Name of establishment
Monte d’Eira, Clareanes
Set in the hills north of Loulé away from the usual tourist haunts. Traditional, rustic but very comfortable surroundings, more up-market than many of the more run-of-the-mill Portuguese restaurants. In the summer months, you can eat inside or outside on the terrace.
If you wish to have a drink at the bar before you sit to eat, the bar is a separate comfortable room to the right of the main entrance, decorated to the same high standard as the eating area of the restaurant.
This restaurant is especially ideal for occasions, as the owner Pedro makes every effort to accommodate your requirements. Dress style is smart-casual - it would not be appropriate to arrive in beachwear!
The menu is a modern twist on Portuguese cuisine and of a very high standard, always presented in a stylish manner. There’s a wide selection of meat, fish and poultry, with seasonal options such as wild boar and rabbit as well as vegetarian dishes and salads. The menu is constantly updated, but is likely to include popular choices such as black pork, duck rice, lamb in the oven and Portuguese steak. Desserts are again very traditional, with fig, almond and carob featuring prominently, as well as a yummy pear in port speciality.
There is an extensive wine and port list catering for all pockets, and should a chosen wine not be available (very unusual), Pedro will always help make a second choice with a similar character and price. If his choice is a wine you don’t like, you can choose another. Alternatively, the house wine is reasonably priced and excellent.
Why do you like it?
We choose to go here for the simple pleasures of life - eating good food and drinking fine wine in a relaxed and enjoyable atmosphere. It gives us the feeling of being somewhere special: there is always a warm welcome with a big smile. The staff are always attentive, and should you need it, good English is spoken. All tables have crisp white cloths and are decorated with a vase of fresh flowers and beautiful shiny silver cutlery. The restaurant is in a converted barn with traditional high ceilings, and the walls are crisp white with lots of interesting items adorning them, including in the bar area a photograph of the building and the surrounding grounds in 1954 covered in thick snow - always a talking point! There is a traditional tiled floor, which is lovely and warm in the winter months due to the under-floor heating, and in the winter there is also a log fire burning brightly.
What could be improved?
Nothing! In the years that we have been going to this restaurant, we have found nothing we would wish to improve upon, and would not want to change the character of the restaurant - which is why we go!
When to go?
We tend to go in the evening, although we have also enjoyed a lunchtime or two there! It’s quieter at lunchtimes during the week, but Sunday is extremely busy. We have celebrated a number of special occasions here, as a couple and as a large group of family and friends. We have always been extremely happy, and guests we have taken with us have been delighted with our choice of restaurant. Importantly, many of the local dignitaries and Portuguese politicians frequent the restaurant and will often make a large booking for their own special occasions.
It’s best to book a table - this can be by phone or through their website. It’s particularly busy in the summer months, especially at the weekend, where it is not unusual to see the car park overflowing and cars stretching a long way back along the road from 8p.m. until well after 2a.m.
If there is something special you would like to eat which is not on the menu, talk to Pedro about it, as he is always happy to try and accommodate.
The interior provides seating for approximately 50 people.
Outside will seat at least another 30.
Tables and space is flexible to be able to cater for any size group.
Address: Clareanes, Loulé, 8100-236.
Clareanes is (on the road between Loulé and Querença. The restaurant is situated on the main road, so very easy to find, and only a 10 minute (4.5km) drive north of Loulé, but the area makes you feel as though you are experiencing the ‘real’ Algarve.
A 3 course meal including a bottle of wine on average is €30-35 depending upon the choices made. There are several tasty hot and cold starters ranging from €4-10, main course tend to be €12-19, and an average dessert costs €6.
In the extensive wine list, prices start from around €10.
Lunch 12.30-2.30 pm daily (but not open for lunch during August)
Dinner 7-10.15pm daily (11pm in August)
Robert and Anne McGough