With its gorgeous beaches and striking cliffs, it’s easy to see why Portugal’s Algarve region is such a popular holiday destination — it’s also a foodie’s dream. Fresh seafood and creative fusions dominate the culinary scene in Lagos. Read my picks for eating your way through this vibrant Algarve surf town, in order from most casual to most date-worthy. Cafe Odeon: Lagos' premier 3-Euro breakfast! This tiny cafe offers a full breakfast for the price of a pint at most places. Of course, you can drive up the price by adding a mimosa or Bloody Mary — in other words, this place is made for hangover days. It's located near Praia da Batata (Potato Beach), Lagos’ main city beach, so you can stagger over for a nap in the sand after your eggs.
At Praia de batata you can nap off your breakfast (and your hangover)
Cafe Bora: In contrast to Cafe Odeon, I would recommend Bora for a day when you wake up feeling good. Their delicious (and cheap!) juices and smoothies are complemented by the relaxing al fresco set-up of their tables and couches, which are decorated with fresh fruit. Come here for a smoothie and omelette before you go hike or surf!
Nah Nah Bah: I’m a little biased because I worked here, but on the other hand I ate the food nearly every day and didn't get sick of the menu, so that speaks to the quality. Maybe you didn't travel to Portugal to eat burgers, but you don't want to miss out on a burger from Nah Nah Bah. It was recently voted as one of Matador Network's "Top 50 Burgers in the World", and there is an array of creative burgers to choose from (including the monstrous El Kilo burger, which is free if devoured within an hour). If burgers aren't your thing, the diverse menu also offers great salads, pastas, and more. My favorite thing on the menu is actually the fish tacos — so fresh and zesty! And despite the reputation for burgers, I would recommend eating here if you're looking for a vegetarian option. They have a great veggie burger (not easy to find in Portugal!), and many items can be made vegetarian if they aren't already. The American-Portuguese owner, Selmo, puts as much care into cultivating the "vibe" of the restaurant as he does into the food. With funky decor and a handpicked playlist (you can even follow the restaurant on Spotify), eating here is an experience.
One of Nah Nah Bah's popular burgers, the Rude Boy (Photo: Nah Nah Bah) Rockefellas: Rockefellas is a top pick for budget and atmosphere. This rock-and-roll themed restaurant has one of the best lunch deals in town: one of their awesome sandwiches, a drink, and fries for 5.95 euros. The rest of the menu is tasty and reasonably priced, and features some creative cocktails (I went back just for the passion fruit mojito). It also boasts a lovely outdoor patio away from the noise of the busy street — something especially valuable during high season. There's even an array of board games available to play while you wait!
The Green Room: I recommend the Green Room for a super chill vibe and some serious Mexican flavor. Everything on their menu I tried was amazing (and I ate there a lot...), so it's hard to make a recommendation other than to go with an empty stomach and make sure you try their homemade hot sauces. Bonus points for having one of the friendliest staffs around — the first time I ate there I was dining solo, and they weren't busy, so one of the servers ended up sitting and chatting with me while I ate.
The Garden Bar: Located in a luscious and whimsical garden (which you might've guessed from its name), the Garden Bar might win for atmosphere. It just kind of works no matter what you're feeling. Come for lunch and bask in the sun while you scarf some BBQ, or come for dinner/dessert and cuddle on one of the couches around the garden (blankets included, so you can get real cozy). Don't forget to check out the street art pieces on either side of the entrance — "Snails" by Roa to the left and "HUNT" by Wes21 and Onur to the right.
"Snails" by Roa, located just outside the Garden Bar
Baffi Bar: A relatively new joint in Lagos, Baffi Bar is great for food and even better for wine. It's run by a couple of Italians who are passionate about bringing the flavors of Italian street food to Portugal, and it has a wine list worth coming back for. Another part of Baffi's charm is its unique layout; you can choose from several different places to hang out depending on your mood. Chill at the bar, eat on couches out on the outdoor patio, go up a level for a casual game room, an indoor patio, and a sit-down dining room.
Cafe do Mar: I almost didn't include this one, because it is a little overpriced and the service tends to be slow. BUT it offers one of the best views in Lagos. Looking out over both Praia de Batata (potato beach) and Praia dos Estudantes (student beach), it's the perfect spot for an afternoon gin and tonic and a snack. Its food is good and not terribly expensive, but it made the cut strictly for the view and G&T's.
Sipping a gin and tonic on Cafe do Mar's breezy patio
Bistrot Gulli: Technically in the neighboring Aljezur a 30 minute drive from Lagos, but it was my favorite place I ate in Portugal, so it made the list. Gullis is an Italian bistro that was so ridiculously delicious the first time we ate there that we went there for dinner again the very next night. Highlights included white truffle and carpaccio pizza, and a squash-based pasta dish that still haunts my dreams. The staff was very friendly, and the decor was rustic and cozy.
White truffle and carpaccio pizza at Bistrot Gulli
Cervejaria Restaurante Dois Irmãos: A good Portuguese option with fresh seafood. Recommended for a more upscale option, it's located in a relatively quiet plaza (Praça Infante Dom Henrique) near Praia da Batata. The patio has beautiful heat lamps whose flames dance in the fountains in the plaza while they keep guests warm. I went here for my birthday and service was impeccable.
Surprised by a trick birthday candle at Dois Irmãos Have you been to Lagos? What was your favorite dining experience? Let us know in the comments!