Cafe Alentejo: Spotlight on the Best Authentic Evora Restaurant

The Alentejo region that covers about 30% of Portugal, is one of the most fascinating areas of the country. It is considered ‘the breadbasket of Portugal’ with rustic flavors including simple gastronomic products like olive oil, cheese, bread, Alentejo black pig, wines and more.

Evora, the capital, is the gastronomic heartland of the Alentejo region. To taste the authentic flavors of the Alentejo, don’t look further than Cafe Alentejo, one of the best restaurant in Evora.

In this article, we take a gastronomic tour of the Alentejo region at Cafe Alentejo. From black pork to Alentejo wines discover the unique and traditional Alentejo cuisine.

As they say at Cafe Alentejo Evora:

             “Whoever sits at our table finds the generosity of the Alentejo land”

Article last updated – May 8th, 2019 with additional resources on where to eat and stay in Evora
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About Cafe Alentejo In Evora

Located a few steps away from the main plaza in Evora, Cafe Alentejo is an old tavern or taberna from the 16th century. This historical site housed the royal entourage that accompanied the royal family on their visits to the region.

Today, this unique Evora restaurant has preserved the exceptional ancient architecture. As you walk in, you can’t help but admire the striking arches and vaulted ceilings, in the elegant and modern setting.

Inside Cafe Alentejo Authentic Food Quest for Cafe Alentejo EvoraStriking interior at at Cafe Alentejo in Evora

Since 1999, Cafe Alentejo Evora has been led by the friendly and passionate Rita Simão. A native of Évora, Rita was the “cook at the parties” while in business management school.

Her passion for the local gastronomy led her to throw herself into opening Cafe Alentejo despite not having any formal culinary training.

She made it her goal to provide “homemade” traditional and authentic food using the region’s products. From the cheese, desserts and the black pork flavored with unique herbs and spices, Rita only uses local and seasonal products.

Nowadays, Cafe Alentejo is one of the best restaurants in Evora, Portugal.

With Rita Cafe Alentejo Evora Authentic Food QuestA fantastic and delicious time with Rita, owner of Cafe Alentejo Evora

Warm Welcome at Cafe Alentejo with a Royal “Couvert”

As soon as we sat at our table, we were greeted by the waiter with a beautiful assortment of cheeses, green olives, and a plate of local charcuterie.

Typically, Portuguese restaurants serve olives, cheeses, and bread on the table as part of the couvert. At Cafe Alentejo, it was a royal starter of the day.

Cheese Plate Cafe Alentejo Evora Authentic Food QuestA "Royal Couvert" at Cafe Alentejo

Our favorite among the selection of charcuterie was the presunto or ham made from the local black pork. The cheeses, ranging from fresh to aged all had unique character and appeal.

The waiter also presented three different local Portuguese olive oils for tasting, from extra-virgin to premium oils. Olive oil is omnipresent in Portuguese cuisine and was used generously in the meals from appetizers to desserts.

One interesting starter was fava beans made with local chorizo sausage. The beans were quite tasty, though salty. We learned that fava beans are a popular snack at bars and cafes and the natural saltiness of the beans keeps customers thirsty, and likely to order more beers.

They are also a cheap source of protein and commonly used in rural areas.

To complete the starters, were typical Portuguese chicken empanadas. These empanadas were quite different from the empanadas we discovered in Argentina. These are thick and doughy and less meaty than their South American counterparts.

Fava Beans Cafe Alentejo Authentic Food QuestDelicious and surprising fava beans

Seasonal and Local Evora Dishes

Following the hearty starters where we tried not to eat too much, we moved to the main dishes which represent the local gastronomy. 

Small plates flowed steadily from the kitchen, accompanied by bold Alentejo wines.

Scrambled Eggs with Farinheira Sausage

This very typical Portuguese starter is not only delicious but a Portuguese dish that comes with a somber history.

The scrambled eggs are cooked with a unique traditional Portuguese sausage called farinheira or smoked flour sausage.

This sausage was invented by Portuguese Jews in the 1500s as a way of protecting themselves during the Inquisition.

The Portuguese Jews faked eating pork with these sausages that mimic pork and are made instead with flour, paprika, and other ingredients.

Today, farinheira sausages are appreciated throughout the country. With scrambled eggs, they make for a delightful starter.

Farinheira Saussage Cafe Alentejo the best restaurant Evora by Authentic Food QuestDelightful scrambled eggs with traditional farinheira sausages

Wild Asparagus Grown Locally in Evora

Served alongside the eggs and sausage was a plate of fresh and bright green locally grown asparagus. The asparagus, cooked in Alentejo olive oil and sprinkled with local herbs were outstanding.

A seasonal specialty at Cafe Alentejo, there is nothing like the delicious flavors of fresh vegetables.

