Vila Velha, Sagres, Portugal, charming setting and superb food
As you've seen from my previous post Sagres in Portugal is a sleepy little fishing town temporarily enlivened by young surfers and somewhat older couples with children in tow. The presence of a small fishing fleet and it's situation on Cap St Vincent means that it has access to some of the best fish the Atlantic can offer. Sagres is particularly fortunate it has a number of restaurants that do ample justice to the produce. In my opinion the best of these is Vila Velha. Vila Vehla is located away from the seafront in an old period house. It has a lovely little garden outside and when you enter it feels like someone's house that has been turned into a restaurant. It is quite dark and homely inside. Unusually for Portugal all the waiting staff are women and the Head chef is a german lady who frequently pops out of the kitchen to great old friends and returning customers. It has a lovely cosy atmosphere.
The menu has lots of traditional Portuguese dishes along with a few more modern items. We always start with some of their excellent home made bread, flavoured olive oil (the garlic oil with parmesan is a particular favourite), a plate of the local ham and the regional cheese which is a delicious semi cured affair. It is lovely tasty start to the meal. Baby G absolutely loves the ham whilst I can't get enough of the cheese especially partnered with the lovely bread. To follow we share a plate of the piri piri prawns. These are the best I have tasted, so sweet and tasty. The fresh prawns have been carefully prepared, tossed in hot chilli oil and expertly seasoned. A simple but stellar dish.
At Vila Velha, the obviously make fine use of the local fish. Like many of the restaurants here they bring around a big platter of fresh fish to show you what is on offer. My lovely wife is particularly fond of their sole whilst I go for the lovely seafood skewer which involves giant prawns, monkfish and huge scallops done over hot coals. The cooking of each component spot on. They also have great meat dishes here, I particularly enjoyed beef cooked in a rich Madeira sauce. One of baby G's all time favourite dishes is the beef skewer from the kids menu here. Desserts are suitably impressive particularly the house made chocolate ice cream. The service is charming and unsurprisingly the place is always busy. There is a good mix of people and the kitchen is unafraid of taking on the extra work when a large group book in often cooking them a special meal. If you are ever in Sagres you need to go.