More than just a restaurant, Casa do Prego has a story to tell

With no shortage of reasons to visit, we explore Casa do Prego’s most delicious combinations of Mediterranean flavours prepared with a contemporary twist

– June 12, 2024 | Text Beatriz Maio

Casa do Prego, Lagos, Algarve

It is impossible to look from the outside and imagine everything that goes on in this restaurant, which opened exactly eight years ago and has enjoyed enviable success ever since.

There is no shortage of reasons to visit this place, whether for lunch, a snack, a drink, or dinner. From the relaxed and family atmosphere to the live music, there are many reasons why it is difficult to get a table without a reservation.

Casa do Prego, Lagos, Algarve

However, the greatest of all is the delicious combination of Mediterranean flavours prepared with a contemporary twist.

The name of the restaurant refers to their specialty, the typical Portuguese prego (“nail” in a literal translation, supposedly named after its creator Manuel Dias Prego), which consists of thinly sliced beef marinated with garlic, onions and wine, and quickly seared, to be enjoyed on a soft roll or on the plate.

Casa do Prego, Lagos, Algarve

But it doesn’t stop here; it is also the diversity of options on the menu that gives this place a unique flair.

Aside from their pregos, you can enjoy dishes that are not usually seen, like a succulent braised tuna steak. The unique blend of flavours and the way the dishes are prepared is fascinating and mouth-watering.

Casa do Prego, Lagos, Algarve

If you prefer something lighter and to share, you can choose from more than 10 tapas, including the undeniable pica pau (small, seared beef chunks usually topped with olives and pickled vegetables), fried prawns, and beetroot hummus.

Casa do Prego, Lagos, Algarve

But since the beginning, the concept has remained the same: to give customers a taste of the “very typical prego with a special touch”, which has evolved from just one to more than five varieties now available on the menu, as well as five main dishes.

Our prego is such a flexible and versatile piece, it’s a kind of easygoing form, easy to digest. Then we have our signature dishes, from steak to tuna,” team leader Boris Kondratiev underlined, explaining that the menu, made with local ingredients and featuring vegan options, changes twice a year after an assessment of what is profitable, what can add more value to the customer experience and if it’s possible to bring down the prices.

Casa do Prego, Lagos, Algarve

Casa do Prego is open every day from 1pm to 10pm and has a young and dynamic team, in the kitchen and front house, led by owner Boris, with the help of his wife, Monika.

The two already had experience in hospitality from their time in London, where they met. Boris, who was born in Russia, moved to the English capital at the age of 16 and, at 19, had his first job as a cook in one of the UK’s best-known Asian restaurant chains, Wagamama. He went from working in the kitchen to the front of house and from there to management, being responsible for restaurants in several parts of the city.

Casa do Prego, Lagos, Algarve

Along his path, he met Ricardo Gosling, from the Portuguese island of São Miguel, Azores, who also had experience in catering and management acquired over a decade of work. Living in London with the dream of returning to Portugal, he projected his ideas into what has become a “must-visitspot in Lagos and convinced Boris to move here and join the business.

Casa do Prego, Lagos, Algarve

With his wife and daughters, Boris took the risk and never looked back. “We’re quite adventurous as a family,” he revealed, stressing that it was the safety, good weather, and proximity to the sea that led them to make the decision without any doubts.

Casa do Prego, Lagos, Algarve

Ricardo’s natural talent for making everything happen easily and efficiently together with his love for work motivates all employees. “I love giving. I love providing not just for the customer, but to the team,” he reflected, explaining that there is a very delicate line between happiness, satisfaction, and growth.

“Prego is not just a beautiful local food place; it sets itself apart essentially for the quality service,” Boris stated, adding that now he has a multinational and bilingual team of 16, but at the peak of the trade there were 37 people.

Casa do Prego, Lagos, Algarve

At Casa do Prego “magic happens” from the moment you enter, both because of the warm welcome from the staff and the unique decoration, as well as the familiar and relaxed concept. Values such as respect, hard work, and punctuality are the cornerstones of this place that stands out for its atmosphere.

Casa do Prego, Lagos, Algarve

Although it is a very busy restaurant, you won’t have to wait in line outside for a table. There is a terrace with a bar and music where customers can socialise and have a drink and some appetisers or play card games while waiting for their table. Once seated, it is also possible to enjoy a lively and pleasant environment that is sometimes complemented by DJ sessions.

“For us, it’s not just a meal, it’s more of a journey,” commented Boris. This is exactly the feeling you get from various decorative elements such as his old Vespa, which is on display on the wall and carries the story of a near fatal accident in London, paintings that he bought at different times in his life, and graffiti on the outside that calls back to Lisbon’s typical trams. “Every piece, every corner has stories,” he concluded, appreciating all the people he met along his way.

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Author: Inside Magazines

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