Asparagus Alentejo Food at Cafe Alentejo in Evora Authentic Food QuestWild asparagus cooked with coriander and doused in Alentejo olive oil

Traditional Dog Fish Soup – A Cafe Alentejo Evora Signature Dish

Dogfish, a relative to the shark, is a popular fish found in many Evora restaurants.

At Cafe Alentejo, it is one of their signature recipes and goes by the Portuguese name Sopa de cação.

This creamy soup with the mild flaky white fish was delectable. The combination of flavors from the garlic, coriander, olive oil, and additional herbs and spices was a delightful regional treat.

As is typical in traditional Evora restaurants, the dogfish soup was served with local Alentejo bread.

Fish Soup Alentejo Food at Cafe Alentejo in Evora Authentic Food QuestSignature Dogfish soup at Cafe Alentejo in Evora

The Meat Delicacies at Café Alentejo 

Oxtail Stewed in Alentejo Wine 

As the meal progressed, Rita introduced two regional meat dishes that best exemplify the local cuisine.

The first was oxtail stewed in red wine. This dish is made using a recipe that has been passed down through her family. It is also a meal that takes five hours to prepare.

The oxtail was fall off the bone tender, and perfectly seasoned. Served with mashed potatoes, this made for an excellent dish.

Oxtail at Cafe Alentejo Authentic Food QuestIncredibly tender and delicious oxtail with locally grown potatoes

Portuguese Black Pork with Traditional Migas 

The black pork was one of the dishes we were most excited to try. The region’s black pork from Iberian pigs fed by foraging for acorns is some of the best in the world.

At Café Alentejo, the black pork cheeks were served with a migas, a traditional bread dish from the region. The black pork cheeks were succulent. Meaty, with a surprisingly lean taste.

Migas are made with hardened Alentejo wheat bread mixed with garlic and olive oil and fried. They often accompany Portuguese pork dishes.

The unusual textures of the lightly crispy migas were outstanding. The combination of the pork and migas was a heavenly match.

To accompany these delicacies, we enjoyed red wine from the Alentejo region, which was smooth and balanced with a hint of spice.

Black Pork and Migas at Cafe Alentejo the best restaurant Evora by Authentic Food QuestSucculent Portuguese black pork and delightful migas

Trio of Traditional PortugueseDesserts

Any Portuguese meal wouldn’t be complete without desserts. The Portuguese are known to have a sweet tooth and they cherish their desserts.

Portuguese desserts are traditionally made with a large number of egg yolks and sugar and often referred to as Conventual desserts. In fact, one of the desserts we had was made primarily of egg yolks and almonds. It was quite slurpy and very sweet.

The pudim de aceite or olive pudding was the most surprising of the three. With its slight dark green color, it had a slightly bitter and fruity flavor from the olives.

Our favorite was the Portuguese cheesecake. Melting in the mouth, it had a nice balance between eggs and sugar.

Conventual Desserts at Cafe Alentejo by Authentic Food QuestRegional treats with the unusual pudim de aceite in the middle

A Cellar Full of Alentejo Wine at Cafe Alentejo in Evora

Alentejo wines are an integral part of the Cafe Alentejo experience. These wines are carefully sourced from local producers and they add the necessary texture to the regional Evora food.

For our meal, we had the opportunity to taste three different wines from the Alentejo region. The Solar dos Lobos wines, from a traditional Alentejo family, perfectly complemented the dishes.

This light white wine paired perfectly with the cheese and soup. We found the red wine almost too light for the rich flavors of the delicious black pork.

Solar lobos White at Cafe Alentejo by Authentic Food QuestLight and fruity Solar Lobos white wine

Although we typically prefer red wines, our favorite was a surprising white wine from Ervideira, a local family owned winery. Served with the desserts, this Late Harvest Wine was the perfect combination to round up our meal.

Inside the restaurant is a huge cellar that still maintains part of the original architecture. Opened in 2013, the wine cellar is the perfect place to sip the regional wines while admiring the architecture.

With more than 3,000 different types of bottles, Rita knows how to please any wine lover. In the cool cellar, which is ideal to escape the scorching hot Evora summers, Cafe Alentejo can host private dinners for up to ten people.

If you can, don’t miss the opportunity to eat in the Royal Cellar. This is one of the best-hidden secrets of Evora.

Cellar at Cafe Alentejo Evora by Authentic Food QuestAdmiring the local Alentejo wines in the ancient cellars
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In Summary

Eating at Cafe Alentejo in Evora is unspeakably memorable. The quality, the authenticity and the diversity of regional dishes along with the wines is unmatched.

You’ll taste the simple and hearty Alentejo fare, using only the freshest ingredients that result in mouth-watering dishes

The friendly and accessible staff will make you feel at home within this historic restaurant. Cafe Alentejo Evora offers you the perfect door to experience Alentejo cuisine.

