Tavira

Algarve Luxury Villa Holidays
Algarve Luxury Villa Holidays

View over Tavira
   

Our Favourite Restaurants In The Algarve - Jorge and Lia’s Churrasqueira

It’s easy to miss Jorge and Lia’s. We were looking for it (it had been recommended to us by friends who live on Alto do Perogil), and it still took us about 3 attempts before we found it. Well, that’s not entirely true we had found it, but just not realised. There’s no name outside it just says Churrasqueira and the windows are quite dark, so you’re not even sure if it’s open.

Don’t let this put you off though. Once inside, it almost has the air of an old pub and has loads of character. There are scores of old tankards from around the world hanging from the ceiling behind the bar, and ancient terracotta dishes around the walls. Jorge is an inveterate collector of antiques. He theoretically deals in antiques, but he can’t bear to sell anything he’s bought, much to Lia’s despair, so they overflow from shop into restaurant.

There’s also a lovely outdoor eating area for the summer, under a canopy of bougainvillea. Jorge burns lavender sprigs in what looks like an old paint kettle to keep the mosquitoes at bay.

Jorge is Portuguese and speaks very good English. He’s front of house, while Dutch-born Lia does the cooking. It’s proper home-cooked food. She does an excellent prawn cocktail for starters, and her vegetable soup is the best I’ve had in the Algarve. While you’re waiting for your starter to arrive, tuck into the garlic bread with delicious dip. I was never sure what the dip was, but it turns out it’s tuna.

Jorge and Lia’s is one of the few restaurants where you get vegetables with your meal. The Portuguese (Algarvians anyway) grow loads of veg (you only have to wander round Tavira’s market and see all the stalls with home-grown produce), but strangely seem rather reluctant to serve it up. A dish like the grilled chicken will come with chips, rice (very tasty rice too, with bits of veg in), broccoli, and a side salad.

Other main courses include steak, pork, tuna with onions (a typical Algarvian dish and very good), a choice of omelettes, and a mixed grill. Lia also does a great chicken curry, but you have to ask for it as it’s not on the menu. It reminds me of the Vesta curries I had in my childhood, with that same greenish tinge of curry powder, and bears no resemblance to an Indian restaurant curry. It comes in a terracotta dish with rice and a few pineapple chunks.

The house wines are very drinkable and knock out at about 7 euros per bottle.

We’ve spent the last two New Year’s Eves at Jorge and Lia’s and they’ve done us proud. Where other restaurants are charging extortionate prices, Lia’s done us a fantastic spread for around 25 euros per head, without drinks. We’ve had giant prawns for nibbles, followed by chicken soup as a starter. Main course was steak (or turkey breast steak in cream and mushroom sauce), with chips, fantastic Arab-style rice full of almonds and apricots, and a selection of veg. I forget what the puddings were, but it was all excellent. Even our Portuguese friend (who is a superb cook himself) was suitably impressed.

Jorge and Lia’s can be found on the road into Tavira from the boat island (i.e. from Casa Na Colina you turn right at the bottom of the hill, then left at the roundabout), on the right-hand side. There are a few parking spots at the front, but we tend to turn right up the little one-way street just before the restaurant and park outside the apartment blocks. You can then walk past the old water cisterna and through the outdoor eating area to the back door.

You can also get anything off the menu as a takeaway. We often ring up and order (knowing the menu pretty much off by heart now!), then take it over to my parents’ house.

  Jorge and Lia at the bar
The bar at Jorge and Lia’s
Lia in the kitchen
Jorge at the bar

 

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