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Name of establishment

Mariscos e Petiscos, Cabanas


Friendly and unpretentious, a typically Portuguese old-established restaurant, where the emphasis is on substance over style. There's an open kitchen, lots of light, and always a real buzz to the place, with people genuinely enjoying the experience of great food and great company.

What to eat?
Some of the best seafood in the Algarve - or anywhere for that matter. The mariscada, or mixed seafood platter, is amazing - and great value at €32.50 for two people. The couvert is exceptional and more than covers starters. This is serious eating territory. Come hungry and ready for a long and leisurely experience. Large groups come here and share everything, so it is worth following their example.

What to drink?

A good selection of moderately-priced Portuguese wines. Ask for a recommendation for a crisp white or an ice-cold rosé.

The service

Although it's primarily a locals' secret, there's no need to feel intimidated if you're a tourist. The waiters don't bite, most of them speak English, and they're more than happy to guide you through the menu. The portion sizes can be enormous - so the platter for two will easily feed three.

Why do you love it?
For the same reasons the Portuguese, and the many visiting Spanish do: the chance to enjoy a superb meal in an unhurried fashion.

When to go?
Lunchtimes - you can collapse on the beach afterwards. Catch the ferry to the beach on the island in Cabanas from further along the quayside.

Insider knowledge
Its speciality is shellfish, not regular fish! They serve fabulous Arroz de Marisco and also a very unusual prawn curry with palm oil and chestnut. The seafood platter can have some weird and wonderful Portuguese specialities like buzio which resemble sea snails: if you are adventurous go for it, if not they will easily replace them with different types of prawns.

Approx 40 covers - inside only.

Avenida Ria Formosa, on the waterfront in Cabanas near Tavira. Look out for the giant plastic prawn in front of the restaurant! (and we mean giant!)

The mixed seafood platter comes in various-sized servings, averaging around €15 per-person. Individual seafood dishes are similarly priced.