked.

     

    For the Cooked in Pot “Snacks” we selected the tuna belly “Portuguese style” with potatoes, onions, olives and pickles, and the Secretos of Iberian pork with prawns and Padron peppers. Once again it was wonderfully prepared and cooked.

     

    The best dish was without a doubt his signature dish from his Sao Gabriel days: Squid and crayfish with black ink risotto. This dish was a knock-out in terms of flavors and textures, every ingredient was so tasty and masterfully cooked. Amazing. Even better than the risottos we used to have at Aoko Maoki, a French restaurant with a Japanese chef, that used to be near the Champs-Elysées in Paris and is now closed (unfortunately).

     

    We finished our dinner with a light and tasteful Check-Out “Snacks”: Greek yogurt and cottage cheese mousse, vanilla violet ice cream.

     

    The wine list was concise and well sourced, but we recommend that you let Victor, the expert sommelier, guide you through it as we did.

     

    The service by Delfim João and Victor was smooth and instructive.

     

    We really enjoyed the new concept by Leonel Pereira and his team. The setting is modest but the cooking is ambitious and good. Most of all, the chef and his team make it worth the trip. So come to check out “Check-In” this cozy, warm and delicious place. You won’t regret it.

     

    Check-In

    Ave Da Republica 40

    8000-255 Faro

    Tel : +351 968 070 776

     www.restaurantecheckin

     

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  • For our first trip abroad since January (courtesy of Covid-19), we chose the region of Algarve, Portugal to spend our fall holidays in this period of pandemic.

    Algarve is an ideal spot for a week of holidays: sun, blue skies, wonderful beaches, beautiful landscapes, very good food and restaurants and most of all the Portuguese people are so nice.

    We chose to stay at the Anantara Vilamoura Resort to check out the first luxury hotel of the Minor group in Europe.

    The building itself is of contemporary design with an elegant, sober and chic ambiance. The hotel has a view and a direct access to the Oceanico golf course designed by the legendary Arnold Palmer. The lobby is luminous and aerial with a big tree in the middle, “planted” by a local artist to welcome the guests.

    Our check-in was smooth and nicely handled by Elodie, a French native.

    Our Deluxe Garden Room had nice proportions and included a large bathroom that was ingeniously separated from the room by a series of sliding doors and screens, creating an open plan, bright space during the day, or an intimate mood-lit bathroom for a relaxing soak in the tub. It also had a large balcony with a sofa bed to relax and chill.

    Our breakfast at the Victoria restaurant (indoor or on the terrace) was nice and had a good offer, be it slightly reduced due to Covid. The service was friendly and warm.

    To be fair, due to the current Covid-19 situation, we have to say that not everything in this five-star hotel is on par with some of their Asian counterparts.

    We brought it up to the hotel General Manager, Marta Pinto, who said they are doing the best they can in these singular and unprecedented circumstances. Here are the few things that, in our opinion, should be reviewed and changed at the Anantara Vilamoura Resort even in this period of Covid-19 crisis:

          1. The hotel should not charge 1;5€ for the Nespresso capsules that are in the room, at least two capsules a day should be included in the room daily rate

          2. The kid's club was closed - even though kids are less likely to spread the disease

          3. The gastronomic restaurant, Emo, and the seafood restaurant, Ria, were both closed which was too surprising as six miles away the Epic Sana Hotel kept his restaurants open

          4. In terms of sustainability, there is a big difference between theory and reality: the pool bar still uses plastic straws and glasses apparently to comply with local policies (if that is so then those policies need to be amended)

          5. For room entertainment, the hotel charges 10€ for a movie on demand

          6. We noticed that the cushion of one of the couches in the corridor on our floor was stained and dirty

    The Anantara Vilamoura Hotel probably deserves another visit - post Covid-19 - to see its full potential as a luxury resort.

     

    Anantara Vilamoura

    Av dos Descobrimentos nº 0

    8125-309 Vilamoura

    Algarve, Portugal

    Tel: +351 289 317 000

    www.anantara.com/fr/vilamoura-algarve

    Anantara Vilamoura

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