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For splendid seafood cooked with regional flair, sharpen your elbows and head down to the marina to get a table at locals’ favourite Faro e Benfica (Doca de Faro). It’s regularly touted as one of the best of Faro’s restaurants, and its seasoned razor clams, fresh lobster, swordfish and cataplana (copper-pot-cooked dishes) come highly recommended. Ask the friendly staff to talk you through the specialities.
After a day at Faro’s beach, 7 kilometres (4 miles) out of town, you can grab a seat at family eatery Wax RestoBar (Avenida Nascente 10), where grilled octopus, steak and burgers are the stars of the menu. With a view out to the ocean, it’s a great spot to watch the sun set.
If you are unsure where to eat in Faro, look for a restaurant packed with residents – there are plenty of these around. Among them is the oldest and most atmospheric Faro restaurant and one of the best places to eat in town: Adega Dois Irmaos (Praca Ferreira de Almeida 15), which has a great selection of seafood salads, omelettes, stews and cataplanas as well as aromatic grilled meats.
Tapas joint A Venda (Rua Do Compromisso 60) also attracts a loyal following, thanks to its quirky retro décor and delicious home-cooked food. Vegetarians will love the goat’s cheese with pesto, fava bean croquettes and roasted pumpkin with cheese.
For a taste of Portugal’s holiday island Madeira, try Restaurante Madeirense (Rua 1 Dezembro 28), which specialises in dishes from the island. Decorated with Madeiran folk cloths (red with multicoloured stripes) and souvenirs, it combines the best of Faro dining with a healthy dash of colonial charm. After feasting on scabbard fish and potato bread, finish with a maracuja (passion fruit pudding) and sweet Madeira wine.
Wondering where to eat in Faro on the move? The concept of fast food doesn’t really translate in Portugal, but if you’re in a hurry, one of the best places for prompt service in Faro is Fim do Mundo or ‘End of the World’ (Rua Vasco da Gama 53). Chef Manuel Dias Jacinto has been cooking here for 55 years, and serves up excellent piri piri chicken, fried squid and fish.