one ocean one sky one gigi – gigi’s beach restaurant in Quinta do LagoBy Kerstin Buechner Dias • Feb 27th, 2007 • Category: People, Quinta Lifestyle, Restaurants
approaching Gigi’s there is a sense of anticipation
Bernardo Reino (universally known as Gigi) has been serving lunch at his famous beach-side fish restaurant, Gigi’s, for more than 20 years. But the length of time Gigi’s has been there is only one small measure of its success. In fact, during the height of the season, it is virtually impossible to get a table without booking well in advance – a true testament to the restaurant’s popularity.
The Algarve is filled with seafood restaurants and cafes. So why do celebrities, from royalty to pop stars and Formula 1 racing drivers, jostle with locals and other mortals in a bid to reserve a table? The answer lies in its fantastic location and in an unspoken understanding that only the best is good enough. But, perhaps more than anything, there is the indefinable, genial quality possessed by both the restaurant and its larger-than-life restaurateur.
In a bid to secure the best fish, Gigi makes daily dawn visits to the local fish markets to look through the catches of his preferred fisherman. Not only does he go to the best fisherman, but he also chooses their most succulent fish. The catch of each day is then neatly recorded on chalkboard menus at the restaurant.
Gigi’s is totally without pretension. Simple wooden tables, shaded from the sun by lemon yellow parasols, sit on wooden decking. Yet somehow this understated simplicity doesn’t seem rustic, but rather, stylish. It is also very welcoming and diners are all made to feel at home.
unique atmosphere, ambience and wonderful food
Besides the daily changing menu and great wine list, the best thing about Gigi’s is its ambience. The friendly staff, most of whom seem to have been there forever, take the time to get to know their customers. On spotting your arrival, Gigi himself will throw his arms up in delight and welcome you like the old friend you have become and his delightful wife, Leonor, will enquire after your family. It’s hard not to enjoy such a welcome.
Perhaps the most reliable reviews of Gigi’s, however, come from the long-term Quinta do Lago residents. We asked one regular why he kept returning. He replied: “The atmosphere, the food, the people even as you walk across the bridge approaching Gigi’s there is a sense of anticipation. It’s always very special”.
Gigi’s Beach Restaurant
Telephone: 964 045178
“There is no love sincerer than the love of food” – George Bernard Shaw