Name of establishment
Veneza, Mem Moniz, near Paderne
Style and ambience
An authentic Portuguese family restaurant that also has an unbelievable cellar/wine shop (garrafeira). The shop has been voted as one of the best four wine cellars in Portugal - a remarkable feat when you consider what is available in Lisbon and Porto. Whilst Veneza looks very much like any other small roadside café from the outside, appearances can be deceptive - inside it has a warm and welcoming traditional feel, with lots of natural stone and wood in the restaurant and bar areas, and a Tardis-like wine cellar.
What to eat?
Authentic Algarvean country cuisine at its best - including clams, bean soups, wild rabbit and kid cooked in the oven. There are always daily specials on offer, and the couvert often includes crab and other seafood.
What to drink?
Almost every small Portuguese estate that supplies wine is here, so you can really get to know the diversity of the country’s wines, at sensible prices. And if you eat here, they only charge a reasonable corkage on the wines, so you can drink something fabulous for far less than you would pay at many restaurants on the coast.
Why do you like it?
The garrafeira is huge and has an amazing collection of wine and port. You can buy a bottle of port for almost any year, making it a great birthday present. The staff are incredibly knowledgeable, and will do wine tastings and offer good advice. When you find a wine you like, they will tell you others that are similar.
When to go?
It’s popular at lunchtimes and in the evenings, especially at weekends when there are often family groups in. It’s always best to book.
The garrafeira is only open when the restaurant is open. However the shipping service means you can have superb Portuguese wines delivered anywhere in Europe, with delivery costs from as little as €50 per case.
You can also hire the wine cellar for private parties. It seats about 40 people and they offer a great selection of food. A wonderful atmosphere if you want to celebrate a special occasion.
Around 40-50 in the main restaurant, plus the wine cellar (which is often used for overspill if they are very busy).
On the main road from Albufeira towards Paderne. You follow the signs for Ferreiras and Albufeira main train station. After approx 4km you will see the village sign for Mem Moniz which is on the road you will be driving on. Veneza is on the right hand side just before the motorway crosses over the road. Some off-road parking.
Main courses are around €10-15. The wines, of course, are exceptional value.
Evenings: every night except Tuesday
Lunchtimes: closed Tuesday and Wednesday