We are big fans of the Holiday Inn Algarve, so we were obviously intrigued to hear they were responsible for refurbishing the old and dilapidated Palm Beach snack bar right on the beach at Armação de Pêra. Dave was asked to go along and photograph the fabulously re-built restaurant venue when it opened earlier this summer, and he reported back that they had done an amazing job – so we were doubly keen to go along with friends and see what all the fuss was about!
We actually took friends along with us who had been huge fans of the old snack bar – a real litmus test for the new restaurant, which is obviously looking to cater to a different market, with a fine menu of delicious sounding food and an excellent wine menu to match.
The first thing to mention is the setting which is right on the beach and has the most fantastic beach and sea views, this is the perfect spot to watch the sun set each evening. There is a large outside raised deck area, and further seating inside, with large glass windows that ensure your view is unobstructed.
The second thing you notice is the decor, which is sophisticated and yet subtle, perfect for its beachfront setting. You really feel as though you are about to enjoy a first-class dining experience – and that’s even before the starters are served!
The staff are all polite, attentive and smart. It’s always a bonus when you are greeted warmly when you arrive and made to feel genuinely welcome, and the staff here all get it just right.
The menu was nicely presented and we were not rushed into choosing – which was a good job as there were plenty of things to choose from. Prices are mid-price range, it’s not the cheapest by any means, but it doesn’t make your eyes water when you read the menu .. and for the standard of food and service – and location, we would say that they have the prices just right.
You can actually view their full menu on their Facebook page – which is a nice touch .. and one we wish we had known about in advance as it might have speeded up our decision-making on the night! And we really should have tried one of their cocktails while we were trying to choose! (next time!)
The couvert and bread that came out was so delicious that we ordered more! It was not your average selection; we had octopus paté, butter with a smoked sausage cream filling, and an olive tapenade; and a nice selection of fresh breads.
We chose to enjoy two platters between four of us for starters – one cheese and one smoked ham and cured meats, and as you can see – they were both beautifully presented:
They were priced at 9.90€ each platter, and each one would be perfect for 2 people to share.
For their main course our friends both ordered piri-piri chicken – one with and one without the piri-piri sauce – which was no trouble at all for the chef.
I went for the Sautéed Octopus which came with sweet potatoes and peppers in a nice rich soy sauce – it was very filling!
Main courses are mainly priced around the 10-15€ mid-price range, with a few more extravagant options like Rack of Lamb at 21.80€ or even Lobster at 88€/kg. Main course salads are priced from 6.50€ to 12.70€. We had lovely side salads with our main courses too:
Dave went for the sirloin steak at 18.50€ and hit the jackpot – beautifully presented, perfectly cooked medium-rare and tender. We were all a tad envious of his plate!
We are not big wine drinkers, and opted for a ½ bottle of Torre de Menagem Vinho Verde at 9€ – house wines start at 12-14 € a bottle. It was a lovely well flavoured wine and surprisingly went well with all three courses.
The dessert menu is always the first page that Alyson looks at in a restaurant (!) and she wasn’t disappointed here .. cottage cheese mousse (!) Poppy-flower mousse, lemon tartlet, fresh fruit .. or the magic words ‘fig almond and carob tart’ … an easy choice! (and with an extra addition of mango mousse too – a cheeky request!)
Dave opted for the Doce de Casa – the Poppy-flower mousse, which was delicious (we know as we all sneaked a bit!)
And our friends both chose the lemon tartlet, which was beautifully presented – we can’t tell you how it tasted though as they both snaffled theirs down so quickly!!
Coffees, 2 big bottles of water (a nice touch – they have large bottles of sparkling water – so many places only have small bottles of sparkling) and three beers and the total came to 120€ for 4 people. For the setting, quality of the food, standard of service and overall presentation we thought this was spot on – and we can genuinely recommend this restaurant if you want a special night out.
Thanks go to Paulo Matias and his team for ensuring we had a fabulous meal and evening out. And please note as always our Blog reviews are completely independent and not linked in any way to the establishment in question .. we always tell it as we find it!
For more information you can visit their Facebook page by clicking the logo here:
And don’t forget to enjoy the sunset if you can if you visit them! They are open from midday until 11pm every day, and just to note they are closing 20th November and re-opening 1st February.