Name of establishment
A Terra - Vila Monte, Moncarapacho
Style and ambience
In keeping with the ethos of the hotel, A Terra restaurant is inspired by nature and local traditions, both in its look and its menu. Light, open and spacious, with large glass windows out onto the terrace and gardens, it has the feel of an upmarket garden centre restaurant, Portuguese-style. The menu is a blend of traditional recipes and modern interpretations, with the emphasis on fresh, local produce and ingredients: meat, fruit and vegetables from nearby farms, fish and seafood from the Algarve coast, and herbs from the hotel’s own garden.
From snacks and light meals through to full lunch and dinner menus, with dishes reflecting the best that Portugal has to offer. There’s a Josper grill, a wood-burning oven, and a talented team of chefs producing everything from salads, pizzas and cheese/charcuterie boards to upmarket versions of Portuguese favourites such as bacalhau, fish rice, suckling pig, cataplana and steaks, as well as an extensive vegetarian menu, home-made desserts and a kids’ menu.
Local ingredients such as olive oil, flor de sal, figs, carobs, oranges, mushrooms, aubergines, tomatoes and coriander are particular features of the menu, with the sharing of dishes encouraged to enable you to broaden your horizons.
Pre-order and chef is also happy to prepare a full tasting menu, whilst large groups can book a set lunch menu or set evening buffet.
An exceptional choice (a 14-page list) of Portuguese wines and ports, plus of course a full range of beers, spirits, cocktails and hot & cold drinks.
Why do you like it?
It’s authentic, honours local traditions, and offers exceptional quality - a true gem in the eastern Algarve.
When to go?
Continuous all-day service and a wide menu choice makes it ideal for breakfast (if you’re staying in the hotel), brunch, lunch or dinner. The outside terrace is gorgeous when the weather is good, and you can even have a table set up under the trees in the garden.
You can get a sneak preview from the hotel lobby, which houses a shop selling local produce, a display of fruit, vegetables and preserves, and a large picture window that looks into the kitchen.
Having undergone a total haulover in 2015 courtesy of new owners DHM, the hotel has kept the basic infrastructure but is now thankfully a world away from its dowdy and tired previous incarnation.
The hotel address is Sitio dos Caliços, Moncarapacho 8700-069. Coming in on the A22 from the west, take the Olhao/ Moncarapacho turn-off, then follow the sign for Moncarapacho. The hotel is about 2 minutes’ drive on the left-hand side. Walk through the lobby and A Terra is in the right-hand corner.
Sample starters: Egg, mushrooms, muxama and asparagus €8, sharing charcuterie board €20.
Sample mains: Pizzas €9-14, tuna with aubergine, cauliflower and bok choy €20, partridge and clam cataplana (for 2) €38, roast chicken with sweet potatoes €15, steaks €22-32.
Kid’s menu from €4-14.
Sample desserts: coffee mousse with red berries €6.50, chocolate and carob biscuit with lemon verbena ice cream €7.
Most wines are in the region of €18-30 per bottle, more for special reserves and sparkling wines/champagnes.