Vila Joya Restaurant in the Algarve: Portugal's #1 Gourmet Destination

  • Vila Joya Restaurant in Portugal: Two-Michelin-Star Oceanfront Dining

    Vila Joya restaurant, for Michelin stars in the Algarve in Portugal
    ©Vila Joya

    The Restaurant at Vila Joya: The Algarve's Culinary Jewel

    Portugal's sunny southern coastal region, the Algarve, is Western Europe's great-value destination. Vila Joya, a world-renowned restaurant, is here. Plus, the Algarve delivers:
    • Golden-sand pristine beaches
    • Delightful hotels, many set in vintage mansions
    • Championship oceanfront golf courses
    • And ocean-fresh dining, including...

    One of the Algarve's Most Upscale Names: Vila Joya

    In the Algarve's historic town of Albufeira, 40 minutes from Faro airport, is the deluxe, 28-suite Vila Joya inn and restaurant.
    • Vila Joya has been owned by Dr. Klaus Jung since 1978 (and named for his daughter Joy)
    • It has an independent boutique hotel spirit, and is decidedly un-corporate
    • See Luxury Travel's story about the Vila Joya hotel

    Elite Gourmet Dining at Vila Joya

    Vila Joya's restaurant is famous amongst European foodies.
    • Why? It's one of three restaurants in Portugal only with two Michelin stars
    • Here, you will experience culinary arts of the highest order, at a high-end price
    • Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are served
    • Getaway deals include Vila Joya's Dream & Dine: three hotel nights, a lunch, two dinners

    The Elegant Look and Feel of Vila Joya Restaurant

    Vila Joya Restaurant exudes style and refinement.
    • Its mesmerizing view: the Atlantic Ocean
    • Its décor: subdued and evocative, with subtle swirls and arches that recall the Algarve's long-gone era of Moorish rule
    • The two indoor dining rooms feature antique tijoleira terra cotta floors, vaulted ceilings, a stone fireplace, and a massive marble table laden with buffet choices at breakfast
    • In season, meals are served on the umbrella-dotted ocean terrace 

    Culinary Kudos for Vila Joya

    Chef Dieter Koschina, a native of Vienna, has led Vila Joya's kitchen since 1991.
    • Vila Joya was awarded its first Michelin star in 1995 and its second (still in effect) in 1999
    • The restaurant is honored by many other awards, such as inclusion in the influential San Pellegrino Top 100 Restaurants in the World

    Chef Koschina's Style

    The Austrian chef's assured approach: he applies classic European cooking techniques to Algarvian and Portuguese ingredients, putting a creative spin on every recipe
    • You may think you've eaten a dish before, but it will taste exciting and new

    Chef Koschina's Menu at Vila Joya 

    Vila Joya's menu includes both prix fixe and a la carte choices.
    • Diners can order the six-course chef’s dégustation (tasting) menu at lunch and dinner
    • Thinking of a weekend reservation? The extravagant, eight-course, prix fixe "Gala Menu" dinner is served on Thursdays only

    Some Sample Tastes at Vila Joya Restaurant

    At my dinner, the excitement kicked off immediately. Luscious amuses-bouches included:
    • Smoked Norwegian salmon on a potato waffle with Iranian caviar (a perfect bite)
    • Duck liver mousse with passion fruit, sandwiched between two crunchy macarons
    • Beef tartare in a crispy pastry shell

    Some amazing appetizers I tasted:
    • Hamachi sparked with bergamot citrus oil and wasabi, caressed by cauliflower purée
    • John Dory fish in a pumpkin-seed crust, pooled in a cilantro-orange infusion
    • Potato gnocchi in intense tomato broth, with octopus and broccolini

    These entrées were standouts:
    • Turbot with wild morels and naturally sweet green peas
    • Duck ravioli with braised endive and a touch of raspberries
    • Port wine-sauced pigeon (squab) from the Miéral poultry farm in the French Alps

    Vila Joya diners look forward to dessert, like:
    • Mango, coconut, and tapioca: Thailand on a plate
    • Mascarpone cream with pear and cardamom-coffee ice cream

    Exceptional Service at Vila Joya

    Service at Vila Joya was engaged yet discreet: true luxury hospitality service.
    • I could tell that Paulo Luz, the tuxedoed maître d’hôtel, is a leader, so often absent in restaurant dining rooms
    • Servers, clad in black-sashed Moorish trousers, speak English and are extremely knowledgeable about the menu
    • Dishes arrive at the exact right moment, synchronized with balletic flair

    An Oenophile’s Dream Wine Cellar

    Vila Joya’s cutting-edge, water-cooled wine cellar is a wonder.
    • The 12,000-bottle collection is Portuguese-centric, with some international labels
    • All of Portugal’s major wine regions are featured: Douro, Alentejo, Dão, the Algarve
    • Vila Joya's Arnauld Vallet was named 2012 Sommelier of the Year by Portugal's Wine Magazine
    • You can request a tour or arrange a private, candlelit dinner in Vila Joya’s wine cellar

    Wines to Consider at Vila Joya

    • Quinta do Crasto Reserve, a 2006 red blend from the Douro, subtle and multi-layered
    • Colinas sparkling white wine, made from Portugal’s Baga grape, equaled a fine Champagne

    Find Out More

    • Vila Joya Restaurant website
    • Vila Joya reservations (essential)
    • On Facebook
    • On Twitter
    • Luxury Travel's quick guide to the Algarve
    • Visit Portugal's Algarve info

    As is common in the travel industry, the Guest Author was provided with a complimentary dinner in order to describe it. For details, see our site's Ethics Policy.