Ze do Norte
Name of establishment
Ze do Norte
It doesn't get more Portuguese than this. Almost a roadside cafeteria, busy at lunchtime with local office staff & workers from the area and heaving in the summer with Portuguese holidaymakers who know a good thing when they see it.
What to eat?
Hearty and unpretentious Portuguese cuisine and lots of it. The butcher cuts meat to order, from black pig to Brazilian picanha steaks. A great place to be adventurous and eat what the locals order. They have fantastic hanging kebabs and the turkey or pork with a creamy mushroom sauce and enough garlic to kill all vampires is wonderful.
The chefs always come from Guimaraes in the north of Portugal: the first was called Ze, hence the restaurant's name.
What to drink?
The house wine is good value. You don't need anything fancier. But whatever you order will be significantly cheaper than the south side of the EN-125!
Why do you love it?
There are no concessions to non-Portuguese speakers or international tastes, but you'll get very friendly service: a few words of Portuguese from you will work wonders. You are in the real Algarve here, not the tourist version. Staff do speak some English and you will certainly enjoy the experience of finding out what everything is on the menu in Portuguese.
When to go?
Lunch or dinner - just go hungry!
The dishes are designed for two people. Only order one each if you're Desperate Dan.
Around 100 covers inside.
Quatro Estradas on the EN-125 between Almancil and Vilamoura. It is on the right hand side as you head towards Albufeira from Almancil, almost opposite a large bicycle shop. If you find the Hot Tub sales office you have gone too far.
Average of €10 for main courses - and this will feed 2. A real credit-crunch lunch, so eat your heart out.