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I visited one of Portugal’s leading fish restaurants, and here’s the verdict…

Updated: Jun 17

One thing I’ve become acutely aware of in recent years, is how much being on holiday seems to transform me into a ‘yes person!’… and particularly when it comes to food.

Ordinarily, I’m inclined to not venture too far outside the parameters of what I know (and what I know I like) but with a new location…the boundaries of individual taste and appetite grow slack.

This isn’t necessarily to say that ‘anything goes,’ but it’s certainly a green flag for any waiter bearing a specials board, to give it their best shot.

This particular holiday, what has become more of a regular meal feature than it probably EVER would back home… is shellfish. And fish in general!

After a visit to Ria Restaurant at the Anantara resort in Vilamoura, and a feast of fresh Sardines, Clams and Turbot, the precedent for the rest of the week was officially set.

Ria specialises in the freshest seafood from the Algarve coast, including a catch of the day, served at the serene poolside. It is designed to encapsulate Portugal’s rich culinary scene, and niches down on fresh, healthy cuisine, teamed with the benefits of a fine dining experience.

Among the highlights of the meal, for me, were the local clams - “Bulhão Pato” - made with olive oil, garlic, lemon, white wine, coriander.

Admittedly, this was as much owed to the sauce (a bread-dunker’s heaven!!), as it was to salty, mineraly delight of those fresh-from-the-sea clams.

In the grand scheme of ‘fish restaurants’, Ria is certainly up there as one of the best I’ve ever been to.

Not just because of the first-class food, nor the all-too-quaffable wine (local… of course,) but also because it’s succeeded in broadening my seafood horizons.

It’s a testament, you could say, to how being more ‘yes’ inclined on holiday, can open doors to new food experiences - the likes of which allow taste and preference to mature and evolve.

Before recently, I wouldn’t say I had a particularly eclectic palate, and I wasn’t particularly a ‘fish person.’

That was, until being a ‘yes’ one, proved otherwise.

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