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“Special Experience”
5 of 5 bubbles Review of O Charneco

O Charneco
Ranked #2 of 7 Restaurants in Estombar
Certificate of Excellence
Cuisines: Portuguese
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Local cuisine
Dining options: Cash Only, Reservations, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Waitstaff, Wine and Beer
Description: Pequeno restaurante tradicional, que se dedica á Confeçao e divulgação da comida regional algarvia.
Wicklow, Ireland
Level Contributor
79 reviews
54 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
“Special Experience”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 29, 2014

Just a ten minute drive from Carvoeiro in the old village of Estombar (which is on the railway line). O Charneco is tucked away behind the church, which you can't miss at the top of the village. It is a local bar/eatery without frills but with plenty of character and authentic history around its walls. The local Free Map describes it as an All You Can Eat menu but it's so much more than that. There is no menu, just a very laid back host who will offer you one of their set mains (usually roast chicken, monkfish rice, roast lamb, all delicious) or alternatively a parade of seven courses of whatever Algarvian dishes happen to be going that day, from very small plates to larger mains, all obviously prepared with passion and served with a nervous anticipation as he waits to see how customers will like his fare. He cares so much about food and it shows. Because we were with children who didn't fancy the adventurous option we had the set mains and they were fantastic. This option also included bread, cheese, olives, sardine etc as openers (proper stuff, not like some more touristy places) , along with drinks and a selection of fabulous local desserts and tea/coffee to finish off. As well as having no menu, there was no bill. €50 (fixed price) for 4 people was embarrassingly cheap. You get the feeling that they would give the food away once they thought people were enjoying it. Not everyone's cup of tea, especially fussy eaters or families with small children who might get bored while the grown-ups take their time over the great food. Other reviews will back up the assertion that the food and atmosphere here are out on their own for the locality. If you have time, Estombar's narrow streets are interesting to wander around, and the graveyard (open during the day) across the square from the church is fascinating.

  • Visited June 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank Neil B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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136 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Norwegian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
2,459 reviews
701 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 2,283 helpful votes
“Thumbs-up for a spectacle of food especially the oven baked ham and the lamb fricassee am and the lamb fricassa”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 30, 2014

Always on the prowl for authentic Algarvean cooking led us to this winning establishment.We had heard about this establishment from a fellow hiker met in the Andorran mountains and his description not only whetted our appetites but fortunately made us take notes of its whereabouts.

Its a banquet,that flows without consultation or a reading of a menu. To the adventurous,goes the prize. I had asked with my reservation,a request for Pernil no Forno.... oven baked ham, and lamb fricassee with green beans. Absolute raves,while we mopped up our plates. The nibbles and tit-bits arrived and quickly swamped our senses with delightful essences and flavour-poppin tastes. I loved the small marinated mackeral. Thumbs up.

  • Visited October 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
2 Thank Eli B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Shrewsbury, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
161 reviews
76 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 60 helpful votes
“No menus!!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 20, 2013

What a find this was!!

No menus and the most food I've ever seen.

Sitting in this old school Portuguese restaurant was amazing. You get around 7 courses ranging from Sardines, cheese, meats, monk fish stew and more. The meals just kept coming and the wine just kept on flowing.

Highly recommend

  • Visited September 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
2 Thank smudge198625_
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Level Contributor
46 reviews
24 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
“Amazing authentic food”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 4, 2013

This is quite late writing a review but I just found it here as I had forgotten the name. We went there on our honeymoon as my wife likes finding places "off the beaten path". This was August 2007. I must confess I was quite reluctant especially that we could not find the place and we did it seemed dingy form the outside. The beauty was that they didn't speak a word of English and we were told by a neighbouring table just to sit and enjoy. We received a five course mean , with every course being absolutely tasty and fabulous. I'm so glad I found it again here as I certainly would love to go there again. What was even more amazing is that it only cost less than $50 for the both of us!

  • Visited September 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
1 Thank gizmoguycdn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Topsham, England, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
17 reviews
14 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“O Charneco is simply awesome”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 7, 2013

On the walls of this small, local eating house there are numerous drawings and cartoons of the larger-than-life proprietor. One stands out: the proprietor, fish slung over a shoulder, bottle of wine in hand, plate of food by his ample belly, and the simple and direct caption, "Eat you motherf*****s!" Indeed you will. There is no menu here; what you are experiencing is a succession of small courses - petiscos, the Portuguese equivalent to tapas or raciones - of foods that are completely faithful to Algarve tradition. You will start with perhaps some mountain-cured presunto, some olives and cheese; then some boiled gambas da costa - prawns from the Algarve coast, thinner skinned, sweeter than prawns from elsewhere; a dish of clams steamed in garlic and coentra - coriander; maybe some octopus salad or cavalinhas alinadas, marinaded small mackerel; a more substantial fish arroz, quite soupy, absolutely delicious; and then a meat dish of some sort, slow-braised lamb flavoured with fresh mint, or perhaps a feijoada - bean and pork stew. The plates keep coming and so does the wine, simple, branco or tinto served in carafes, to accompany the simple but faithfully traditional foods. The fact that the meal is so reasonably priced - 25 euros all in, including endless refills of wine, water and coffee - is almost beside the point. This is the sort of authentic, delicious, simple place that we try and seek out whenever we travel. More than just a meal, it is a real experience. Just remember to go when you are really, really hungry.

  • Visited June 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
2 Thank MarcM209
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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