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