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Anantara Brunch – Seafood and Champagne Extravaganza

Today, I’m talking about my latest discovery, the brunch at the luxurious Anantara Vilamoura hotel. Yes, there are fresh local seafood and bubbling champagne served at the edge of a paradisiacal pool, but this brunch includes a whole gastronomic journey through Algarve flavours…


Tropical pool at the Anantara Vilamoura – Algarve



Signature brunch at the RIA restaurant



This American ritual of brunch, a hybrid meal between breakfast, lunch and almost until snack time, is the perfect dining experience to enjoy on a Sunday with the family. In Lisbon and Porto there are plenty of places that celebrate brunches of various themes, qualities and prices… there are historic cafés, hipster pastry shops, cool restaurants and luxury hotels. However, here in the Algarve, even in the high season, our options for a good brunch are counted on the fingers of our hands. I’ve already mentioned my admiration for the brunches at Bovino restaurant, or the hotels Conrad Algarve and Hotel Faro. And today I come to talk about my most recent discovery, the brunch at the Anantara Vilamoura resort. If you like seafood and champagne served by a paradisiacal pool, then this post is for you…







We were welcomed by Rui Carlos, chef of the RIA restaurant, who escorted us to our table. We wanted to stay by the pool, to fully enjoy the sweet September summer. The Anantara Brunch, following the motto of the RIA restaurant, is a tribute to Ria Formosa. It is full of local ingredients and moments that celebrate our Portugal.



This brunch follows a principle of sobriety and elegance. It is served at the table following a fixed tasting menu, where the client can choose the egg speciality and the main course. As all the dishes and drinks are served at the table, it avoids the diner getting up, interrupting the conversation or those awkward queues forming in front of the egg station. In other words, this formula is much more comfortable, allowing you to enjoy the meal in all its splendour, but with minimum effort and without unnecessary waiting.

Seven moments of pleasure at the table

The RIA Brunch tasting menu consists of seven moments. First, a welcome cocktail with Veuve Cliquot signature; an Amuse-bouche of Croissant Butler; a Gazpacho; then a Seafood Dish from Ria Formosa; then the Egg Speciality; then the Main Dish of your choice and finally, the Desserts. If you think that a buffet brunch is much more abundant, you’d be wrong, the quantity and diversity of food on this menu is capable of satisfying the appetite of the biggest glutton.



If you’ve never been, let me guide you through these seven moments of indulgence. For the welcome cocktail, served from the Veuve Cliquot bar, we could choose between a glass of Champagne Brut, a Mimosa (champagne with orange juice), a Belinni (champagne with peach puree) or a Bloody Mary with Oysters from the Ria. We enjoyed this pampering without guilt, after all it is Sunday and at some point you have to put your problems aside and enjoy the good moments in life. And if there was already a tropical feel to the pool’s architecture, this was accentuated by the bossa-nova rhythm of the jazz duet that enlivened the afternoon.

Croissant Butler’s Amuse Bouche

They now bring us Croissant Butler’s Amuse Bouche. This consists of a basket of assorted bread, Monterosa olive oil produced in Moncarapacho in the Eastern Algarve (you can read my visit to this unique place here), goat’s cheese mousse sprinkled with bee pollen, olives, fleur de sel from Tavira and Algarve carrots marinated in olive oil, garlic and coriander. The wooden table with turquoise centrepieces is set with hand-painted earthenware from Porches, Lagoa, in the Barlovento Algarve. Everything was delicious, especially the ball type bread and the local olives, which are my perdition.


Cocktail de boas-vindas e Amuse Bouche do Croissant Butler


Gazpacho, freshness from southern Iberia

Although gazpacho is associated with Andalusian gastronomy, it is also a dish from the Algarve and Alentejo. In this case, Chef David Luísa serves a very fresh recipe where the garlic appears only as a vague reminder, based on the freshness of the tomato, cucumber, onion and peppers and thickened with olive oil and a little bread. This cold soup is a sure bet, especially on hot days to refresh body and spirit. Chef Luísa’s gazpacho comes served in a clay and cork pot, with olive oil croutons, thyme and vegetable crudités.


David Luísa’s Gazpacho


And the seafood washed up…

The RIA’s seafood dish is a hedonistic exaggeration. Chef Luísa brought us a plate at two times overflowing with marine goodness… it was the meaty Ria Oysters au naturel, stuffed crabs, prawns, king crabs… a seafood extravaganza that fills the eye and makes the soul salivate.


