So, you’re wondering where to eat in Lagos Portugal? There is no shortage of good restaurants in Lagos, that’s true, but sometimes it is hard to sort the good from the bad and the excellent! As you probably know by now, I adore taking food tours as they are so much more than just a meal. Bearing all this in mind, I contacted Eat Drink Discover Algarve Food Tours and was thrilled when they invited me to join their food tour in Lagos.
Why Choose a Portuguese Food Tour in Lagos?
Food tours are a wonderful way to learn more about the local culture through its cuisine. Portuguese food is delicious, but choosing where to eat isn’t always easy, so to have a local guide show you around the town and taking you to the best places for local food really is priceless. Instead of just choosing things from a menu, your guide explains the history of the dish, the specific ingredients and why that particular restaurant is their favourite. As a solo traveller, I also love meeting local people and other travellers, and a food tour gives me the chance to do that with a friendly tour guide and a bunch of other foodie travellers.
What We Ate on the Food Tour
Wow. Wow!! All of the food we tried was delicious. It was January when I visited Lagos, so it was low season and a lot of the restaurants in Lagos were closed. I must admit, I was a little concerned that we wouldn’t get the full experience and would miss out some of the top restaurants in Lagos, but I needn’t have worried! I won’t share all of the places we visited as it would spoil the surprise of the tour, but safe to say they were all excellent.
We started at the far side of town, outside the old city walls. The restaurant had a modern feel, and our guide Maria explained that the (female) chef was shaking things up in Lagos with her interpretation of classic Portuguese dishes with a modern twist. We tried a selection of tasty nibbles, including a bit of cod ceviche with hummus – her version of the classic recipe of cod with chickpeas, and an incredible polenta with shrimps. According to Maria “Xerém” the polenta dish is very common in the Algarve, but not often seen on restaurant menus as it is seen as a peasant’s dish, but this was one of my favourites of the night, and I looked out for it on menus everywhere else but have yet to come across it.
We continued our tour at another modern-looking restaurant, but which had been there for years. Here we had some petiscos – Portuguese tapas plates of scrumptious garlic shrimp, and some tuna and beef in a mustard, wine, cream sauce known as Pica Pau. I’m not a huge fan of mustard so to me it had a strange flavour but it was interesting to try it – one of the best things about food tours is trying things you wouldn’t normally without worrying that you can’t eat anything else if you don’t like it!
The third restaurant was my favourite, and one I came back to the next night for dinner by myself. O Comilão is a no-frills family-run place, which I loved. When we arrived, they swiftly brought out some of the typical Portuguese ‘covers’ on the table – olives and tasty Algarvian carrots in lots of olive oil, herbs & garlic, together with some tiny shrimp, and yummy fried squid.
I thought that was all we were eating (there was quite a lot!) but then came the main course, and incredible Cataplana – a seafood stew served in a round copper pot with a lid. Shrimp, mussels, clams and delicate fish were stewed with potatoes, onions, garlic and peppers to create a delicious mix of flavours and the stand out dish of the night for me. I loved it!!
I was sad to realise though that Cataplanas often are for a minimum of two people (a bit like Paella in Spain!) so I resolved to keep an eye out for a single portion of Cataplana for one. We did our best to finish the Cataplana, and when we’d just about managed it, we were given yet more food – biscoitos fritos – a bit like doughnuts, and a taste of the local moonshine liquor called Medronho. Wow, that is strong stuff, but actually, it was surprisingly palatable considering I have an aversion to shots of spirits. After that, I would have gone home happy, but there were two more stops to go!
We waddled on to the next stop, for a Portuguese cheese platter which tasted like heaven. As a huge cheese fan it was great to try some Portuguese cheeses – we tried a cow, goat and sheep cheese which were all delicious! We also tried another typical pork dish called ‘Secretos de Porco” which was slices of pork in a similar mustard wine sauce to the Pica Pau.
Finally, the last stop approached – dessert time! Portuguese people LOVE their desserts, they seem to have a serious sweet tooth and are renowned for their pastries and sweet treats. We tried some of the typical Portuguese sweets, made from an almond and sugar paste (which was much nicer than icky marzipan), a Dom Rodrigo – originally made by nuns using egg yolks and sugar) and some other cakes.
Each food stop was accompanied by a generous glass of wine, apart from the last stop which was for coffee – I just had a water as I couldn’t fit anything else in my stomach! After all the wine, and the moonshine we were all a little tipsy I’m sure!
Why I Loved this Lagos Food Tour
Where should I start? Maria was a fabulous host, perfect English, full of funny anecdotes and interesting facts about Portugal, and all the food we tried.
The group was a nice size – eight of us including the guide, so we all chatted together without taking over the restaurants.
I loved the mix of restaurants, and we went to places I probably wouldn’t have looked twice at, but it was a great selection. Apparently, after January the route may change as other restaurants re-open, but it was impossible to tell which wouldn’t make the cut, they were all delicious.
Maria wasn’t concerned about us running over, the tour took a lot longer than the estimated three hours, but as none of us needed to get anywhere afterwards we took our time and enjoyed a leisurely evening, feeling like we were among friends.
Anything I Didn’t Like?
Honestly? No! I usually find something I’m not keen on, but I thought the mix of meat and fish dishes was good, we also had a cheese and dessert course, and the wine was practically free-flowing so I have no complaints there! Perhaps having some more water on the table would have been nice but I really am nit-picking here, I loved it!!
Would I Recommend the Tour?
100% yes! I had a pre-conception that the Algarve was just about beaches, Brits abroad and full English breakfasts, and I am so pleased to say that I was dead wrong. If you do come to the Algarve and Lagos then you will find much more than that if you wish to – and I highly recommend that you do.
How to Book the Lagos Food Tour
Check out the Algarve Food Tours website, which has full details of this, the Classic Food Tour, as well as wine tasting activities, sunset cruises and market tours and cooking classes. You can also buy a voucher as a gift if you can’t decide which tour you prefer!
Where to Stay in Lagos
Hostels in Lagos
Hostels in Portugal are generally of a very high standard, and Lagos hostels are no exception. Check out the Old Town Hostel which gets rave reviews for the friendly staff and great atmosphere, or the swanky Top City Hostels and Suites with a pool and incredible views from the rooftop terrace.
Hotels in Lagos
Airbnb in Lagos
Airbnb is also a great choice for accommodation in Lagos. I stayed in a private room in Maria’s home in Lagos (with her 3 cats, dog and pot-bellied pig!) and loved it – check the listing here. Check out all of the options for Airbnb in Lagos here.
If you have never used Airbnb before, use this link to sign up & get up to $40 credit to use on your first trip! Read more about the Airbnb first time discount code or my full Airbnb guide for everything you need to know about Airbnb, or just click below for your Airbnb coupon.
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I enjoyed a complimentary tour in exchange for this honest review of Eat Drink Discover Food Tours. Although the tour was complimentary, my opinions are 100% my own and the fact I loved the tour clearly influenced my review!
Just to let you know, this post may contain paid or affiliate links, which help to maintain Tales of a Backpacker and give me the chance to keep travelling, and to keep creating awesome content for you!
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