The Algarve attracts tourists for many reasons:beautiful beaches, all-season sunshine, world-class golf courses, and gorgeous historical towns, to name but a few. But, in recent years, its culinary reputation has begun to take pride of place.
While southern Portugal used to be known for simple and local specialities, the area now boasts a wide range of Michelin-starred and luxury restaurants you’d expect to find elsewhere in the Mediterranean.
The latter of which is best illustrated by the five-star foodie experiences available at the new Domes Lake Algarve resort.
The HIP-owned hotel (formerly known as the Lake Spa Resort) announced it would be rebranded last year, under new management by Greek hotel group Domes Resorts, with the help of a €7 million ($7.12 million) upgrade, marking Domes Resorts’ inaugural expansion outside of Greece as well as the group’s first year-round hotel.
With a heavy dose of its celebrated Neo-Greek food heritage, to boot.
“The culinary direction we follow at Domes has locality in its core,” says Petros Dimas, Executive Chef at Domes Lake Algarve. “All the outlets are focusing on local ingredients and most of the cuisine used is Portuguese.”
The resort’s gastronomic offering includes everything from a fusion buffet to a floating restaurant on a private lake, all of which have menus led by seasonal and sustainable ingredients.
“Going local also allows us to ensure that our guests have access to top quality products.”
The menu at Domes’ award-winning favorite, Topos Restaurant, for example, has been tweaked to celebrate a more Portuguese vision.
“Considering that the variety of base products is very similar and the usage of those products very close, making an adjusted menu that brings up the two cultures was the perfect concept execution for TOPOS in the Algarve,” says Dimas.
Elsewhere, Gustatio Restaurant offers a more informal experience with a fresh Portuguese buffet inspired by the Romans who settled in Vilamoura (‘gustatio’ being the gastronomic ritual of tasting).
And that’s just the start.
Moving around the resort, the unassuming foodie experiences don’t stop coming.
Poolside (or should we say ‘pools-side’), The Apricus Pool Bar offers a fresh and healthy menu of light bites and cold drinks throughout the day while Raw Gastro Bar (which opens in the evenings at 5pm), boasts the perfect terrace to watch the sunset with a cocktail or two, heightened by an eclectic ‘pairing’ menu of raw gastro finger-foods.
As the only hotel with access to Praia de Falesia beach, Domes Lake Algarve also plays host to one of the Algarve’s only beachside restaurants.
Sora Beach, led by chef Vítor Moreira, is not to be missed. An open-air seafood paradise, the restaurant is the perfect place to indulge in some oysters, try fish ‘cataplana’ (a stew cooked in a clam-shaped copper pot), eat your body weight in clams “à bulhão pato”, and more. Accompanied by something from its carefully-curated wine list, of course.
“We are importing a few Greek wine labels, but 85% of the wine list is comprised by Portuguese labels considering the long tradition of the country in wine-making and of course, its total quality in that field,” Dimas continues.
Soon, Domes plans to launch the last of its many culinary destinations in the Algarve, with a floating restaurant, Makris On The Lake.
On top of the resort’s private saltwater lake, Dimas will serve an ultra-fusion menu which will change regularly—dependant on what’s fresh, seasonal and available to him from local, choice farmer’s markets.
“I am constantly evolving my art; trying out new ingredients, flavors or an unexpected combination of materials. My quest to delight our guests is what keeps me alive and creative!”