I’ve never been to the Algarve, however last year we did spend a few days in Porto (Portugal’s second largest city) and then a week in the beautiful countryside where we had a wonderful time, the weather was excellent and we ate good food and drank awesome wine and of course, port.
We visited Algarve’s Grill in Southsea last week for the first time too. It was lunch time, probably not the best time of day to visit an establishment such as this, evening would have tons more atmosphere, I’m sure.
As we arrived, dead on 12 noon we watched and waited from across the road for the closed sign to turn over to open. It didn’t happen so we entered anyway and asked if they were open. They were and we could sit where we liked. We sat towards the front of the restaurant (too close to the door for me) but felt that as the rear of the restaurant appeared dark and there was a small partition behind the table we chose we presumed that they preferred customers up towards the front at lunchtimes. That obviously wasn’t the case as when a couple of people entered a while later they sat towards the back. The front door didn’t shut on it’s own and it seems that people nowadays never seem to shut doors behind them, so there was always a gap and of course, a draft on my back. I like to be comfortable when I eat.
Upon the walls are photos of Portugal and America – as Algarve’s Grill ‘features classic traditional Portuguese dishes with American style sauces’ – and half a car (yes), there’s also a boat on the wall too …music played in the background.
Tapas were 3 for £12, 5 for £18 but there’s also a plethora of other dishes available such as burgers, salads, steaks, fish etc., plus I noticed Francesinha which is a typical Porto dish, a ‘sandwich’ containing steak, sausage, cheese, fried egg and more. We shared one between three of us whilst in Porto on our last day and it was almost a heart attack on a plate, a bit like an English fry-up.
Geoff loves tapas – we’ve been to several tapas restaurants in Portsmouth including Sant-Yago which is a little further up the road and Koh Thai Tapas also in Southsea – but I always find that because the dishes arrive at the same time they either go cold very quickly or I rush to eat them before they do so.
The falafel with goats cheese served with caramelised onions was my favourite tapas, being nice and crispy on the outside and very tasty.
We shared the American ribs which had very tender meat on them and a tasty BBQ sauce.
Geoff’s enjoyed his chorizo and meatball dishes.
We shared the cod fish cakes too which were a bit bland we thought. The tomato sauce it came with seemed to be just that, juice from a tomato so a bit runny, no herbs or seasoning of which we could tell and certainly not spicy (which I’ve just read it should have been).
My halloumi was good, a generous portion and thickly cut. It was served cold – which I didn’t expect as I usually eat it hot at home – along with slices of large tomatoes and lots of sliced olives.
We had a side dish of sweet potato fries which were lovely but cooled quickly as they were served in a wire basket.
The food all appeared to be fresh and of good quality.
Service was ok.
Towards the end of our meal another waitress arrived, plus a chap who I presume is the owner. There was a slightly better atmosphere by then too as the place had filled up a bit. The new waitress was very smiley, friendly and happy.
We had a look at the dessert menu (which had photos of them to help you decide) and chose the Algarve’s Dessert. We had no idea what we were really going to get as the description was ‘biscuit, sweet of cream, egg candy’. Sometimes we like to live on the edge 😉
The dessert was very nice which we both enjoyed. It had a biscuit layer, with whipped cream in the centre and a topping of whatever ‘egg candy’ is I guess. Chocolate sauce was drizzled over it all.
We ordered a pastel de nata each (pastéis de nata/Portuguese tarts). Now, we have had the BEST natas ever in Porto (apparently), so they had a lot to beat.
Unfortunately they didn’t stand up to the those particular natas, nor would I say they were as good as Casa de Castro’s in Albert Road, Southsea, so slightly disappointing.
Algarve’s Grill (I found out this week), has another restaurant in North End, Portsmouth which opened last May called Porto Grill, with the same menu I think.
Now I wouldn’t say that I wouldn’t return – I certainly wouldn’t rush back – but if I did then it would most definitely be in the evening and perhaps with a group of friends. Lunchtime just lacked ambience and atmosphere I’m sorry to say. Also, I would not have tapas (although Geoff would) but perhaps one of their main meals instead.
Ambience 6 (lunch time)
Return? Possibly but would be evening time only.
Living life, loving cake