We really like this place. So much so that I was initially undecided as to whether to post this review for fear of it becoming over-run with people, but it would be unfair to keep it to ourselves.
Sabores Da Ria is located on the newly renovated sea-front at Cabanas, and its outside terrace has fantastic views over the Ria Formosa and the beach beyond.
It is an unassuming venue, with plastic chairs and tables, and the sign outside offering, amongst other things, “the best fish and chips in town,” actually put us off giving it a try initially. It was only a recommendation from a local friend who told us that not only was the food very good and inexpensive, the claim about the fish and chips was true as well, we felt compelled to have a go.
First things first: despite the fish and chips (and a few other English influences on the menu,) this is a basic and traditional Portuguese restaurant. Nothing happens fast, and if you are somebody who will huff and puff if you wait too long for your menu, drinks, or bill, you are in the wrong place (and, it could be said, the wrong country!)
Everything is worth the wait. The couvert offerings are home-made, always a good sign in Portugal, and on our visits consisted of some delicious marinated mushrooms, containing enough garlic to scare of the most determined of vampires, and a home-made tuna pate.
We have visited a few times, and had guests with us, so we have between us tried many of the dishes. There certainly seem to be some English influences in the choice of main courses. The fish pie was covered in perfect mashed potato and was labelled as “the best I have eaten,” by my wife who enjoyed the greater variety of fish held within than would typically be found in England, including tender squid.
The fish and chips had to be tried out, and although they were not quite what I would describe as proper “chip-shop” fish and chips, provide us with a perfect substitute in-between visits to the UK – three small fillets of white fish, free of bones, accompanied with tasty home-made tartar sauce and even a dollop of mushy-pea puree.
Worth a special mention is the prawn curry, very rich and creamy with a generous amount of large prawns. Only just past a korma in terms of heat, this is no replacement for a hot madras, but as milder curries go, it outclasses what we have found in the local Indian restaurants for a much lower price.
Finally, the local clams were delicious and properly purged of sand, a detail that seems to get missed in a surprising number of places in the peak of the tourist season, and these are also available as a tapas dish. This suits us just fine as a glass of wine and a few clams is the perfect snack on the way home from the beach.
Wines are from a standard, small Portuguese list, and fairly priced. They had sold out of Monsaraz and Monte Velho on both of our visits but this meant we ended up trying out their own-label house white, which was perfectly pleasant with a dryness that worked well with the rich fish dishes we enjoyed (pictured.)
As you are probably guessing we rather like this place, and it seems strange to us that we found some of the best food and views in Cabanas at the place with the lowest prices. For this reason, please do go and visit, but don’t tell too many people….