The stars are aligned for Portugal’s restaurants, real estate and new residents

Explore how global interest in Portugal has made a positive impact on the local culinary scene…

Portugal celebrates a total of 40 Michelin stars awarded to 33 restaurants in December 2021 to restaurants spread across some of Europe’s hottest property markets: Portugal’s Lisbon area and Porto, the Alentejo and the Algarve as well as on the island of Madeira. This is a significant increase from the 14 restaurants as recently as 2014. Clearly the global interest in Portugal is having a positive impact on the local culinary scene.

Portugal’s existing 2021 2-Michelin starred restaurants retained their stars in 2022 and the country added five new restaurants to the Guide’s list, including introducing a new Star system for the Michelin Guide for Spain and Portugal for sustainability, two of which went to Portugal’s chefs Carlos Teixeira at Esporão Restaurant and Benoît Sinthon of Il Gallo d’Oro.

The quality of Portuguese produce has always been held in high esteem and most visitors and residents know Portugal’s seafood well, with local oysters being exported ‘en masse’ to Brittany in France and hidden gems such as ‘percebes’ being a treat impossible to find outside of the Iberian Peninsula. An ever more cosmopolitan crowd more recently discovered the joys of relocating to Portugal and with them came a level of sophistication and purchasing power now reflected in the country’s gastronomic scene, with mostly Portuguese but also foreign chefs winning their Michelin Stars across Portugal’s mainland and island of Madeira.

Michael Maxwell of EQTY Capital, a private equity fund focused on Portugal’s prime real estate explains the phenomena: “Of the 190,000 properties sold in 2021, 11% or around 21,000 went to foreigners with only 1,5% to Golden Visa investors. Lisbon and Porto, particularly in the prime residential space, is in high demand globally so it is unsurprising that the prime residential market continues to see growth. The perception is that it is driven by Golden Visa demand however the hard facts say otherwise. The reality is that these cities have very limited supply and growing demand which is not helped by the fact that Portugal has about half of the EU average of new build properties. The majority of foreigners buying here are moving or spending a significant amount of time here. With capital to spend they will continue to actively seek restaurants and other experiences to maximise their time here’ and it is unsurprising that there is much more offer at the top end than in the past”.

Whether visitors and residents are based in the countryside, seaside or Portugal’s bustling cities of Lisbon and Porto, a Michelin-star restaurant road trip is now something of a long holiday. For a full list of Portugal’s Michelin-starred restaurants, click here.

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