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 RUI 1

While enjoying incredible hotel accommodations at the Vila Vita Parc Hotel in Armacao de Pera in the Algarve of southern Portugal, I was flipping through some tourist magazines and they spotlighted a restaurant in nearby Silves called Rui 1.  The thing that caught my attention was the fact that they featured live crab, one of our favorites.  We called the hotel concierge to ask if the place was any good and she highly recommended it.  So off we went.

When our taxi dropped us off I was a little concerned.  We were standing in the middle of an ancient narrow little street with shabby, small buildings on each side.  Let's just say the neighborhood didn't look very affluent!  But once inside the door of this tiny restaurant, we knew we had found a real gem.

Inside live tanks were bubbling away with three types of crabs waiting to be selected.  They were lady, brown and spider crabs.  We sat down and sampled some of each.  I also saw and sampled something I've never seen before at a restaurant--barnacles.  Really!  The edible part is not unlike a steamer clam from Boston in that you peel a little sleeve of skin off, then dip the meat in melted butter.  They were quite good.

After cracking open a bunch of crabs and going through a few orders of steamed clams we were ready for dessert.   This is one thing strange that you'll find in Portugal.  In all but the very best of restaurants, the dessert menu is the same.  It features the same items you'd find in a frozen grocery store case.  Ice creams, sherbets, etc.  They all must come from the same frozen supplier although I must admit, they did hit the spot.

If you like live crab steamed to perfection, then this is the place for you.  On the other hand if you expect a beautiful interior, avoid this place!  And wear old clothes.  Wackin' and hackin' crabs is dirty business and bits and pieces to fly everywhere.  Finally, don't be put off by the neighborhood.  While it looks dingy it's mainly just old.

Rui 1 is located at Rua Comendador Vilarim 27.  Their phone number is (or was when we were there) 282/44-26-82.


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