Coffee in Faro

238 Reviews

Star Travel Rating

5/5

Review type

Things to do

Location

Date of travel

March, 2017

Product name

Coffee in Faro

Product country

Faro

Product city

Faro

Travelled with

Reasons for trip

In a sense it defies all rules of competition. Wherever you go the price is the same. The choice for Portuguese is cafe or meia de leite, one is espresso, the other mixed with milk. For others Americano is abatanado; there is also cappucino, but this comes in a variety of arrangements. There may be espresso as a base, with the usual frothy milk above, or what looks like a layering of coffee, milk and whipped cream, or sometimes without the intermediate layer of milk. How they keep these last in separate layers is their secret: my taster (I had abatanado) didn’t like them, so if ‘traditional’ cappucino seemed to be on offer that was the choice; otherwise meia de laite. That is, until we found restaurants doing abatanado with hot milk in a jug.

So there is competition: not in price as the monetarists argue, but in quality or what meets your taste. We went most days for either morning or after lunch coffee, sometimes in the same place as we’d had lunch. The following are our preferences; those we didn’t like are not mentioned.

For elegance we chose Tertullia Algarvia in Vila-a-dentro, the old walled town. This had been reconstructed from what their video suggests was a ruin. Anything but now. They serve excellent if expensive meals; at other times there will be coffee and a delicious range of cake: fig, chocolate and orange with a peach jus was amazing. A cheaper but also delicious alternative is Dom Rodrigo, a pinched up filo pastry case with almond and honey filling, or between the two Torta de laranja, like an orange swiss roll but tasting almost like a liqueur.

For old-world character we went to Cafe Alianca, once frequented by the likes of Simone de Beauvoir. There you can drink French style capuccino in wooden panelled surroundings and admire the photos of old Faro and old visitors. This is within fifty metres of the harbour. It also does a fine line in petiscos, Portuguese tapas, with sparkling wine: ideal for a hot day in a pedestrian area.

Gardy is in another pedestrian street, where many of the shops are located. Cakes are excellent and coffee is fine. Late in our stay we found a particular delight. It was very new, having been opened only a few weeks earlier. The street, as the charming staff explained, is not where Farese people would have chosen to go, having been run down. It is now on an upward curve. A smart kitchen-ware shop has opened, a new shop front is being installed opposite and a completely renovated building stands at the smart end of the street, where it opens on a fashionable square with several flourishing restaurants. Saudade em Portugues, as the restaurant is called, stands about half way along.

We went there once for lunch, and regretted having booked elsewhere the next day, but we managed two visits for coffee and – as everyone must have at some time – pastis de nata, the creamy tarts originating in a convent but since the nineteenth century a staple of Lisbon and its neighbour Belem. They are of course found all over Portugal, even in slot machines at airports. Plus, there is a Portuguese cafe in Bury St Edmunds with a delicatessan in Aldeburgh providing for the needs of Suffolk.

Saudade em Portugues is simply but comfortably furnished, selling food and drink to take away as well as its specialities for consumption inside. They have taken a great deal of trouble over the refurbishment and we hope they will be successful. ‘Saudade’ is an untranslatable word suggesting melancholy with a pressure of fate, or perhaps ‘soul’ as in the Spanish ‘duende’. May it not be melancholy for them: they certainly have soul.

John.Pelling

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