.: Missing Alentejo :.

Last time I was in Portugal was back in March for his birthday. It felt so good to see family and friends and marvel myself in all the food (we have so many hidden treasures, you can check a few here).

But now that everyone is going on holidays, I’m really craving for a holiday in one of my favourite regions in the world: Alentejo. As I can’t fly for a few months still need to wait for February next year (oh I’m seriously counting down!!!). but no matter what need to do a little escape to explore Alentejo once more. (You can see my previous posts about Alentejo here)

Places to Stay

Ecork Hotel

As the name suggests, the inspiration for this place is an eco hotel where they try to use of the best products in the region: cork! I love cork! Would love to have one of these bags!

 

For more bag inspiration you can check Pelcor’s website here.

Back to the hotel, look at this amazing view?

You can see their special offers here.

Torre de Palma, Wine Hotel

As the name suggests, it’s an hotel centred around of the best things about Alentejo, the wine! They have their own vineyard

Love this minimalist space

Prices start at around £126 per night, but you can check the offers here and the wine experiences here.

L’and Vinyeards

Similar to the one above, with modern architecture. Love this place

If you can try to get one of the sky suites as you’ll be able to enjoy the amazing sky! Because of there are almost no cities in Alentejo, most of the places are small villages and small houses in open air field, you have the most amazing sky, full of stars!

For all the offers and experiences check here. Rooms start around £153.

Herdade do Amarelo

This place, is a gorgeous traditional place, perfect to disconnect from the world and just enjoy the estate itself.

What do do in Alentejo

  • Loads! Ensure you get at least a wine tasting experience, but you should be able to explore some of the vineyards as well!
  • Balloon ride – that’s right, Alentejo is so gorgeous that it’s worth to wake up early in the morning and see the sunrise
  • Eat – Most of the places above have their own restaurant and really good chefs, but any small restaurant will have their own wonders. The food in Alentejo is just superb!
  • Explore – It’s the perfect place to drive around the coast and explore the gorgeous coastal beach. It’s one of the most beautiful coasts in the world, I’m sure about that!

It’s quite easy to see why I miss Alentejo so badly right? So looking forward to be back!

.: White Houses – Alentejo, Portugal :.

For those of you that are following me for a while you will know that one of my favourite regions in the world is Alentejo, Portugal! Before I left Portugal back in 2010, I used to wake up early in the morning and explore a different corner of Alentejo.

.: The Food :.

Carne de Porco Alentejana

Amejoas a bolhao pato

Arroz de Marisco – seafood rice

.: The wine :.

Alentejo is one of the most wine regions in Portugal, I guess second to “Douro”, the birthplace of Port wine. But for an honest wine to drink among friends I can’t resist Alentejo wine. Unpretentious, dry and strong

Adega de Borba

Antão Vaz da Peceguina Branco

Esporao reserva

One of my favourite

Monte Velho

.: The landscape :.

I would say this is the best part of it all. After the amazing food and wines, it’s a gorgeous natural landscape

There’s also the coast! Imagine Rhossili Bay, Wales, but even more unique!

.: An experience @ Alentejo :.

It’s all about turning off your phone – but leaving your camera on for some amazing photos – shutting down and just relax!

Some examples below

Casas da Lupa

House on alentejo shore

Monte do Zambujeiro

For more inspirations and places to stay check here.

Looking forward to go! Tempted to go as well?

.: My favourite restaurant :.

When I visit a restaurant most of the times I’m not looking just for the food, I’m searching for a journey of senses, for the whole experience, from the moment I go through the door up to the moment I leave the restaurant. The experience is equally important as the quality of the food itself.

I’ve found very good service but not memorable food or really nice food but poor service. It’s rare to find a place that deliver both, but fortunately for us, quite randomly we found one of those places.

Alentejo, Portugal

Yap, that’s it, our favourite place so far is in the heart of Alentejo, Portugal. Alentejo is my favourite Portuguese wine region as well. It was actually voted for some international magazines as the best wine holidays in Europe.

