Rota do peixe means in Portuguese “the road of the fish”. This initiative came from the APTECE (Associaçao Portuguesa de Turismo de Culinária e Economia – the Portuguese association for tourism of cuisine and economy), whose goal it is to promote the Portuguese gastronomy worldwide. Considering Portuguese fishes and seafood as the best sea products in the world, they wish to market these as excellent and high quality products. To do so, the association has created a route, where people would have the chance to discover and taste the best of the Portuguese Gastronomy while following the route. On their site, the best fishes and typical specialities of each region are described. Tips about restaurants, where these delights are cooked at the best, as well as activities and festivities with regard to the sea and ocean are also to be found in the guide.
The initiative is still relatively new. That’s why journalists and bloggers are invited to try the route and taste the Portuguese specialities in order to be able to write about it. The website and the descriptions concerning the route are already available in Portuguese, English and Spanish.
In addition to that, the association is leading studies about the sustainability of fish as a grocery and the importance of the Portuguese gastronomy for travellers. But why do the Portuguese people think that their fish is the best in the world? Here is their answer: according to them, the secret of their delicious fish is the richness of the endless sea from which they are caught: the Atlantic Ocean. Add to that the traditional cooking methods of the regions and you get a delicious fish dish! It doesn´t matter if just grilled with salt, or marinated in a vinaigrette, if being served as main dish or as part of a typical Cataplana, if being cooked in the oven or fried in the pan, every variation will for sure delight your stomach. One thing never changes though: it is always fresh.
In the guide, you will find every type of fish being separately described with its particularities and with the best recipes and ways to cook it. The most known fish is the codfish, which here is called “Bacalhau”. This one actually doesn’t come from Portugal. But it’s here, that the fish is being dried, salted and stored, -that’s the way they manage to conserve it so long-, in order to being cooked in 1001 possible different ways. The typical and traditional being the Bacalhau à Bras, a dish in which the fish is shredded, then mixed and served with eggs, coriander, olives and onions. However, codfish can also be grilled, roasted, cooked with cream or in many other delicious ways!
Bacalhau à Bras
Just as famous and typical as the Bacalhau is the sardine. According to the Portuguese, this fish is the queen of the main dishes and festivals of the country. Most of the time, this one is only being grilled with salt and olive oil, especially for parties.
Otherwise, there are also all the traditional fishes such as tuna, salmon, dorado, horse and king mackerel, sea bass, gilthead, monkfish, all kind of squids and octopus, langoustines, lobsters, shrimps and shells that can be tasted in Portugal. The Portuguese are also known for their cans, in which they put all kinds of fishes in all kinds of marinades.
The roads cover three different regions: the Rota do Norte, Rota do Centro and Rota do Alentejo (the North, Center and Alentejo routes). You can find more information on their website: http://rotadopeixe.com/.
But that´s not all! Just for you, we looked for the best fish restaurants in Portugal and selected some culinary tips for your next holiday trips. At the Algarve, we particularly recommend the restaurant Ribeiro do Poço, in the city of Vila do Bispo. There, you will find a lot of different types of fish, as well as the specialty Percebes, about which you can also read about in our blog. The restaurant has a cosy atmosphere, is rustic and decorated with old pictures of the region. You can find more information here: and as a place to stay we suggest the Aldeia da Pedralva.
The A Lota in Alvor serves, among other excellent fish dishes, a delicious Fish curry. Some of them are even served and prepared directly on the dining table. That makes the thing a lot more exciting and allows you to see exactly what you’re about to eat!
The Evaristo in Albufeira distinguishes itself from others by not offering any Menu. Once there, you just choose one of the fresh fishes of the day, that will than be deliciously cooked for you. You can find more information about the restaurant here and a place to stay in the Hotel Vila Joya.
Another one-of-a-kind restaurant is the Ol Bastards in Lagos, which offers a modern kind of fish & chips. The fish is fried and served with spiced potatoes fries and homemade mayonnaise.
In Lisbon, we found even more tips for fish lovers. The Solar 31 serves all kinds of high quality fresh fish dishes. For each order, the fish is first presented alive to the client and than filleted at the table. What a unique experience! For those who aren’t crazy about fish, you will also find some meat dishes that offer, without saying, the same quality. You can find more information about the restaurant here.
The Cevicheria, in accordance to its name, serves a delicious Cerviche. This one is actually not Portuguese, but is cooked everywhere in the country, which made it famous. At the counter, you can see the chiefs cooking in live. They’re making a real show! Plus, you will be able to eat some really rare fish dishes here that you won’t find in any other restaurant!
The Sea Me in the Time Market is also an experience you should make! The atmosphere on its own is incredible: lively and joyful. Here, the delicious, fresh fish is first chosen by the guest before being cooked following one of the many delicious recipes of the restaurant. The Sushi are also exceptional here.
You can find more information here and a place to stay here on our website.
In Porto, you will find the Gambamar: Marisqueira e Cervejaria. A real culinary paradise: here, they cook all kinds of seafood. You’re in a hurry? No problem! They also offer a Take Away service. You can find more information here.
The Taberna dos Mercadores is known for the excellent quality of its fish dishes. This restaurant is really chic and intimate. Just think to book a table before going there! The restaurant is pretty small and has only eight tables for each two persons.
Finally, we recommend you to go to the Ostras & Coisas, which is an amazing oyster and seafood restaurant. You can find more information about it here.
And of course, we got you some other special places to stay in Porto. Check our hotels selection here.
What are you waiting for? Plan your trip to Portugal to discover the country’s amazing gastronomy! You’ll love it for sure.
Bacalhau com natas