Our golf travel expert, Andy Waple, has not only been enjoying his golf in Portugal but seeking out the best golf course restaurants that offer the most memorable cuisine dining experiences. Over to Andy…
Most golfers I know put the quality of the course as their number one priority when they pick up their clubs and head to Portugal.
With more than 90 fantastic courses to choose from, you can be in any part of the country and its islands and there will be 18 holes that tick all the boxes in terms of design, conditioning and sheer enjoyment.
But these days a growing number of travelling golfers are looking for high class cuisine as well, so what about the standard of the clubhouses and the food?
Gourmet golf restaurants in Portugal
Throughout Portugal golfers will find relaxing clubhouses where everybody is made welcome and as a result many people look forward to a post round drink or two and maybe even lunch or dinner.
You will get a nice cold beer or a coffee at all of them, and many will offer a good standard of cuisine over and above the ubiquitous Club Sandwich.
There are however, a number of clubs and resorts who have taken their menus up several notches. Several now offer the full haute cuisine dining experience offering a contemporary take on local produce, sometimes boasting a Michelin rating to the envy of many restaurants around them.
Here I’ve chosen the best three I have visited recently, which are leading the way in providing an all-in high class experience for visitors, both on and off the course.
Monte Rei Golf and Country Club
Monte Rei Golf and Country Club, situated in the Eastern Algarve a little inland from the seaside town of Tavira, is probably the one that others seek to emulate for all round visitor excellence.
Its course is ranked number one in the whole of Portugal by many observers thanks to its testing Jack Nicklaus Signature design. Yet it scores over and above its opposition for its incredible high level of attentive service from the moment you arrive, which continues throughout until you pack your bags and leave.
Accommodation at Monte Rei Golf and Country Club is luxurious, and to top it off the resort features a true gourmet golf course restaurant named Vistas, run by celebrated Portuguese chef Rui Silvestre.
Rui has put his own distinctive twist on local produce from the land and sea, and the results are fabulous.
Dining at this restaurant is expensive, but it is a memorable experience. If it’s beyond budget or taste there are alternatives on site.
Palmares Ocean Living and Golf
At the other end of the Algarve near Lagos is Palmares Ocean Living and Golf, which has 27 excellent holes in three loops of nine, forming, in my opinion, one of the best golf courses in Europe.
Until recently the clubhouse was a bit of a shack and its replacement was inevitable considering the ongoing upscale development of new properties including a top quality hotel and luxury villas.
The views from the patio area overlooking the long sandy Meia Praia and the Bay of Alvor are unsurpassable and the replacement clubhouse is stunning. Constructed in red pigmented concrete to mimic the rich tones of the local clay soils, its quality really sums up this resort.
It houses the golf reception, changing rooms and pro shop as expected but also Al Sud, a Michelin starred golf course restaurant, offering Mediterranean cuisine with strong local influence under the culinary expertise of nationally renowned chef Louis Anjos.
The Penha Longa Resort
Set in the Sintra-Cascais Natural Park just a few miles away from the gorgeous palaces of Sintra, it’s one of the best hideaways for golfers wanting off-course luxury and top class cuisine without having to step outside the resort.
The hotel, which oozes class and elegance throughout, has eight restaurants, three of them – Lab by Sergi Arola, Spices and Midori having Michelin stars.
Another highlight is the golf club restaurant Arola where you can sit on the first floor terrace overlooking the course enjoying some fantastic modern interpretations of some Portuguese classic dishes including a number of interesting tapas.
Golf travel journalist Andy Waple struck his first ball in Portugal in the early 1980s at Quinta do Lago and was immediately hooked.
He has since travelled the world playing and reviewing some of the finest and far-flung courses and resorts and as a long standing member of the International Golf Travel Writers Association, his work has appeared in many UK based publications.
Andy visits Portugal regularly to enjoy the country’s golf, culture and cuisine.