Name of establishment
Vista - Bela Vista Hotel, Praia Da Rocha
Light, modern minimalist restaurant within the mock-gothic, designer-led Bela Vista Hotel. Yet the contrast works. The restaurant takes its lead from its location and the views - perched on a clifftop overlooking Praia Da Rocha beach - and has a fresh, clean, open ‘white’ feel.
Dine indoors if the weather is a little inclement (or even too hot/humid) or on the terrace if it’s a pleasant evening.
Very relaxed, unstuffy and non-hotel. The dress code is smart casual, and the staff are friendly and informative without being in your face. They realise you want to enjoy the gourmet experience, but also that you are here on holiday.
Modern Portuguese, showcasing the chef’s Porto heritage combined with influences from his new base in the Algarve. The presentation is clever without being pretentious, and the food light yet with the depth of taste that comes with using the freshest and best quality ingredients.
You can dine from the a la carte menu (not an extensive choice, but one designed to ensure the chef can produce everything to the highest level), the tasting menu (either 3 or 4 courses) or the degustation menu.
Sample starters: foie gras with scallops, apples and port wine; leek with sage and lemon olive oil; egg with mushrooms, spinach and cheese.
Sample mains: sea bass with vegetables and fennel sauce; cataplana with shrimps, clams and fish of the day; lamb with asparagus, mustard and thyme.
Sample desserts: chocolate with caramel sauce and orange & yogurt salted ice cream; red fruit parfait with sorbet and meringue.
Sample degustation dishes: lobster carpaccio with crab, fennel and lime; Setubal hake with clams and leek; chocolate and lemon cream with ginger streusel and almond ice cream.
A honed list reflecting some of the best wines Portugal has to offer, with the Minho, Douro and Dão regions particularly well represented. The sommelier will recommend a suitable wine or wine pairing to suit the dishes and your individual preferences and budget.
There’s also a good selection of champagnes/sparkling wines, and of course ports.
Originally from Porto, executive chef João Oliveira joined Vista in early 2015. Still under 30, he has worked in three of Portugal’s leading Michelin-starred restauants, The Yeatman in Vila Nova de Gaia, Largo do Paço in Amarente and Vila Joya in the Algarve. One to watch.
Miguel Martins has worked at Vila Vita Parc, Henrique Leis and Vila Joya, and was one of the wine experts at the Taste Portugal event in London. He also runs his own wine shop (called Sommelier) in Lagos, selling wine and offering tastings, tours and consultancy.
Fine dining has finally arrived in Praia da Rocha. There were a few minor quibbles, and the menu is still a work in progress, but the appointment of a chef with this pedigree means the restaurant is undoubtedly aiming for a Michelin star at some stage, which would put the hotel firmly on the destination tourism map. We await future developments.
Repair to the hotel bar afterwards for excellent port.
Seats round 40 in total (20 inside, 20 outside).
The Bela Vista Hotel is on Av.Tomás Cabreira (the clifftop road) in Praia Da Rocha. It’s right on the seafront and you really can’t miss it - it’s the only building of any architectural distinction on the whole stretch. Free parking inside the gates. Walk past reception and through the lobby to reach Vista.
Starters from €18
Mains from €32
Desserts from €13
Tasting menu €68 (3 courses) and €79 (4 courses)
Degustation menu €110
Wines from €32 per bottle upwards
Open to hotel guests and non-residents every evening, from 7-9.30pm (last orders)
The hotel (and therefore the restaurant) is usually closed from November-February. Check the hotel website for details.