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- Tried & Tested
Our dinner, October 2016
When planning our holiday in the Algarve, Portugal in October 2016 my fiancé and I decided to try Sao Gabriel, a one Michelin stared restaurant.
Sao Gabriel is on a busy road just outside Quinta do Lago. The chef patron Leonel Pereira is from the Algarve and went to Brazil to hone his skills. The cuisine is modern Portuguese and acidic based.
The logo of Sao Gabriel are angel’s wings.
We took a taxi from the Conrad Algarve, where we stayed for 3 nights/4 days. The flat rate was 12 Euro (ca. 14.30 USD). It took ca. 5 minutes.
Sao Gabriel and the Thai Garden Restaurant share the premises and belong to Leonel Pereira.
Foliage hid the traditional farm house from view and we nearly forgot immediately that there was the motorway just outside.
There was a terrace and a cow sculpture. We guessed it had been part of a charity event, like the “Cow Parade” in Bilbao and bought by Sao Gabriel.
We arrived a bit early. The maître d’ didn’t mind and welcomed us. We were offered to start with an aperitif at the bar or go straight to our table. We wanted to be brought to our table, this was no problem.
The finca was divided into different sections, which reminded us of the classic and smaller concept of the Steirereck in Vienna in terms of how diners are located throughout this beautiful restaurant. Our table was in the winter garden with a fire place, yellow walls and modern artwork. The winter garden could hold around 15 persons.
Every seat was taken and our fellow diners were two couples (Portuguese and Scandinavian) and a family with a teenage daughter. Later a large group of Scandinavian [?] business men joined us, livening up the more peaceful atmosphere.
We started with a large bottle of still Luso water and two non-alcoholic fruit cocktails.
Next arrived the amuse-bouche. It was made with cheese, citrus and radish and presented in an artistic glass bowl.
A bread selection with extra virgin olive oil from the region and salt from Portugal and abroad was brought to our table next.
Our appetizers were Atlantic Blue Fin Tuna; cured, smoked and dried, sweet and sour pickles, sprout and mild pine sauce and sautéed mackerel and smoked eel, calcified fennel, beetroot in different textures and green leaves.
The textures and bursting flavors of the dishes were amazing.
Our main courses were wild sea bass served with Topinambur (Jerusalem artichoke) cream, black ravioli of green olives and smoked Granny Smith apple sauce and fillet of hake on barley risotto, plankton seaweed tempura, potato soufflé and fennel sauce.
Both were excellent. The standout was for me personally the hake. It tasted and smelled like the sea – very unusual, but I loved it.
Our desserts were caramel, curd cheese mousse, litchi and roses, chocolate and red berries fragrances, moistened cake, mousse, ice cream and crispy meringue.
To finish our meal we ordered two hot chocolates.
Before the bill arrived we received jellies with different flavors including one which was prepared with 11 different types of mint. Memorable and beautiful at the same time.
The bill was 171 Euro (ca. 203.40 USD).
The staff was attentive, aware of our allergies and knowledgeable. One reminded me about a work colleague, who is very charming and outgoing.
We would return in a heartbeat. We liked the setting, the excellent experimental cuisine and the kind staff, plus the location which added to the beautiful evening we had here in October 2016.
Would we recommend this restaurant to a friend? YES!
Would we want to enjoy dinner again at this restaurant in our future? YES!
Thank you and safe travels.