The Serra de Monchique, a "Foodies" Heaven!
There are about 40 restaurants in the parish of Monchique catering not just for tourists but for locals too and therefore the food is very good quality home style cooking of locally grown produce. Often cooked on charcoal grills or in wood fired ovens the food develops distinct and delicious flavors. If you have to wait longer than is usual it’s because the food is freshly cooked, no microwaves in Monchique!
Monchique is famous for producing several unusual food products, Porco Preto- black pork, these are reared locally and fed acorns, smoked black pork sausage, honey, chestnuts, cherries, goats cheese, Javali-wild boar, Medronho-firewater, distilled from the berries of the Arbutus tree, so don't be surprised when you see these products used in dishes on many restaurant menus. Restaurants in Monchique vigorously compete to produce the very best recipes using these local products.
Here are just a few of our favorites, the first in walking distance the others within 5-10 minutes drive.
O Luar da Foia is the one we use the most because it is at the top of the hill within walking distance of the villa, (confession, we drive). Awesome coastal views from the terrace. If you enjoy traditional local food we recommend their signature casseroles of wild boar with chestnuts or plums, black pork cheeks with chestnuts and lamb stew. The servings are huge and it is quite acceptable to order one portion between two. Look for the photograph of David Cameron with our local mayor taken when he stayed here in 2013! Tripadvisor Reviews
Jardim das Oliveiras is famous throughout Portugal. it's a restaurant serving traditional fare e.g. for starters a platter of local meats including presunto (ham) and chorizo sausage which you cook yourself on your table. They have a vast variety of regional casseroles of locally produced meat and excellent steaks flambéed at the table. It has a nice cottage feel with two log fires which is very cozy in the winter time. The ruined convent can be seen from the garden. The service is good and you may be served a local liqueur “on the house” to finish. A high quality restaurant in the medium price range. Turn left into the Foia road and then after 1km take a right where you see their sign, the restaurant is a few hundred yards on the right, signposted. Tripadvisor Reviews
1692 is a very high quality restaurant situated in the square in Caldas de Monchique. The food and service is excellent and in the summer they often have very good live music in the square on Friday and Saturday nights. Villa Vida Nova guests receive a voucher for 10% discount off your bill. We have celebrated New Years Eve here, 8 years in a row, sad aren't we! Tripadvisor Reviews
A Rampa A holiday in Algarve would not be complete without chicken “piri-piri”. This is the possibly the best in the Algarve and is situated on the right hand side up the Foia road about 5kms. Very basic but with fantastic views from the outside terrace. Tripadvisor Reviews
Foz do Banho, on the EN266 just south of Caldas de Monchique. A lovely restaurant that also has a local Artesnato shop attached which has an extensive range of locally made crafts. The restaurant's signature dish has to be the Pork and Prawn Cataplana, (for two),absolutely delicious. Tripadvisor Reviews
Paraiso da Montanha About 5kms up the Foia road out of Monchique, next to A Rampa restaurant. Fabulous coastal views from the terrace, an interesting menu, try Chicken with Cherries and Kid casserole, both to die for! Tripadvisor Reviews
O Tasco Wine and Tapas Bar in the delightful and historic village of Caldas de Monchique. The Bar itself is 14th century and oozes charm. It's a place to chill out on a sunny day or warm summer evening and listen to music in the square. The tapas are all local type foods, order as you go and share with friends over a couple of bottles of wine or beer. Villa Vida Nova guests receive a voucher for 10% discount off your bill. Tripadvisor Reviews
A Charrette in the centre of Monchique, from the square walk up the pedestrianized street, until it levels out , then continue in the same direction up the hill, against oncoming cars, always going up hill and you will find it on the right. It is currently number 1 on TripAdvisor and rightly so. The decor and ambiance is very traditional, service is friendly and efficient. Used by locals so has to be good! Traditional "Monchiquense" dishes, you will love it. Tripadvisor Reviews