Maria do Mar
Maria do Mar
Bearing in mind that canned fish are among Portugal’s finest products and are traditional in Portimão, Ana and Pedro Costa Franco thought that it would make perfect sense to use this tradition as the basis for Maria do Mar.
If you are wondering where to eat in Portimão and want to try something exclusive and original, you will find a world of flavours from the sea here, each in its own can: spicy chilli sardines, tuna with aromatic herbs, mackerel fillets, baby sardines and Atlantic pomfret, a very tasty fish with white flesh.
Altogether there are over 300 varieties, including – of course – tuna muxama, a canned fish product that has been made on the Algarve coast for around 2,000 years and which we inherited from the Phoenicians.
The vast majority of the canned fish products on sale at Maria do Mar cannot be bought at hypermarkets or on the mass market. They are very high quality, mostly conserved in olive oil and made using the same traditional methods from yesteryear. Many are also still wrapped in paper, as they used to be in the past.
You absolutely have to try the nibbles that are made using the canned products on offer. At Maria do Mar, the concept is simple: just add €2.50 to the cost of each can. This includes serving the contents of the can along with rustic bread aromatised with garlic and olive oil, tomato, basil, balsamic vinegar and sprigs of fresh coriander or parsley.
You will be surprised at how these tasty ingredients further enhance the flavour of the canned fish.
The décor at Maria do Mar features lots of antiques, old black-and-white photos, and original cans that are veritable relics of an industry that was hugely important in the history of the Algarve and the Portuguese coast. Maria do Mar is much more than a grocery selling canned fish. It is a showcase for Portugal’s former canning industry and it gives you the opportunity to look back on those times in simple and charming fashion – remembering the past while sampling new flavours.
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