My first restaurant review! I know this isn't the most healthy post, but it was Friday, and on Fridays cheese is a necessity. Ristorante Italiano Alloro is by far my favourite restaurant in Praia da Luz, Portugal. It is an Italian restaurant run by the most fabulous Portuguese people, who have the ability to turn a béchamel sauce into pure bliss.
Tucked away in the corner of the Baia da Luz Hotel, the façade does not suggest much. We are greeted with smiles from ear to ear as we walk into the restaurant, a single indoor room with an outdoor patio to the right, and an outdoor lounge to the left. The ambience is light, and as we are seated aromas of roasted tomatoes, garlic, and Italian herbs drift from the kitchen to our noses. The wait staff at Alloro are attentive, flirtatious, and quick-witted. Each time I attend this restaurant the experience surpasses the last in satisfaction and indulgence.
Alloro has a multitude of vegetarian options, a few vegan options, and many pescatarian options. The Quattro Formaggio (four cheese) Pizza, pictured above, has an incredibly unique mingling of flavours and the prices will put a smile on anybody's face. Pecorino, parmesan, mozzarella, and gorgonzola ignite an explosion of flavour in your mouth, but be careful not to over-indulge!
Pictured above is the Lasagne alle Verdure (vegetarian lasagna), topped with goats cheese and parmesan, swimming in a lagoon of red béchamel sauce, the sauce of my dreams. I hope to recreate a vegan version of this dish, most notably this sauce, at some point in the near future. Each bite inspires me, transporting me to a romantic scene in Italy. The creaminess from the béchamel and the sweetness from the tomatoes combine to form something magnificent, all poured over a perfect layering of roasted zucchini, eggplant, peppers, tomato, and spinach lasagna noodles. It is unlike any lasagna I have ever experienced.
The final (vegetarian) dish at our table was Risotto al Funghi, a gorgeous wild mushroom and parmesan risotto topped with rocket. This dish was light, yet had a strong, full-bodied flavour, and a remarkable creaminess which could be eaten without the feeling of overindulgence. I have never tasted such a simple risotto with so much flavour. It is the perfect representation of the menu at Alloro; simple and elegant, inclusive of a variety of diets, and obviously put together by an extremely competent chef and team. I applaud everything that is Alloro, the wait staff, the kitchen, the menu, the establishment. Bravo.