It’s the perfect place for the perfect holidays including: gorgeous beaches, some of the most beautiful in the world (especially around Costa Vincentina)

Amazing food, relaxing villages where you can let your soul wonder and just enjoy the whole experience. It’s very tourist  (yet!) so expect to enjoy raw beauty. If you’re searching a place to stay and enjoy please check “Casas Brancas” (White houses), as they offer really good agro-tourism.

A cadeia quinhentista, Estremoz, Portugal

Convinced about the region? A Cadeia Quinhentista is located in the heart of Estremoz, a lovely town know for the “castle”

 

A good plan would actually be to stay at “Pousada Rainha Santa Isabel“, which is part of the wider “Pousadas de Portugal”, historical buildings transformed into hotels. The experience is worth it! (Because I was living in Lisbon, I never had a night stay, but wish I did!)

During the ownership of Queen Santa Isabel, who died here in 1336, Estremoz became one of the main political centres of that reign, offering advice to important figures and being the private stage for royal politics during the end of the first dynasty. At the beginning of the twentieth century the grouping of the castle, the village walls, the so called Torre das Couraças (Towers of Armour) and the Queen Santa Chapel were classified as a National Monument since 1910.

A Cadeia, stays right in front of the Pousada. We discovered this place by chance because he was felling hungry. It was around 19h and the place was already 95% fully booked, only 2 tables where available, so we were lucky to get one of those. They only opening on the evenings and they are mostly fully booked every day so I would recommend a reservation.

In fact, A Cadeia (which means prison in portuguese) used to be a medieval prison from the XVI century, which was restored in the shape of the best restaurant I know. The decoration is really brilliant! I would recommend a stop by the bar on the upper floor while you wait for dinner.

Note: None of the photos is my own, as I was not publishing reviews at the times I’ve visited A Cadeia. Once I get back I will post new photos and a new review.

The terrace is quite new, I didn’t had the chance to visit it yet!

The decoration is brilliant from my point of view, as it keeps the historical lines but it adds a modern twist to it

Then in the main restaurant floor expect to be amazed. The service is excellent from the moment you get indoors. You will be explained the story of the restaurant, be served with different types of local bread and you will feel at home. They will also give you some mini starters made with local products. After all this is the concept of the restaurant, fusion modern “alentejo” cuisine made out with local sourced ingredients.

At this point you will be amazed already, at least I was! All the tableware is Portuguese made.

You can then select your own starters, I remember they had really good choices. We’ve tried different ones and all of them where amazing. And the bread, gosh the bread is so delicious!

For the mains, if you like meat then try any meat dish. I had wild boar once, and it was delicious, this is my photo below from 2010

I also had the mulled wine and it was delicious! Make sure you select a local wine, they will help you out with the choice depending on what your main is

Dessert…. I wish I had taken a photo, but after more than 5 years I still remember I had this delicious chocolate dessert (Marquise de chocolate). Other samples below:

Again the chef adds her own twist into classical portuguese desserts, and it’s all yummy! Also make sure you try the local liquors (if you like liquor) as they are really good.

Also please note, this is a place to enjoy your meal and savour every bite, so please don’t expect a quick service. I think both times we took roughly 2h. Not a good place to go if you are in a hurry.

At this point, and based on Lisbon prices I thought it was going to be roughly 100€ for the 2 of us, so I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw the total bill at around 50€!

I won’t say it’s the most delicious food I ever had because it’s not. There are very cheap restaurants that serve really authentic good “alentejo” food, but! it’s all about the overall experience and to me this is the best restaurant. Using the Michelin definitions, it’s a place we are willing to make a detour of almost 2h driving just to have the please of having a meal and leaving with a smile on our faces. Both times we went there we had the same reaction. This is what food means to me, a journey of senses, something you will always remember with a smile. It’s the only way I can actually do such a review 5 years later of my latest visit.

What is your favourite restaurant and why? Any experience you would like to share?