Frango Piri Piri
Do you like it hot?
You will find plenty of fancy restaurants in the Algarve offering Lobster or fillet steaks, but if you ask me what the finest meal on offer is, I'll immediately answer Frango (chicken) Piri Piri!
The origin of this dish is more likely from Angola or Mozambique but are now adopted as being typical Portuguese. The small village of Guia (on the EN 125 before Albufeira, +/- 18 km. from Carvoeiro) specialises in Frango Piri Piri and you'll find a vast selection of restaurants.
Two of the largest and oldest restaurants is Ramires, on a side street in the center of Guia (right in Guia traffic light coming from Carvoeiro) and Rei dos Frangos (Left in Guia traffic light coming from Carvoeiro).
Ramires has been in business for over 25 years and can seat 300 people, Rei do Frango seats nearly 800!
The secret behind this delicious meal lies in the use of very small chickens which cooks quickly, the spicy piri piri sauce, the fact that all potatoes used for French fries are fresh and hand cut and finally the big delicious local tomatoes which have real taste as opposed to most of the green house tomatoes found in northern Europe.
Most restaurants opens for lunch at 13.00 and 18.30 in the evening, I would strongly recommend to come early unless you're prepared to wait for a table - especially in the height of the season (July/August) and in weekends.
The standard dish per person is half a chicken, but can be ordered by the chicken rather than by portion, you might consider adding a portion if there is big eaters in your party! You can ask for Frango sem (without) Piri Piri if you're unsure whether it'll be to spicy and ask for the sauce on the side.
Prices are low! Half a chicken is +/- 5,50 Euro, a pint of beer is +/- 2 Euro, an expresso coffee (a Bica) is +/- 0,60 Euro and finally a generously served local brandy will set back a mere 2 Euro. (2007 prices)
Provided you have own transportation, a visit to one of these restaurants is a must! Rarely in the Algarve, and up to this point, will you find restaurants equally enjoyed by both locals and tourists alike.