There’s not much for us in Albufeira with its hordes of British package tour zombies and strips of loud jam-packed bars and restaurants offering Sunday roasts, British breakfasts and all the trappings of the world you thought you’d left at home. However, we find ourselves making the two hour round trip to these parts at least twice during our stay in Portugal. Yes, there are a few quiet, pretty parts to the coast here but the main reason is Eurasia, a predominantly vegetarian restaurant tucked away from ’The Strip’ down a quiet one way street.
The restaurant is in an enchanting pagoda style room housing 15 or so tables with a central table heaving with a colourful array of food. Eurasia offers quality home cooked food with a Portuguese/Asian crossover and the best part is it is served up in an ‘all you can eat’ buffet style for just €6.50 per person.
Eurasia does admit to ‘a daily surprise of meat and fish dishes’ but these are limited to two and thankfully these are not a surprise in that they are clearly marked in Portuguese. Vegans need to show some caution as about a third of the dishes contain cheese or egg. Most of these are obvious but some are not and one of the ladies seems to not totally understand our request which has led to a couple of small mistakes in the past (obvious after one mouthful). She also tends to point out the obvious dishes and say ‘these just cheese on top’. If in doubt it is best to ask the female asian owner who has a better understanding of vegan and has actually said we should ask her in future instead.
The choices for vegans is plentiful and will have you going back for more with a hint of guilt at the quantity and quality on offer for such great value. The soup is a good place to start and has been different on our various visits. This time a tasty potato and greens soup was on offer. Then it is on to the first of a few platefuls resisting the temptation to pile it high and miss out on the separate and varied flavours. I’m a huge fan of the salads; simple but effective combinations which today included cucumber and dill, a cabbage, carrot, apple and flat leaf parsley salad, a lettuce, onion and peaches combo, a red cabbage and caramelised onion chutney and marinated red pepper salad; each delicately combined with a suitable dressing. Phil has a particular preference for the hot dishes. On offer today were thick strips of subtle curry flavoured tofu with courgette, onion and thinly sliced orange peppers, a lovely baked squash, potato and red pepper dish and brown rice and carrots . In addition large servings of tempura (this time of onion and peppers) sat atop the buffet alongside a simple bean stew and lovely oregano flavoured pasta.
If you were only allowed one plate you would be hard pressed to know what to have or fit on it. Luckily you don’t have to. Eurasia has all the bases covered with a wide range of raw, baked, boiled and fried foods, inclusive of all the major food groups necessary for complete vegan nutrition.
Eurasia offers a wide selection of juices, teas and coffee to accompany your meal (at an additional cost) but at under €16 for both of us to have a large good quality ‘as much as you can eat’ meal (and with Phil that is quite a lot), it is easy to see why Eurasia lures us back again and again.
Out of season Eurasia is only open for lunch Monday-Saturday from 12-3pm. In the main season (May onwards) they open in the evenings depending on custom but it is always best to ring first to check. They will also open to cater for groups of 15 or more.
Rua Almeida Garrett
Telephone – 967 238 055