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Marias

Name of establishment

Maria’s, Almancil

Style and ambience

Modern, light and airy beach restaurant which makes the most of its superb location and views, with much of the space given over to the open-plan terrace, complete with canopy. There’s also inside restaurant seating, a comfy shaded chill-out lounge for drinks or coffee, and a bar.

There’s an obvious blue and white nautical feel to the decor, but it’s by no means kitsch: the stripped pine and glass combine with the subtle finishing touches to give it the type of classy beach-bar feel you’d expect to find in the Golden Triangle.

What to eat?

The cuisine is international with a Portuguese flavour, and should appeal across the board.

Typical starters include squid, calamari, prawns, clams and, for those playing it a little safer, prawn cocktail or parma ham with melon.

Fish, naturally, features heavily on the mains menu. There’s a catch-of-the-day specials board, plus monkfish rice, prawn curry and cataplana. Meat lovers have a choice including chicken piri-piri, Aberdeen Angus beef burger, black pork, lamb cutlets and fillet steak, whilst there are also pasta and salad options.

Desserts include daily specials plus ice cream, fruit, cheesecake, chocolate mousse and a sharing platter of homemade cakes, fruit and ice cream.

As it’s right on the beach, the restaurant is understandably popular with families, so also has an extensive children’s menu, and can serve half portions of most of the dishes from the full menu.

What to drink?

There’s a good selection of red, white, rosé, vinho verde and sparkling wines, mainly from Portugal but with the occasional interloper. The well-stocked bar serves a wide range of beers, spirits, cocktails and soft drinks, and there’s a small champagne selection if you’re in a celebratory mood.

Why do you like it?

Maria’s describes itself as a beach restaurant by day and a restaurant by the beach by night, and you can’t argue with that. As beachside locations in the Golden Triangle go, there are few better.

Worth knowing

Given its location, this is obviously popular with holidaymakers and expatriates. If you’re looking for an authentic ‘Portuguese’ experience, then this is probably not the place for you.

When to go?

When the sun is shining! Or to catch the sunset. As with many beach restaurants, the experience can feel a bit ‘flat’ if it’s a cloudy day. Luckily we don’t get too many of those in the Algarve. As the restaurant also has the beach concession, it can also serve drinks and a selected menu direct to your sunbed.

Insider knowledge

Maria's is one of the longest-established beach restaurants in the area. Maria and her husband retired in 2012, and the restaurant is now run by partners William Scott and Miguel Campina (of the Alambique restaurant family) along with their wives Angela and Harriet. They have kept the name, and the essence of the place, and have simply added a few new touches and ideas, to ensure the restaurant appeals to customers old and new.

Location

Praia do Garrão Poente, between Vale do Lobo and Quinta do Lago.

GPS: 37.044118, -8.057249

Plenty of parking. It's free for much of the year, but the local council try to screw the tourists in summer by enforcing the pay-and-display system.

Price guide

Starters from €4-€16

Salads from €9-€12

Mains from €13-€24

Fish priced by kg

Desserts from €2.50-€12

Wine from €12-€55, with most in the €18-€29 range

Spirits from €6.50

Liquors from €4.50

Beer from €2.50

Soft drinks from €2.25

Opening times

Seven days a week, for lunch and dinner, from 12 noon


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