On my last night in Faro, I went to dinner at Santo Antonio’s, a restaurant that came highly recommended by the front desk agent at the Best Western Dom Bernardo hotel I stayed at. And he had recommended it with so much passion that I was looking forward to trying it out.
The Santo Antonio is located of a main road in a little alley, away from the city center. It doesn’t have signage to identify it, but you’ll be able to tell by the colorful mural on the wall! You can choose from seating inside or out and I picked a table in the alley. The waiter had a menu in front of me quickly and made some recommendations for wine and food. As in many restaurants in Portugal, bread and olives appeared (for a charge) together with the wine – I kept the bread but passed on the olives (it’s ok to reject some or all of it – consider it an “offer to purchase” not an obligation). The bread was fresh and the recommended red wine was full-bodied and had the correct temperature.
I ordered the filet steak and it came on a potato gratin with a three-pepper sauce, carrots and grilled tomato. It was nicely presented, which reminded me just in time to take a picture before digging in! And it tasted as good as it looked: The steak was tender and grilled just right. The tomato was warm without being grilled to mush and the carrots were crunchy – for somebody with a limited taste for vegetables, that was a god send! The potato gratin was nice and crisp on the outside and soft on the inside, with just enough cream to add to the flavor without drenching it!
All of it went very well with the wine – I love it when they offer a half-bottle – and it was much better than I expected from the price tag! This was the best meal I had during my time in Portugal and I celebrated it with my first glass of Port (I know, why did it take so long?) to finish. Not only was it a wonderful meal, at a total cost of under $30 for food and copious drink, it was a great deal and I’m grateful to the staff at my hotel for recommending it! If you only have one meal in Faro, make the way out to Santo Antonio, it’s well worth it!