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Name of establishment
O Serol, Armacao de Pera
Wonderfully old-fashioned in the way that only Portuguese seaside fish restaurants can be: simple, functional and immaculately clean. You come here for the great food, not the aesthetics.
Armacao de Pera might be a holiday town, but it’s largely a Portuguese holiday town. And they know a good thing when they see it. The place is always buzzing, mainly with extended families, and everybody from kids to grannies will love it.
What to eat?
It probably has to be fish or seafood, although they do other Portuguese specialities like secretos (black pork) and feijoada (bean stew).There’s always an excellent selection of fresh fish and seafood, together with cataplanas, fish stew and seafood rice.
What to drink?
A great wine list for such an unpretentious place. The house wine - a more than palatable Adega de Pegoes - is terrific value at just €5.50 a bottle.
Why do you love it?
This definitely falls into the ‘lifestyle’ rather than the ‘luxury’ side of our remit, but it’s rapidly become one of our favourites. Real value for money, the real Algarve, and barely a non-Portuguese tourist in sight. If you’re on holiday here, and want to escape the chavs, try it. If you live here, and want somewhere by the sea that doesn’t charge tourist prices, it could become one of your favourite local haunts too.
When to go?
The view is of the promenade rather than the beach as such, although the sea’s right there outside the front door. You probably won’t linger that long at lunchtime if the sand or a more panoramic vista is beckoning, so just go for the food rather than the ambience. Unless you like people-watching, in which case you’ll enjoy it equally at lunchtime or the evenings.
Don’t be intimidated just because it looks like a ‘Portuguese-only’ place. The menu is also in English and German, and whilst the staff aren’t fluent in anything other than Portuguese, you’ll muddle through with a few words of the language and some judicious pointing.
Around 80 in the main restaurant indoors, plus another 30 or so outside. There’s also a separate side room seating around 60 for groups, family occasions, overspill, etc.
2 Rua Portas do Mar, Armacao de Pera. It’s right on the main promenade, close to the section (left as you’re facing the sea) where the fishermen have their huts. There’s plenty of free parking less than a minute’s walk away.
Starters from €2.40, mains from €5.95. Fresh fish is sold by weight, but not at the mark-up prices you’ll find in many other commercialised/international parts of the coast.
Lunchtime and evenings. Closed Wednesdays.