Hidden Gems – Gigi’s, The Algarve
Breathtaking cliffs and sandy beaches that stretch as far as the eye can see - for decades, the Algarve has been a popular destination for Europeans.
Whilst a trip to the Algarve is not complete until you have eaten Frango da Guia (Chicken Piri Piri) at Ramirez in Guia, you cannot pass on Portugal’s bountiful ocean produce.
Here you can find some of the best seafood in Europe, offered up by the rich waters of the Atlantic Ocean. The diversity on offer is broad, and seafood tends to be bigger than you would find on the Costa del Sol or French Riviera since numerous species make their way from the Azores to the Mediterranean to spawn.
One of the best places to spend your lunch hours is at Gigi’s, Praia da Quinta do Lago in Almancil. An Ayrton Senna favorite, Gigi’s qualifies as perhaps Europe’s most perfect restaurant.
The whole Gigi’s experience starts with pleasurable walk across a long wooden bridge over the luscious wetlands of the Ria Formosa National Park. As you approach the ocean, take your time to take in the breathtaking beauty of this natural habitat and you might spot a rare Purple Swamphen or other aquatic birds like Flamingos.
Like a mirage, Gigi’s will appear in the distance and by this time, your appetite is insatiable. A friendly black Portuguese water dog will likely be soaking up the sunshine on the sandy beach.
As you take a seat on the deck of this beachfront oasis, just soak in the atmosphere of a bubbling jet-set crowd of patrons that no doubt make it a must to return year after year.
No need for menus here as you make your way to the seafood display and pick from a choice of Gigi’s early morning jaunt to Quarteira fish market. Very likely, the charismatic and larger than life Gigi himself will be there to recommend the day’s specials. Be adventurous and order the head of the largest fish you see. Gigi will no doubt appreciate your excellent choice - the cheeks, often frowned upon by urban dwellers, are without a doubt the best part of the fish. For a special treat, do yourself a favour and order the carabinieri, humongous red prawns.
To pair with your meal, I suggest a Vinho Verde, Portugal’s famous green wine, light and fresh, and a perfect compliment to one of the best meals you will ever have.
Gigi’s is closed from December through to the end of January, and bookings are a must during high season. Reservations: +351 964 045 178
Dean Owen is Co-Founder of Quimojo, a revolutionary new concept in Global Campus Recruitment."""""
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