Willie’s Restaurante in Vilamoura is holder of one Michelin star, which sets high expectations for the food and ambiance. We are pleased to say that Willie’s does not disappoint in any way. The restaurant is named after its owner Wilhelm Wurger, originally from Germany, who was the first chef to receive a Michelin star in Portugal’s Algarve. He had Michelin stars at 2 other restaurants in the Algarve before opening his own restaurant in Vilamoura 14 years ago.
Willie’s is not situated in Vilamoura’s fancy harbour where you can find many restaurants serving the dreaded ‘tourist food’, but just outside the centre on a quiet road. This place is well worth the short drive because you can enjoy excellent food while sipping good wine in a relaxing ambiance. Willie’s has an intimate terrace with gentle lighting that adds to the romantic atmosphere. The staff are highly experienced, discrete, attentive and professional.
When we visited Willie’s on a Sunday night in August, the restaurant’s terrace was full the whole night. We were served homemade bread with lobster-infused olive oil (also homemade) and balsamic vinegar, which was delicious. As a starter we opted for the carpaccio with pepper pesto and the seafood ravioli with Vermouth cream sauce. Both dishes were equally tasty but the Vermouth sauce was simply superb. For mains we had the tiger shrimp with curry sauce and mango rice and scallops with truffel risotto. Again, these dishes live up to their Michelin star rating with their intense freshness and flavour. We had the excellent raspberry and marcaspone mille feuille and the surprising peanut butter ice cream and brownie for dessert. We loved the modern twist on peanut butter ice cream, a must try when you dine here!
Wilhelm says he gets his inspiration from his own experience, reading books, seeing dishes in other restaurants and what is available on the market. The menu at Willie’s changes seasonally but some signature dishes always stay on the menu, such as the seafood ravioli, foie gras and scallops. The restaurant has a strong customer base with people that always come back for these dishes so it makes sense to keep them on the menu at all times. With regard to the ingredients, not all of them are local although many are. The meat and fish are local, as are the fruit and vegetables but the scallops come from France for example. They would like to have more local ingredients but don’t want to compromise on quality.
We asked Wilhelm about his own favourite restaurant in the area and he mentioned Gigi’s in Quinta do Lago which specializes in fresh fish. All we can say is; if this guy likes it, go there! After dining at Willie’s first of course, you will not be disappointed.
Willie’s Restaurante is most suited to:
– food lovers
– romantic dining
What we liked:
+ Generous portions
+ Excellent knowledgeable professional service
+ Relaxing atmosphere
+ Intense flavour
What we disliked:
– The nibbles when we sat down at the table, we would like to see them replaced by something homemade
– The green tea was served with boiling water, making it a bit bitter
Rua do Brazil 2