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Nº 71 – Pizza-To-Go…

Saturday the 23rd of January 2021

Leaving Vila do Bispo and travelling north, we reach Pedralva and the Pizza Pazza restaurant. Unfortunately, it’s closed. I was really hungry for a freshly baked crispy pizza there. So I carry on north on the EN120, which goes through Carrapateira next to the Atlantic Ocean, and which then reaches Aljezur. I recently had a very good vegetarian pizza in the village of Alfambras at Trigo Vermelho, the restaurant that also serves a pizza made with gluten-free dough and also a vegan pizza. Due to the lock down of the country, the owner has currently had to change their opening hours Monday to Friday from 12-14 and 16-20 for Take Away Pizza (Phone No 282 973 908) Some time ago I had a large Margarita pizza there for 7.70 euros, which I can highly recommend.

Whenever I am working in the field as a journalist, I check out restaurants for lunch and today the Trigo Vermelho was closed. Pizzeria Gulli, which is a few kilometres further north on the left-hand side of the road, was also closed. They serve pizza there too – but you know the type of restaurants that there are, those that are open all year round and the others that are only open during the tourist season. That gives me an idea. We drive through Aljezur and reach Rogil. I had already bought a Pizza-To-Go there a few times at the Pizza VIP. The small pizzeria is more like a snack bar and it’s thriving during the lock-down because you can buy a pizza there and take it away. You can then eat it at home or in the car. Right now, pizza is the easiest food to satisfy a vegetarian’s hunger during the pandemic. VIP is open from 12 to 3 pm and from 6 to 10 pm. And this Portuguese-Italian kitchen even delivers the pizza to your home within a 15 km radius for free.

This small snack bar on the EN120 is opposite the only petrol station in Rogil and is run by Senhora Piera Canal and her daughter, Senhorita Christina Almeida. The possibility of choosing the flour that the dough is made from is interesting: wheat, rye, spelt, carob and a mix of all of them gives the pizza eater some amazing flavours, because not all pizzas are the same. The quality of a pizza depends a lot on the ingredients. We bought two of these round breads, the cheapest and the most expensive Pizza-To-Go: (Margarita € 6.50 and VIP € 15). The cardboard packaging is also environmentally friendly. If you like pizza, you’re spoilt for choice here with four A4 pages of menu. I love the vegetarian version of truffle sauce with mushrooms, and walnuts, with a topping of rocket. Unbeatable. Even my dog, Max, stands up on two paws when he smells it.

I have known Vitor Almeida (who makes the dough) and his pizza making family for many years as consistently good pizza makers. Whether in Portimão at the beginning of this millennium or in Aljezur in the last few years. They are professionals but there are always a few things that could be improved. I never drink coffee from paper or plastic cups. And I expect proper spoons for stirring, not disposable plastic sticks. The pandemic has not (so far) changed our habits for the better, not only at the table. We no longer allow enough time for eating and less and less are we eating off china and more and more eating like animals (fast food !) and with our fingers. If you pass through Aljezur like I did and want to eat a pizza, I recommend this little snack bar, Pizza-VIP (Take Away).  You’ll be well looked after by Piera and Cristina. I am willing to give it 10 out of 15 points.

  1. location of the restaurant, zero points;
  2. architecture and design, zero points;
  3. feel-good effect (no wheelchair accessible), zero points;
  4. cleanliness (open snack kitchen transparent, no customer toilet), one point;
  5. menu (variety, fresh daily specials, soup and dessert), one point;
  6. cooking & service (qualifications, professionalism, friendliness, continuity, multilingual), one point;
  7. ingredients (food: how and where it’s produced, proof of origin, all food is recycled, short and quick transport routes, little waste, healthy), zero points;
  8. creativity, originality and tradition of dishes, (also own fresh bread), one point;
  9. transparency (openly visible kitchen), one point;
  10. organisation (concept menu with pizza, as different tapas or similar), one point;
  11. taste (not only hunger drives us), one point;
  12. drinks (none of their own creations, water & teas in tins), zero points;
  13. prices (a. in relation to performance, b. to income, c. Subjective), one point;
  14. can I imagine coming back. YES. one point;
  15. extra point? YES, because if you come twelve times, you get the next pizza for free.

PIZZA VIP, Loja do Rogil, Av 16 de Junho 66 – 8670-440 Rogil – phone 282 994 264 (closed on Mondays).


Uwe Heitkamp (60)

trained TV journalist, book author and hobby botanist, father of two grown-up children, knows Portugal for 30 years, founder of ECO123. Translations : Dina Adão, Tim Coombs, João Medronho

Fotos: Uwe Heitkamp


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