Cafe Alentejo

Address: R. do Raimundo 5, Évora

Hours: Open everyday, Lunch; 12:30 pm – 3:00 pm and Dinner; 7:30 pm – 10:45 pm

Pro Tip: Advanced reservations recommended. Click here to see reviews and book your table

Evora Hotel – Vitoria Stone The Best Hotel in Evora

We stayed at the Vitoria Stone Hotel, an amazing Evora hotel rooted in the traditions of Alentejo with a sophisticated side.

The hotel is centrally located and only 200 meters from the outer walls of Evora. From Vitoria Stone Hotel it is easy to get to Cafe Alentejo, which is just 10-minutes away on foot.

Read our full review of Vitoria Stone Hotel – the Best Evora Hotel To Immerse Yourself in Alentejo Cuisine

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Disclosure: Our visit to Evora was supported by the Visit Alentejo Tourism Board. Opinions expressed in this article are always our own.

36 thoughts on “Cafe Alentejo: Spotlight on the Best Authentic Evora Restaurant”

  1. I think it’s so interesting how empanadas can be so different, depending on what country you’re in. All of the food looked so great though. I think the pork and the desserts would be my favorite! That cheesecake sounded amazing!

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  2. I just came from Portugal and I’m sad now that I didn’t visit Evora. In fact, I’ve never heard of it. It definitely sounds like their restaurant gave you the royal food treatment! I loved Portuguese foods and was surprised at how much I enjoyed their yolky desserts.

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    • Bummer, you missed Evora, Paige. But that’s okay. Another reason to go back:) Yes, the food is delightful in Portugal, but I have to admit, I never quite liked the eggy desserts 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!

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  3. I like to punish myself by reading your blog when I am STARVING! lol I have been wanting to get to Portugal myself as I have heard before the foodie situation is just divine! I had never heard about Evora before but now it is on my list!

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  4. Yum, this all looks good! I haven’t been to Evora, but nothing beats fresh and local cuisine. I love that the royal entourage used to stay here back in the day.

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    • Awesome and glad you enjoyed the article. There is nothing like eating amazing food in a former royal inn. For your next trip to Portugal, Evora and Cafe Alentejo are must visit sites! Thanks for stopping by Marissa.

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  5. I traveled around the north of Portugal and was mostly unimpressed with the food. But I’d eat everything here, with maybe the exception of the dogfish. I’m super picky about fish, but it looks like a meaty one that I might like. Drooling over that oxtail stew!

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    • It’s true that the food can be hit or miss in the north of Portugal. Lot’s of fried foods. In the Alentejo region, the food is quite varied and a delicious experience. If you find yourself in Evora, highly recommend Cafe Alentejo. That oxtail soup is incredible!!

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  6. I was there in Evora for a day, I wish I had known of Café Alentejo before. The food looks super yumm. Good that you could try Oxtail and black pork dishes. Those are indeed some of the popular local dishes.

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  7. On my recent trip to Portugal I feel in love with the black pork ham from Alentejo that I had while in Lisbon. I would love to visit Evora and Cafe Alentejo to explore the flavors and wines of this area if they are any where near as good as that black pork!

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  8. That looks sooooo DELICIOUS! And the reading and the descriptions are awesome and so detailed. I wish I could be there and eat one of those dishes right now. I love Asparagus and fish and I could taste all of them.

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  9. My mouth was watering the entire article. I have been to Portugal many times now, always looking forward to the culinary delights that one comes upon at nearly every turn. The desserts and wines, cheeses especially too, I love the food, and will note this cafe for my future visits.

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    • Awesome!! When you do make it back to Evora, please be sure to introduce yourself to Rita the owner. She’d be delighted to know you heard about the restaurant from Authentic Food Quest. Glad you enjoyed the article!

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    • Cafe Alentejo is a really special place in Evora. The history and amazing food and wines is one of the best reason to visit the restaurant. The fava beans are certainly interesting and quite tasty. A trip to Cafe Alentejo is certainly worth it!

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  10. wow, what a feast you had! This restaurant looks exquisite, I am particularly interested in the farinheira sausages. would never have thought twice about the name but actually learning it is not meat is surprising!

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  11. Such great way to explore Portugal through food. Loved your detailed guide through all the courses, and food looks so yummy 🙂 Hope to get the chance to travel Portugal and have a taste of their specialties.

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    • Thanks so much and glad you enjoyed the article. Portugal is definitively a foodie’s country and Evora is one of the best places to explore. If Portugal is on your travel plans, highly recommend taking the trip to Evora. Thanks for stopping by!

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  12. I need to eat there RIGHT NOW. Your pictures look incredible and I love all the information around the area. I had no idea that this was even a thing but it’s now added to my list! 🙂

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  13. Oh I loved Portugal so much. The food is amazing. I haven’t been to this region though, because when I visited I took the coastal route. But reading about Portugal and you description of the dishes brought me back a little to a country that is very close to my heart!

    Reply

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