Portugal is a paradise for foodies and nowhere is it more evident than in lively Lagos. In the heart of the bright white and vibrant Lagos Old Town is the hidden gem Mar d’ Estorias. Mar d’ Estorias is a multifunctional space that seamlessly blends Portuguese culture and tradition with the modern world. Dining at Mar d’Estorias served as an introduction to Portuguese customs and highlighted the true spirit of the Algarve. This innovative space that is so much more than just the sum of its parts values all that makes Portugal unique and aims to bring people together for delicious food, great drinks and good conversation. The historic venue offers a great mix of both the traditional and modern aspects of Portugal. Mar d’Estorias consists of a shop, an art gallery, a restaurant and a rooftop terrace bar and is a must-visit location when in Lagos.
Central Location in Lagos
Mar d’Estorias is situated in a really central location at the heart of the busy Lagos Old Town. On the busy thoroughfare and cobblestone street of Rua Silva Lopes you will find the large white building with a small sign marking it as Mar d’Estorias. This special place is close to the marina and the other attractions and landmarks of Lagos. With such a central location, Mar d’Estorias is the perfect spot for lunch, dinner or sunset drinks. This is especially evident when you take in the gorgeous views from the rooftop terrace. From this vantage point, visitors have views of the surrounding streets of Old Town and a glimpse of the blue Atlantic Ocean.
Mar d’Estorias Building & History
The Mar d’Estorias building has been around for a long time both witnessing and absorbing the history of Lagos. Mar d’Estorias was created as a way to honor and remember this history and the experiences of the Algarvian people. Originally built-in the 15th century as a church the building reflects the early Algarve renaissance period in its style. The building then went on to be the headquarters for the Lagos Maritime Association and embellished with a majestic entrance. After the 1755 earthquakes it had to be renovated and was then used as a warehouse for wines and cereals before becoming the headquarters of the Lagos fire brigade. Finally the Mar d’Estorias team restored the building to its former glory. By filling the spaces with crafts, art, food and other locally created products they have managed to restore its soul.
Drinks & Starters
We had the absolute pleasure of having lunch at Mar d’Estorias which we enjoyed on the rooftop terrace. The tasty food combined with the warm spring sunshine, fresh ocean air and vibrant sights and sounds of Lagos was a real treat. We started off with an Algarvian Caprhina cocktail made from Medronho which is a local Algarve fruit which was incredible. During the lunch I also savored the sweet home-made lemonade and my husband enjoyed a local craft beer. Our starter was a wonderful mix of dishes such as cured tuna belly (salty but surprisingly good). We loved the variety of different home-made breads (my favourite was the carob and fig) that was paired with mackerel and spicy tuna dips.
Main Course & Desserts
The main course was also a superb mix of dishes that allowed us to sample the best on the Mar d’Estorias menu. We tried the cockles with their tasty lemon garlic and coriander flavouring. Also the traditional Portuguese dish of egg and tomato which is a must try while in the country. However, it was the seared tuna that really stood out and was served with bean salad and sun-dried tomatoes. Finally we ended off our amazing meal with some special sweet treats that included a truffle and ice-cream. The carob and chocolate truffle has velvety texture and the cacao gave it a bitter-sweet taste. We thoroughly enjoyed the strong-tasting banana ice-cream created from bananas grown on the island of Madeira.
In terms of the food, I cannot emphasize enough how much I loved the home-made carob and fig bread (locals can order and buy loaves). Also we truly loved the concept of the locally sourced, freshly made meals. The menu is changed seasonally to accommodate the different produce available at the time and to fully support the local community. The high-quality and innovative dishes created by talented chef Megan Melling are all health conscious and delicious. Mar d’Estorias even have events and workshops aimed at educating people about healthy lifestyle choices and informing them about local products. However, the best part of Mar d’Estorias is the interesting use of space and the inviting atmosphere. The friendly staff members, top-quality products, beautiful environment and mouth-watering food will ensure that your return for more. Mar d’Estorias truly is a one-of-a-kind place that will have you falling in love with the Algarve.
We would like to thank Mar d’Estorias for hosting us for lunch. As always all opinions are my own.
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