This is the restaurant at Vila Vita Parc where Algarvian flavours win fine dining honours, and vegetables have absolute privilege. It reopens on February 10th, maintaining the regional DNA, but also sophistication and suprise.
"The main stars are undoubtedly the vegetables. The vegetable base, as is the case with all Algarve-inspired cuisine, is maintained, as well as the add on of fish or shellfish," explains chef João Viegas, at the helm of Atlântico. As an example, he points to the new Cogumelos de Coentrada, inspired by the Pezinhos de Coentrada, or the fermented leek Brás with grilled lettuce and pumpkin, which will also debut this season.
For the Algarvian chef, the biggest challenge has been to recreate iconic recipes from his region "but on the vegetable side, finding the closest textures and flavours". As well as this, the concern with working with and publicising good produce is almost a must, especially in relation to everything that comes from the sea, where the restaurant's windows - and outdoor seating - open onto: "We'll use hooked squid, which is in season, sea bream, and fish from the fish market, depending on what's available on a daily basis. They won't be fixed on the menu, it'll be according to the catch of the day."
Although it has an admittedly fine dining feel and a more elegant atmosphere, the flavours always take us back to the Algarve. Hence, there will be Caldeirada (which can also be vegetable, with sweet potato and halophyte plants) and Arroz de Lula (squid rice), as well as Sopa de Peixe, Sapateira e Azeitona (fish, crab and olive soup), in a presentation of the gastronomic imaginary that is so close to the chef and that so well represents taste history of the country. The Oyster from the Ria Formosa will be served with apple and fennel. The menu also includes the Brioche de Gamba with coriander and fried garlic, one of the project's most appreciated dishes.
Until May 1st, the restaurant will only be open for lunch. From May 4th, it will open exclusively for dinner.