To start off with some irony, after you have sold all of your precious and well chosen belongings in order to move abroad, one of the first things you will likely need to do upon arrival to your new country is... buy some of those things again.
Yes. It's kind of annoying. Yes. It sort of feels like a waste of time and money. It's just a reality and part of the process for the vast majority of expats and immigrants. So now that we have that out of the way..
It's even more helpful when that same place has a restaurant on site so you can refuel after the exhaustion that will more likely ensue. Let's check out Ikea's restaurant at Mar Shopping in Loulé Portugal!
As you can see, the restaurant seating area is stylish and truly massive and it also extends outside.
Some of the soft drinks available at the self serve beverage area at Ikea restaurant in Loulé Algarve Portugal.
Prices at Ikea's restaurant remain quite affordable from vegetable soup for 0,50€ and full meals for €3-9. Beer and wine are also available as are a variety of desserts, and side salads, fruits etc.
Pernil de Porco (Smoked Pork Knuckle)
Almost every Portuguese person in front of us in line ordered the Pernil de Porco and a wise friend told us before we left to always do what the locals do ;)
I've had a lot of pork in my life and must admit this ranks at the top of the list. Incredibly tender, juicy, and flavorful. Even though we were eating outside, sweltering under the blazing sun in an effort to stay a distance from the crowd... it was worth it. We chose broccoli and mashed potatoes as sides for the meal which was the most expensive at €9 but fed both of us!
Not even a cheesecake person, but the berry cheesecake at Ikea was super yummy.
How To Get A Free Pastel de Nata At Ikea:
At the end of the restaurant line you can buy a pastel de nata and a cafe for 0,50€.
Or you can buy a cafe for ...0,50€.
So why not snag both for the same price?!
As you finish the meal with a cafe and a nata, take a moment to enjoy where you at. Look at the view from the terrace of the Ikea restaurant in Loulé Portugal. A beautiful location, hard to capture in a hasty pano.
More Algarve Restaurant Reviews:
Filed Under: Vilamoura Restaurant Reviews • Algarve Restaurant Reviews • Portugal • Restaurant Review
Mourapão will always hold a special place in our hearts as it's the first place we ate after arriving in Portugal on the D7 visa. After those hectic final weeks waiting for the visa to arrive, selling belongings, hoping nothing important was forgotten, visiting with family, traveling and moving internationally for the first time (& during a pandemic!), handling canceled flights etc.... to finally arrive in Vilamoura was surreal. Nothing felt more simultaneously comforting and rewarding than the prospect of a pizza and a pastel de nata at the same time.
Located in Vilamoura near the Marina, Mourapão is a short walk from the secret apartment.
With indoor and outdoor seating available as well as an extensive menu, mourapão can cater to just about any guest.
Bonus, it's open until at least 10pm!
Here's what we have tried:
Tigelada is a traditional Portuguese dessert made with eggs, milk, and sugar. Typically baked in a wood fired oven inside a Portuguese ceramic bowl, this sweet dessert is all about the texture as shown in the photo above.
Pastel de Nata
Pastel de Nata is easily the most popular pastry you must try in Portugal with its flakey crust, pudding like custard filling and optional cinnamon topping. Remember when we made Pasteis de nata at home?
For an optimal experience, be sure to dine in at Mourapao and enjoy classic pizza made with fresh ingredients.
(Although you can get take out or pizza delivery in Vilamoura through apps like Glovo fyi) Take a look at that pizza slice - the cheese pull, the browning, the sheen... If this pizza is for you, you will know it. ;)
Discover more Pizza in Portugal here
Best Places To Stay in Vilamoura, Algarve Portugal
Algarve Restaurant Reviews
What are Fire Crackers?
Fire Crackers are a super simple recipe that make an addictive snack or appetizer and are a fun way to spice up (literally) some plain saltines! Follow along as I show step by step how to make this recipe, which I quartered.
How to Make Fire Crackers:
1. Measure out a quarter cup of oil. I use olive oil. I had this evoo on hand.
2. Add 1/4 ounce of Ranch Dressing Mix. I had a Tuscan Valley Ranch Mix from Aldi via Instacart.
3. Next add 1/2 Tablespoon of crushed red pepper flakes and 1/8 teaspoon of garlic powder.
4. Whisk it up with your baby whisk!
5. Next take a sleeve of saltines and stand them up in an airtight container. I had a leftover Thai Takeout container. Then drizzle the olive oil spice mix over all the crackers.
6. Put the lid on securely and turn the container upside down. Gently shake it side to side and flip it back and forth every 5 minutes or so over 20 minutes, just to try to get the crackers evenly coated.
7. One commenter suggested baking the crackers in an oven at 250 degrees F for 10-20 minutes (flipping once) to seal in flavor and help them last longer. So I gave that a go!
Here is the delicious end result:
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Published October 2021 • Updated July 2022
Filed Under: Tools & Gadgets
Having a good kitchen knife that is well cared for can make the difference between an enjoyable cooking experience and literally a dangerous one. Did you know that a dull knife can actually be more dangerous than a sharp one? You see, when a knife is dull you tend to push harder to force it through whatever you’re cutting and you are far more likely to lose control and cause injury that way. On the other hand, a quality and appropriately sharp knife will glide through efficiently and safely. Now you know!
A good knife can literally last a lifetime where as a cheap one will not perform well to begin with and will need replaced more often. Bearing that in mind.... here are some top knife choices available on Amazon.
Knives We Own & Love:
Victorinox Swiss Army Fibrox Pro 8” Chef’s Knife
What is a Chef’s knife used for?
A chef’s knife is a go-to tool for all sorts of food preparation from slicing and disjoint ingredients large cuts of meat to chopping and dicing veggies, fruits, and more!
Victorinox Swiss Army 12” Granton Slicing Knife
What is a slicing knife used for?
Slicing knives are thinner than carving knives making them more flexible and able to cut thinner slices of meat!
Victorinox Swiss Army 3.25” Spear Point Paring Knife
Victorinox Swiss Army Fibrox Pro 10.25” Curved Bread Knife with Serrated Edge
So those are our absolute must-have kitchen knives. Our most used knives by far!
What are your favorite knives? Leave a comment to share your must-have kitchen knives! :-)
More Tools & Gadget Recommendations:
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We're Justin & Marissa
Algarve Restaurant Reviews
Inspired By Travel
Pizza In Portugal
Plate Of The Day
Take Out Delivery Review
Tools & Gadgets
Vilamoura Restaurant Reviews