On the EN125 in Alcantarilha, take the turning to Armação de Pera, and follow the road down to the beach. Pitch up at NANA on the Beach, at the Armacao Beach Club, sit back, and enjoy the great Mediterranean-inspired food

Open now for the summer season, this member of the Vila Vita Parc family is a treat. First, its location. On the quiet easterly stretch, past the famous Fisherman’s Beach Fish in the resort of Armacao de Pera, it sits in dazzling sunshine off the boardwalk. Next, its environment. Relaxed, calm and quiet with dazzling views along the coast and out to the vast expanse of sea that’s the same brilliant blue as the sea. Now its décor. A crisp white wood beach house with a big, covered terrace, pastel-coloured chairs that say summer, scrubbed white tables, easy-going sofas and pots of sun-loving succulents. If you arrived wearing shoes, you’ll have them off in minutes.

And of course, the reason why you are there… the food.

Think tastes that come from the Mediterranean islands, traditional flavours that combine with textures and have made Greek cuisine so popular internationally.

But then think of those tastes modified, added to, played with, and given a new distinct personality that it very much its own.

Read the menu, and you’re tempted to try everything… and then come back for more. And when their order arrives at the next table, you’ll find you are craning you neck to see their choice.

Okay, so let’s talk basics. Pita bread. But NANA on the Beach is anything but basic, and far removed from the usual supermarket rounds. It’s light, fluffy, warm and wantable. Perfect with a glass of ice cold wine while your make your choice.

The dips are the way to start. Forget the standard taramasalata and hummus – these on a different level. There’s a feta cheese dip with fragrant roasted red peppers, a chickpea version with tahini and smoked paprika, and a yoghurt dip with cucumber and fresh herbs. The olives that come with are a treat in themselves. Order the dip trio – there’s enough for three or four to start your meal off.

Then launch into the starters that include crispy calamari (who doesn’t love that?) with a spicy mayo and garlic lemon dip, and a filo wrapped treat of fresh cheese with honey and thyme. Dolmades yes; aubergine miilefeuilles, yes. Fancy a salad? Yes – they are big and beautiful, cool and crisp and piled high.

You can enjoy an orzos dish at this point. They come in two person portions – with lamb meatballs, shrimps, seabass with cockles, bio vegetables, or cuttlefish – you take you pick.

But you want to – and must – make room for the mains. And there’s a very sensible way of sampling here – just get each member of your group – we were three – to order a different dish! We had a glorious vegetarian moussaka, a huge platter of garlic-marinated lamb chops served with crisply lemony potatoes rolled in chopped rosemary, and a souvlaki of chicken on skewers sitting on a yoghurt dipping sauce on warm pitta.

The staff at NANA on the Beach are a dream. You want to take them home with you. But failing that, I’d settle for one of their amazing, flower-sprigged aprons.

They talk you through each dish, make their own suggestions, and return to check back on your dining progress several times over.

There are four desserts on the menu, but one in particular is seriously outstanding. A freshly-make baklava with ricotta, and apple cubes in a spiced syrup. It’s the sort of surprise taste that wakes up the senses and has you wondering if you could order it again, right there and then.

NANA on the Beach is not an inexpensive beach bar experience. Starters are up to €17.50 (that’s for the calamari), salads are between €12.50 and €14.50, main courses go from €18 to €32. But this is not a burger/pizza fast-food reastaurant; it something special, and every dish is cooked and served with love. There are vegetarian and vegan options, gluten-free and lactose-free dishes are clearly marked.

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