Having explored various restaurants in Luz, stumbling upon Aquário Bistro was a delightful surprise. Despite passing by it several times, I had no idea a restaurant existed in this tucked-away spot. Nestled discreetly within an apartment building, you need to venture into the lobby to discover the inviting menu. On the main road, all that catches your eye is a prominent signboard featuring a coffee cup—no indication of the restaurant's name.

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As the restaurant is often fully booked, it seems that people have managed to discover its charm. With two friendly brothers, Sergio and Vitor Mateus, at the helm, Aquário has been pleasing diners for the past two decades. Both brothers double as chefs, with an additional kitchen assistant. That's the entirety of their team. Sergio, also handles the service with great care.

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Featuring only seven tables and 22 chairs, securing a reservation is essential if you want a seat at this sought-after establishment. Sérgio proudly shared that they have a loyal following of regulars who frequent the restaurant.

The decor is tasteful, embracing a bistro ambiance, with wicker chairs and tiled floors. Wood paneling adorns the walls, with hundreds of photographs capturing the memories of guests who have graced the restaurant over the past 20 years.

As you settle in, you'll be greeted by the pleasant sounds of background music, including classics like John Lennon's "Imagine." Some guests unconsciously tap their fingers along with the music, fostering a relaxed atmosphere. The only jarring note is an unsightly TV mounted on the wall, an unusual sight that feels out of place in this otherwise charming setting.

The menu boasts a wide array of classic dishes, predominantly of French origin, with prices ranging from €18.50 to €36.

We began our culinary journey with a fantastic chilled white Douro wine—a top-notch choice priced at a mere €20 per bottle.

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Next came the cold starter: green asparagus adorned with a delightful dressing, pink pepper, and chives. Not only did the chef present it beautifully, but it also delighted our taste buds.

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For our hot starter, we were served mushrooms, prepared simply yet scrumptiously with garlic oil. Absolutely delectable!

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As our main course, we savored a dish featuring rice, sautéed vegetables, and an assortment of nuts. Often, chefs overlook the fact that vegetarian and vegan options still require protein, such as nuts, lentils, chickpeas, beans, or tofu. But these talented chefs take care of such details!

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And for dessert, we indulged in lime sorbet ice cream accompanied by a vibrant assortment of fresh fruits—truly a feast for the eyes. From papaya to blackberries, mango, red currant, and strawberries, it was a delectable masterpiece!

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Our dining experience at Aquário Bistro was nothing short of exceptional. The dishes showcased pure flavours, devoid of unnecessary sauces, and each plate was a work of art in itself.

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I wholeheartedly recommend this hidden gem to all food enthusiasts seeking an unforgettable culinary experience.

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One important note: Aquário Bistro only accepts cash payments. As luck would have it, I had no cash on hand, but Sérgio kindly allowed me to return the following day to settle the bill. It's truly wonderful to encounter such trust in people, particularly when meeting them for the first time.

I have truly fallen in love with Portugal.

Look for more information and the menu: https://www.hotspotsalgarve.com/restaurants/aquario-bistro/

Rating: Food 8.6 Service 8.6 Price/Quality 8.6 Atmosphere 8.6

TTL rating 8.6 Vegan friendly: 1/5


Meet Peter Cruiming, an Algarve-based food blogger. Residing in Almancil with wife Marlot Anna, a professional photographer, and their 7-year-old son, Elyas. Explore daily Algarve dining stories at www.HotspotsAlgarve.com, focused on Peter's passion for healthy and vegetarian food.  Photo by www.MarlotAnna.com

Peter Cruiming
The views expressed on this page are those of the author and not of The Portugal News.