We have just come back from a wonderful week away with the whole family (my parents, husband, sister and brother-in-law, and their 2 children) to the Algarve area of Portugal, from 4-11 May 2012. We were staying in a privately owned villa in the village of Carvoeiro, near the Milho Vale golf course. During our visit, we ate at the Rocha Mar restaurant twice.
I just wanted to leave a positive review of this restaurant, because both times we had a really good experience.
We came with a group of 8, of which 2 young children aged 2 and 4, and hadn't booked. The owner was really friendly and immediately made a table available for us. He recommended sitting inside because, although it was fine weather at the time, it would get colder and windy later (and he was right because everyone else came in not too long after!). All the staff was friendly and helpful and they were great with the kids. There is a ramp up to the restaurant (as it's on a hill) which is handy for pushchairs. They also had high chairs and a kids' menu. We asked for a soup for one of the children which is a starter but it came with the bread we were having so that my niece wouldn't get grumpy... ;-)
The kids' menu had burger or nuggets, both with chips (fries). There could have been more, I suppose, and they could not do a kids' size pizza, which was a shame, as an adult one was way too big. For the adults there was plenty of choice on the menu, plus a few 'specials'. On the first day it was a dish with clams and pork from a nearby region, which my husband tried and liked. Another had 'black pork' from the menu; don't worry, it is not black meat but free range pork from a local farmer/butcher that you cook yourself on a hot stone, which comes to your table sizzling away and that dish included 2 sides (fries, veg) and 3 dips/sauces. The meat was very tender and a good price, only EUR11 I think. In fact we were all so impressed by the quality of that meat that 5 of us had either the pork, or fillet steak (about EUR13), on a stone, the next time (I'm surprised they even have that many stones!). The only slight negative is that my stone cooled off too quickly for me to fry my meat, but that was rectified straight away with - yet - another hot stone. There were some frozen desserts on the menu which were nice, so I'm told, but the highlight for me was the home-made tiramisu, of which I got a more than generous portion (a meal in itself) and which was absolutely gorgeous. There was also home-made chocolate mousse, a kind of flan, and cheesecake with fresh berries. The second time they had an orange cheesecake.I had the tiramisu again the next time. The second time we did sit outside, because the weather was nicer, and we sat out of the wind. Although they were busier, with a big group of 22 ladies inside to cater for, they were just as friendly and efficient as before. We felt we were leaving old friends by the end of it.
I hope others will read this review and give this place a chance. I am glad I didn't see the negative reviews of this place before we went, or we might not have gone. I hope the experience others have had were few and far between, or maybe the restaurant has changed hands since. If you have any questions about this place or the area, let me know.
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