They say that spring is a time of renewal, and no one took that more literally than the good people of Carvoeiro, as up and down the town, established businesses got complete face-lifts and new ones opened their doors. From new supermarkets and shops to totally revamped restaurants, and even a brand new boardwalk that runs along the cliffs near the church, this spring was certainly a time of rejuvenation, adding a muchwelcomed new sheen to the area.

One of the longest-established restaurants in Carvoeiro, O Pátio has seen various changes since it was taken over by restaurateur Jan Zegers more than 30 years ago, but none as dramatic as the make-over it received earlier this year. Unveiled when it reopened in March, the restaurant’s new look saw a departure from its trademark antique look, with its original red tiles and dark wood, and welcomed a fresher, brighter décor. Maintaining the original charm of the 200- year-old building, shades of cream and grey/blue add a lighter elegance to the interior, alongside the brand new floor in slate grey. With extra seating added to what was previously only a service area, the restaurant’s quirkiest features have been maintained but stripped of the Bondex layers so that they shine in all their glory, including the large wooden port wine barrel which serves as a cosy alcove accommodating a table, and the restaurant’s wine cellar, located at the bottom of an ancient well, where the wine is placed in a bucket and pulled up by a traditional rope.

Inspired by his travels, Jan Zegers, who also owns Piu, Martin’s Grill and Jan, all on the square, explains the reasons behind the change: “The restaurant before was too heavy, too dark. Less and less people were coming inside; now it’s more pleasant, more welcoming.”

But the changes don’t stop at the décor; even the menu has had a revamp, with fewer options but which stay true to O Pátio’s commitment to high-quality cuisine, alongside a lunch menu offering lighter meals and a dish of the day.

Another Carvoeiro favourite which this year gained a new, brighter look is Ele & Ela, a cosy bistro-style restaurant on Rua do Barranco (‘out’ road). With a darker décor in its previous life, chef patron Harald Kruizinga has opened up this small eatery by bringing in cream sofas and incorporating blond wood into the interior. Along with the lighter colour scheme, new lighting, tables and chairs give a more spacious feel to the restaurant, with storage areas cleverly concealed by custom- designed wooden units and a large mirror running the length of the restaurant. Changes were also made to the bar and the covered exterior (with the steel bars removed from outside to make it more inviting), but perhaps the biggest transformation was the WC area, which now looks bigger and more stylish. “Even our old regulars are happy,” says Harald. “It’s brighter, fresher, and the sofas allow us to cater for big groups.” Opened in March on Rua do Barranco, Tony’s is one of the latest additions to Carvoeiro’s food scene. The new venture of António Laginha (ex-Galé and Poço Partido restaurant), the snack bar serves hamburgers (100g and 200g), alongside baguettes, jacket potatoes and full English breakfast, alongside a range of other snacks and cakes.

With an emphasis on white with splashes of purple here and there, the bright and airy space was designed by architect Nolasco Raposo based next door, who has created a blend of snack bar and modern diner. Seating around 50 people, it also has a large outdoor terrace and four televisions to show sports throughout the year. Open from 8am to 9pm Sunday to Friday, the eatery will be open every day until 12am during the summer. “We’re also hoping it will bring people down this way and help other businesses around here that are further away from the square,” adds António, who is joined by his wife Ana Paula in the kitchen.

One of the most talked-about metamorphoses, however, is what was formerly the Black Stove on Estrada do Farol. Previously an Irish bar standing in relatively bare surroundings, two entrepreneurs have joined forces to transform the space with a unique concept which they have called The Wolf Bar & Grill. Totally refurbished and with a stunning garden area designed by local landscaping company

Author: Inside Carvoeiro

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