To accompany this Algarvian seafood, Rui Carlos, the restaurant chef, recommended that we try Quinta de Santiago, a white Alvarinho wine from the Monção and Melgaço region. In the mouth, Quinta de Santiago presents notes of exotic fruits and a touch of vanilla refined after six months in French oak wood. This was the perfect union between the Algarvian seafood and the fruits of the Minho land. Portugal from North to South, from plate to glass.


Seafood extravaganza at Anantara Vilamoura Brunch


I confess that at this point, we had only just started to taste the first dishes of the brunch, and my stomach was already satisfied. I continued eating out of sheer gluttony? and just as well, because what came next was worth it: the egg dish. The diner can choose between a Carabineer Omelette or a Lobster Egg Benedict. We tried both dishes, but I think my Omelette won the challenge.



As I tasted my omelette with delight, I remembered that in the film The Hundred-Foot Journey it is said that a chef’s true talent lies in the preparation of the most mundane dishes. Chef David Luisa could have been a worthy character in that narrative, because he delivered an omelette that exacerbated all the senses. The fluffy omelette, almost soufflé-like in texture, came caramelised on the outside and moist in the centre. The flavours of the egg came enriched with herbs, carabiner crumb and a bit of coral from the seafood. Pure poetry.


Chef David Luísa, from Alentejo, after training at the Odemira Professional School, has been developing his professional career in the Algarve, in various renowned hotels. He worked at Vila Vita Parc Resort, Hotel Grande Real Santa Eulália and CS Hotels & Resorts Algarve, before joining, as executive chef at Hotel Tivoli Victória, now Anantara Vilamoura. I had already tasted his expertise at the EMO Gourmet restaurant – at a higher gastronomic level – but I was pleased to find him back at this informal restaurant, adding his personality to even the simplest dishes.

Carabiner Omelette and Lobster Egg Benedict



This gastronomic journey now reaches the main course. The palate can be tempted by a classic Roast Beef with organic thyme sauce, Lamb chops with mint sauce or Fish fillets from the catch of the day. We tried the tender roast beef and the fish variation with turbot, bream and sea bass from the Algarve coast, both served with roast potatoes and “montanheira” salad (an Algarvean speciality with tomato, onion, peppers, cucumber and oregano chopped into small pieces).

Roast Beef with Organic Thyme and Coastal Fish Variation




The last stop for the senses is the sweet land of desserts. We tasted a mixture of Algarve specialities signed by the Pastry Chef João Silva. The composition included a Creme Brullé with Rosemary, Arroz Doce à moda da Avó, Almond tart, Don Rodrigo and Orange and Carob Roll. These morsels of sin tempted us to the last spoonful, but I must say that the almond tart and the crème brullé, were my favourites.


After all this, between dish and dish, conversation after conversation, the clock was already striking four in the afternoon. We put an end to this extravagance with some Delta espresso served with fennel biscuits.


Cakes from the pastry chef João Silva




Chef David Luísa – Anantara Vilamoura





I was surprised by the quantity and quality of the gastronomic offer and the five star service. I highly recommend the Anantara Vilamoura Sunday Brunch experience as one of the best brunches in the region. You just have to hurry, because the last brunch is on Sunday 24th September.


The brunch is available for 65 euros per person and includes the 7 moments described in this post. Coffees, teas from TWG – Finest Teas of The World, waters and the welcome cocktail are also included in the price. If your appetite is very demanding, you can also order as an additional supplement, Grilled Tiger Prawns, Grilled Lobster or Fried Carabineros with garlic and bay leaves. Wines are ordered a la carte and paid separately. If you are taking the whole family, children between 5 and 12 pay 50% of the price.



If you’re not staying at the hotel, take the opportunity to bring your swimsuit. As a courtesy of Anantara, you can enjoy the rest of the day by the pool and, who knows, take a nap after such a sumptuous Sunday brunch… yes, because we have to fill our lives with good memories and if they take place in a setting like this, even better…

For more information and reservations, please see:

Anantara Vilamoura Algarve

Avenida dos Descobrimentos nº 0

8125-309 Vilamoura, Portugal





Veuve Cliquot gives me for these things…(forgive me)


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