on January 2, 2013
I think it’s always a great idea to get out and about in the Algarve especially in the evenings, to leave the town of Faro behind and drive out into the hills. About two kilometres from Santa Bárbara de Nexe there is a very sophisticated restaurant, popular with many tourists called Le Marquis. The location is stunning if a little difficult to find. The road leading to the restaurant is long and winding.Firstly, the building itself is worth a mention; a delightful farmhouse that is part of a convent and chapel complex. We always choose to sit outside on the patio which is shaded with trees and shrubs. The garden furniture is very good quality and comfortable with cushions and umbrellas to keep out the sun. It is always lovely to see traditional Portuguese chimney lamps hanging outside, pretty blue tiled benches and small arched windows.The décor inside is homely and very cottagey with tied back floral curtains covering the shuttered windows, brick floor, circular wooden tables that can either sit 4 or 6 people. There are square tables too that can be pushed together for large parties. The walls have been roughly plastered and painted white with pretty lamps casting mellow rays upon the tables and floor. Upon the walls are paintings and farm utensils giving the restaurant a rural feel. Plates are very simply of a white porcelain variety with wine glases that are also simple yet stylish. Flowers are often placed on the table; a single white vase containing one carnation and a bit of greenery.There is a set menu but the owners don’t mind if you mix and match. I would also say that there is a French style to the cooking and the way the food is presented. Dishes I would like to highlight are fish risotto, crispy duck which is cooked slightly rare giving it a pink look. The rack of lamb is good as is the fish soup (Bouillabaisse). I have never seen so many pieces of fresh pink prawns, salmon and flaky white fish in a soup. It is delicious. Desserts are homemade, artistically presented using fresh ingredients and beautifully served.Vegetarians are catered for, there are many vegetarian dishes that can be put together to make up a splendid main course.I recommend the house wine; it is reasonably priced and very tasty. Sometimes service can be a bit slow especially on busy days but it is worth having a little patience and waiting as the food is delicious. The owners will do their best to serve everyone as quick as possible. They are very friendly people always ready to shake hands and make visitors feel welcome.Pricewise, you are looking at approximately 80-85 Euros for two people. A little more expensive than other restaurants in Faro but I think it’s worth paying a bit more.
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