Deciding on a venue may not exactly qualify as one of mankind's most crucial choices, but there is no doubt that selecting the appropriate restaurant or place to eat for your specific needs, will greatly enhance your dining experience. Food, after all, is not merely a physiological necessity; it also happens to be one of life's greatest pleasures.
One of the most important criteria in choosing any eating-place is cleanliness and hygiene. Before even bothering with star rating, a restaurant must at least pass sanitary requirements. You don't want to worry about intestinal disorders while having dinner, do you? Be wary of flies hovering around, messy tables, stinky smells, or spilled food stuck on the floor. A filthy bathroom is a very bad sign.
If a restaurant doesn't look clean in the areas you can see, then imagine the sanitary conditions in the areas you can't see, like the kitchen. Another indicator of the quality of a dining establishment is the number of its customers. Restaurants that have a steady stream of customers are more likely to provide good food and great service.
You may also ask your friends for recommendations; read our own reviews of the local eating-places. Just keep in mind that our reviews are based on personal experiences.
So, having said that, it is a good practice that if the “meal” you are planning is a romantic date or an important business meeting, you should nonetheless conduct your own reconnaissance of the restaurant, snack-bar, etc.
One sure way of finding information is going there yourself on your own, befriending the waiter, the bartender or the chef. Check out the menu and the wine list. Take note of the lighting, amount of noise, and interior design. And while you at it, make sure to make a quick trip to the restroom before you leave.
I know, that its not always possible to make an advanced personal inspection of each restaurant you want to eat at, but doing so would definitely increase the certainty of an excellent meal, an excellent environment and an excellent experience.
These days, most restaurants, especially the fancy ones, have their own websites. These sites usually feature the menu; house specialties, wine selections, additional services, and some even have online reservations.
On this site we provide a comprehensive register of eating places across the Algarve. We have also reviewed many of them in an endeavor to assist you. But, finally, your choice of a dining spot ultimately depends on the kind of dining experience you want to have, the amount of money you want to spend and the type of food that you like.
Your particular preferences, as well as those of your dining companion(s) combined with the specific occasion, will determine what is the right venue for you. There is no doubt that across the Algarve there are many, many good restaurants, snack-bars and coffee shops, and that you will find the right one for you. One that will make your dining out experience a great one.
Note: This article was first published in I Support Lagos in December 2010, updated August 2017. Author: Laurinda Seabra