Al Quimia | Albufeira (PT)

“Theatrical and culinary delight”.
This restaurant has mastered both exquisitely refined dishes along with perfectly executed presentation. A hidden gem in the Algarve (Portugal).

We spent our summer holiday in the Algarve in Portugal this year. While searching for a nice restaurant in the area, Al Quimia stood out by the number of great reviews.

Al Quimia is one of the restaurants of the 5-star Epic Sana hotel in Albufeira. Chef Luís Mourão wants to deliver tradition and national products reinvented in a creative gastronomic experience.

As it was a beautiful summer evening, we sat outside overlooking the hotel garden.

Al Quimia – exterior

No à la carte, just two different menus to choose from: “The Origin” (6-courses at € 75) or “The Tribute” (8-courses at € 110). We went for “The Tribute” (of course…) and were not disappointed.
We added the wine pairing (€ 43) of only Portuguese wines.

To start we got a nice box with bread and a number of amuse bouches.

Amuse bouches

Olives that burst in your mouth with an intense olive taste. Clams in green. Sweet potatoes chips with roe and sardine oil. Bread with salty and paté butter.
What a great start! The olives are incredible and set the expectations for what is to come.

Mussel – Halophytic plants, Borage

The mussel shells made of pasta and squid ink are a nice touch and the taste goes really well with the mussel inside. Halophytic plant fritters add to the overall flavour. A simple dish that works.

Lime pie Prawns with Cherry Gazpacho

Next we got an extra dish from the chef which was not on the menu. A try-out of a new dish. Of course we were happy to test it. Lime pie flavours with perfectly cooked prawns were amazing.. Cherry Gazpacho in little tubes was just fun to eat and makes you smile. Tasted great also. The gazpacho and the prawns don’t go together, so it’s actually two dishes on one plate, but we don’t mind!

Oyster – Taragon and rice Polenta

Simple combination, but nice flavours. Presentation doesn’t really work with this one as the oysters are a bit lost between all the leaves and beans which you can’t eat.

Octopus – Glazed beans and Chorizo

Perfectly cooked octopus, silky avocado mousse, glazed beans and crispy chorizo chips. Seasoning of the octopus was a bit under, but the chorizo made up for that. Honest flavours and clean presentation.


And yet another extra dish from the chef! Poached oyster this time with oyster foam and caviar. Yet again a simple combination, but when the flavours are there, that’s just what you want. Caviar didn’t really add to the dish and were more there for the presentation I guess.

Asparagus – Egg and mustard

Classic combination of asparagus and egg works of course. Egg yoke was poached and mustard powder made it like a deconstructed mayonnaise. Seasoning spot on.

Baila – Salsify and water lily

Cuisson of the Baila is perfect. You taste the freshness of the fish. Pure flavours not to disturb. Well balanced dish.

Smoked Suckling Pig with Crackpong

Succulent pork with crackpong, which was basically crackling popcorn. But of theatre again with the glass box filled with smoke.

Dry Aged Beef – Celery and apple

Beef nicely medium rare. Flavours are there again. Nice deep flavoured sauce. But compared to the other dishes, this almost seems to standard. We just got used to the theatre I guess.


Lime sorbet on honeycomb crumble. Delicious. A bit heavy as a pre-dessert maybe, but the sorbet was really refreshing.


Almond parfait with honey and little violet flavoured meringues. A nice ending to an almost perfect menu.


The staff were incredibly attentive and welcoming. The refreshing towel with jasmine scent on arrival was a nice touch. Dishes were well described and served.
Hugo the sommelier understands his business. Well chosen Portuguese wines, presented and described with great knowledge of the wines as well as how the wines accompanied the dishes.

Chef Luís Mourão appears to be a great talent. The dishes were rich and delicious, with a fantastic range of unusual flavours, each telling the story of the Algarve. A theatrical and culinary delight.
This restaurant clearly deserves (at least) a star. A truly epic experience.