“ Address: Faz Gostos / Rua do Castelo 13 / 8000-401 / Faro / Algarve „
Faz Gostos is a very stylish restaurant situated in the old town of Faro close to the cathedral. Every time I visit, I am always surprised at the size of the restaurant. Being situated in the old part of Faro, visitors will expect as I did, a small room with lots of arches and alcoves. The dining area is not like this at all, it is very large with plenty of space between tables so if you want to have a romantic meal for two you don't have to be worried about being overheard.
On my last visit, I arranged to meet an old friend for lunch to catch up on old times. As soon as we walked through the door the waiter took no time at all showing us to a table. Within a few minutes he came back to ask us if we wanted to order drinks. We ordered two glasses of Crystal beer from the pump and within minutes these were delivered to the table, cold and refreshing. We both decided to stick to beer but there is an extensive wine list covering Portuguese and International wines. The wine cellar is situated below the main dining area of the restaurant, you are welcome to nosey around if you wish. We passed on the invitation, I like wine but I have never considered Portuguese wine to be anything special, in fact it's amazing I'm still alive after some of the rough wines I have drank in my past.
The décor is traditional with a contemporary over look and modern feel. There is a lot of dark wood on view with supporting pillars and heavy doors. The floors are also made from wood panelling but in a lighter shade. The wall coverings are a little too dark for my taste and I think if the walls were painted white rather than brown, orange and cream, the room would look fresher and have a lighter appearance. I wasn't too keen on the choice of artwork either; it all seemed clumpy and rather drab.
I did like the chairs, well designed, comfy and very roomy, made from soft, red leather with wooden edgings. Also, the chandeliers hanging from the ceiling of which there were many, had delicate, white glass shades yet the table lamps situated on wooden sideboards were very contemporary in style with lamp shades that had an orange and red tint. I should think in the evening the lighting would have a nice, red glow.
Tables are circular and oblong, all covered with white linen cloths. Most of the plates and bowls used to serve food in are simple and white but I did notice other flamboyant plates made from terracotta, with the name of the restaurant and a cute little drawing of the building emblazoned on the surface. These seemed to be used for special meals highlighted on the menu. Wine glasses were tall and elegant and looked very attractive. The only thing that looked out of place on the table was the cruet set; it certainly wasn't the most fashionable one I've come across.
At lunch a fixed price menu is on offer and this is worth taking advantage of as it is a three course meal with wine. The starters are delicious and varied and the main meals are large in proportions and come to the table artistically decorated. Here at Faz Gostos, the chef uses the best of local produce, takes an old Portuguese recipe and turns it into something contemporary with international flair. I was aware of French and Italian influences. I mean, how many Algarvian restaurants serve foie gras, pears poached in red wine and Crêpe Suzette?
On this occasion I didn't try anything bohemian as I was quite happy to go with the more traditional food like roasted leg of lamb which I can certainly recommend. The meat is tender, not greasy and melts in your mouth. Fish and seafood play an important role on the menu too. Fish is always cooked in a simple way yet tastes delicious. I can also recommend the crab bisque, clams with garlic and the sea bass casserole.
Desserts are fancy, presented on long glass dishes with chocolate and caramel swirls as part of the decoration. I ordered chocolate cake with ice cream. The ice cream was soft and delicious but I thought the chocolate cake was too dry and had been overcooked. It was served separately at one end of the long dish with a glass bowl of ice cream perched at the other end. I would have liked the cake to have been placed in a dish with the ice cream on top. I think the desserts are expensive and a little too ostentatious. It seems that more time and effort is put into the decoration of the plates than the desserts and they are often quite bland in taste.
This is not a cheap restaurant compared to other Algarve restaurants. Prices of meals start from 50 Euros to 90 Euros including wine.
Vegetarian meals can be created; I suggest that vegetarians perhaps mention this when reserving a table to prepare the chef in advance.
Faz Gostos is a stylish establishment indeed and makes a nice change from other every day Algarvian restaurants. Overall, the quality of food is very good especially the main courses. The desserts are too fussy and I am not crazy about the pretentious way they are presented. I prefer something much more down to earth. Waiters and waitresses vary, some are charming and will do anything for you, and others are surly and most unhelpful. The location is superb in the old part of town on Rua do Castelo near to the Municipal Museum and the building itself is interesting and well set out. I recommend a visit to Faz Gostos if you find yourself in Faro.
Restaurante Faz Gostos
Rua do Castelo, 13
Phone: +351 289 878 422
Mobile: +351 961 624 575