restaurants, restaurants - Castro Marim

Restaurant Review – O Infante, Castro Marim

O Infante - generous portion sizes

Nestled in a cul-de-sac off the busy EN125 road near Castro Marim in the eastern Algarve, it would be easy to dismiss O Infante the moment you have driven past it, but to do so would be a sad mistake.

O Infante - generous portion sizes

O Infante – generous portion sizes

We first popped into O Infante on the way home from the beach and immediately felt a little underdressed in the smart surroundings. The staff didn’t seem to mind at all though and promptly sat us down with the extensive menu. The service throughout that meal was excellent and has remained so on the other occasions that we have visited.

We’ve tried numerous different dishes at O Infante. The lamb chops is my personal favourite – a generous portion of chops along with rice, vegetables and potatoes. As with all main courses it is a substantial dish – O Infante serves up some seriously big portions.

The ‘three steaks of the chef’ is another dish that tends to be popular when we take guests to O Infante. It does exactly what it says on the tin – it’s three steaks, served side by side on the plate, each with a different sauce. The enormous pile of meat is accompanied by vegetables, rice, chips and a stack of crispy onion wispy bits. We’ve eaten this particular dish several times now and the quality of the steaks can be variable, which is one of very few criticisms we’ve been able to come up with about this restaurant.

O Infante - the three steaks

O Infante – the three steaks

Where O Infante really comes into its own is with the two person and special dishes. The cataplana is, quite simply, the best I’ve tasted. It is packed with giant prawns, crayfish and clams, all in a beautifully rich yet light sauce. To add to its brilliance, it also includes an entire lobster.

However, even the cataplana pales in comparison to the shellfish feast that is on the specials menu. It’s not cheap (€90 for two people) but it is definitely worth the money for a special occasion. Served on a huge circular platter that is presented to your table with a flaming bowl in the middle, it includes lobster, several sizes of prawns prepared in a variety of ways, dressed crab, clams, langoustines and so much more.

O Infante - part of the shellfish platter

O Infante – part of the shellfish platter

The dessert menu is almost as large as the main menu and the chocolate mousse comes highly recommended. The range of ice cream and sorbet desserts is impressive and those that we have tried have all been extremely good.

Coffee after the meal is served with a cinnamon stick on the side, which adds a lovely hint of spice when swirled through a bica (espresso).

O Infante, despite costing ever so slightly more than our usual haunts, is one of our favourite places to eat with friends and family. It tends to be a ‘last night’ venue when we want to be sure that our guests have a wonderful last dinner to remember their holiday by. With great food and service to match, it’s a good restaurant for a special occasion and one we will be visiting regularly for years to come.

O Infante - giant prawns

O Infante – giant prawns

We also discovered recently that O Infante appears to have a sister restaurant – O Infante Panorâmico – nearby at Praia Verde. With stunning views out over the beach and the sea, O Infante Panorâmico is also a great place to dine, though for some reason we couldn’t put our finger on it didn’t quite live up to the original O Infante’s impressive standard.

Image credits: Rob Herring