My friend Lisa jokes about how most Algarve restaurants have minimal ambience because the lighting is so bright. She swears this is because the owners want patrons to see how clean the place is.
So when eating out in the Algarve it’s important to realize that even in places where they use white linen and crystal, there’s a good chance that the candlelight will fade from the glare of overhead fluorescents.
Cleanliness is next to godliness, don’t you know?
Well that sentiment certainly seems to apply throughout the Algarve, and indeed throughout Portugal. I have probably eaten in more than 100 dining establishments in my various trips. There are only 2 or 3 that weren’t impeccably clean. Even if the back country you don’t have to worry about filthy washrooms or grungy dining rooms. Everything is spic and span.
In fact, when it comes to cleanliness, the entire Algarve region practically sparkles. There is very little trash on the streets and sidewalks, the countryside is remarkably free of litter and the beaches are amazingly clean. In many towns and villages you’ll see city workers with grey uniforms highlighted in electric, reflective yellow armed with brooms and dustpans sweeping up papers, leaves and doggie-doo. They are very diligent at their jobs.
So know that showing you how clean their restaurant is very important to Portuguese restaurant owners. This aspect of dining culture may not offer as many romantic meals as you may be accustomed to, but you’ll certainly be aware of just how impeccable the place is. And you’ll also enjoy the quality of the food cooked in an equally impeccable kitchen!