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Just like all over Portugal, The Algarve offers its own traditional gastronomy, strongly influenced by the cuisine and Mediterranean culture.
Algarve is divided in three distinct geographic and gastronomical areas:
- The Coast (with fish and seafood dishes especially dishes with tuna and octopus).
- The inland areas of the Barrocal (with simple dishes of fresh vegetables and sausages).
- Algarve mountains (with heavier dishes with chicken and pork stews).
Olive oil is the preferred and used for both, seasoning and for cooking, along with onions, tomatoes, peppers, garlic and fresh herbs such as parsley and coriander.
Desserts and sweets are strongly influenced by the almond, the fig and carob trees that are all native to the region together with the old traditions of the Alentejo province showcasing interesting artistic preparations with eggs, almonds and figs.
Tavira Specialty Dishes
Tavira cuisine is maybe more land influenced than other coastal areas in the Algarve.
Tavira gastronomic feasts travel from the inland fields and hills to the seashore with fresh fish and seafood.
At the tavira traditional restaurants you will find the flavors from the “ Serra do Caldeirao” as Tavira municipality extends deep into the greater Algarvian mountain range.
It is a landscape of rounded hills and rugged terrain with dense river network, consisting mostly of temporary waterways and a fauna present of Bonelli's Eagle, deer, wild boar, rabbit and hare.
Crops prevalent in Cauldron are grains, almond, carob and olive trees. The predominant forest is composed by cork, oak, holm, pine and eucalyptus.
Gastronomic influence shows in ingredients and dishes such as Chorizo, black pig, wild boar, chicken, rooster and rabbit.
As we approach the sea and the city of Tavira, the Fish and Seafood delicacies start taking predominance in the menus at the restaurants in Tavira.
The desserts, passed through between generations are as diverse as they are sweet.
These delicious desserts are rooted in flavors of local products such as the almond, the fig, honey and carob.
The religious heritage in Tavira is also well reflected in recipes developed 100’s of years ago from religious Convents and Monasteries.
Fresh cheese with honey and oregano
Chicken patties, bread and butter
Chicken corn porridge
Stewed wild boar
Cheeks Black Pork with sweet potato puree
Algarve fashioned fried chicken
Wild rabbit, hunter style
Chicken with chickpeas soup and bread (acorda de galinha).
Boar in different recipes
stewed rooster with sweet potatoes
Note: Tavira is known for their “petiscos” (Snacks; equivalent to tapas in Spain). They are simple meals, served on small plates, usually accompanied by a glass of wine or beer at any time of the day. This is a followed alternative and it is part of the daily habits of local residents.
Nested in the edge of an estuary and the Ria Formosa, Tavira is provided by a wide range of fish, shellfish and bivalves.
“Petiscos” with basis on seafood such as tuna and octopus, shrimp, and cuttlefish or clams are fresh and readily available.
Queijinho with fresh orange
pudding almond and pumpkin tarts
orange cake with honey sweet
pudding with honey and raisins
Good regional wine and some arbutus or fig spirits are recommended to be present in almost all areas to complete the meal.
- Top 10 local dishes that can be found at many traditional restaurants in Tavira as showcased in this tasteful blog
Traditional delicacies you will find in most regional restaurants.
Cataplana -a very tasty seafood stew made with fresh catch of the day seafood or fish from the local fish market.
Filled Squid The squid is traditionally filled with prosciutto, chorizo (traditional dry sausage), olive oil, onions, parsley and tomato served with potatoes and salad
Conquilhas- (type of clams that live buried on the sand and can be found at the water edge of most beaches in the Algarve and along the Portuguese coast. ) opened in a pan with olive oil, garlic, coriander, lemon and pepper. A great appetizer.
Tuna with onions- Fresh tuna steak marinated in vinegar, garlic, bay leaves, olive oil, onions, salt and pepper and served with boiled potatoes.
Octopus Rice - The octopus, marinated and prepared with red wine, onion, olive oil, garlic, tomatoes, red or green peppers, salt, hot chillis (piri-piri), Stewed over fire or in the oven with rice in a beautifully flavored tomato sauce..
Sardines- Charcoal barbecued fresh sardines served with potatoes, red peppers and potatoes. Salad on the side; either lettuce or a delicious tomato and onions salad with grilled green peppers, oregano, olive oil and vinegar. Sardines are best between June and late September as they are fat and delicious.
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