Review: Restaurante Valdemar in Silves, Algarve

Chicken? Yes. Piri-Piri sauce? Yes. Chips? Yes. Salad? Yes. Something to drink?

You won’t spend too long browsing the menu at Restaurante Valdemar in Silves. That’s because, essentially, there isn’t one. Someone might be able to dig one up from somewhere out the back for you, but there’s basically an oral menu that consists of five simple questions. There isn’t much need for a menu either — everybody orders the same thing: piri-piri chicken with chips and salad.

And what good piri-piri chicken it is. Some say it’s the best on the Algarve, better even than the churrasqueiras in Guia — the birthplace of piri-piri chicken. Whether that’s true or not is open to debate — and we’re going to be going back and forth between the restaurants in Guia and Valedmar’s to do extensive research — but regardless: Restaurante Valdemar does excellent piri-piri chicken. It’s juicy and flavoursome, the result of the chicken being continually dipped in the restaurant’s special piri-piri marinade. If it’s not the best, it’s definitely one of the best.

The menu isn’t the only thing that’s absent here: there’s also a lack of walls and a kitchen. Tucked into the side of the market wall, and with all of the food cooked on a grill in the nearby car park, Restaurante Valdemar is definitely what you’d call a hole in the wall restaurant. The atmosphere is vibrant and friendly, a mixture of local chicken aficionados and visiting tourists, all enjoying cooking at its most basic but also its best. Who needs walls, anyway?

Almost as good as the chicken is the price, which isn’t likely to blow anybody’s budget. For couvert (bread, Algarve carrots, olives, sardine paste etc.), chicken, salad, and chips, desert (oranges with dried figs), wine, and coffee expect to pay around €9 per person.

Useful Info: Restaurante Valdemar isn’t the only restaurant in Silves serving frango assado. Most restaurants in Silves serve it and several others specialise it, including U Munchequeiro next door and Restaurante A Ladeira across the old Roman bridge. Restaurante Valdemar is definitely one of the more popular choices, however (see Restaurante Valdemar on TripAdvisor).

Silves is a popular location for day trips, particularly to visit the old Moorish castle and Silves Cathedral. Many people also stay here for the duration of their trip, and there are plenty of great B&Bs and Airbnbs offering accommodation in the area.

  • Address: Churrasqueira Valdemar, Mercado Municipal, 11, 8300 Silves (map)
  • Phone: +351-282 443 138
  • Closed: Sunday
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James has spent time living in Lisbon, the Algarve, and in the north of Portugal. He set up Portugalist to share his knowledge about Portugal, a country that has surprisingly little written about it.

1 COMMENT

  1. In my opinion, dear readers, it is THE best piri piri chicken in the Algarve! I think James is hedging his bets a bit here but I certainly haven’t tasted better (and I eat a lot of chicken!). 😉

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