Just past the old fish market, in Tavira, you see a group of restaurants. They are directly opposite where the ferry picks you up to take you to Tavira Island. Beware they will take you for a ride if you are not careful. Remember that every cover they place on your table you will be paying for. They even place four different covers in one dish, but they will still charge you for four covers rather than one. The same goes for Tavira island, thus before you know it your covers have cost you 15 euros before you even started the main course. Most of the restaurants on the opposite side of the river just give you bread and olives that will cost you 1.00 euro, so play safe and stay away from the tourist traps.
We visited the area around "the wrong side of the Roman bridge" hoping to find the quiet German restaurant we had such a good experience of 5 years back. It is now a grubby Irish pub complete with with grubby Irish(?) kids with their backsides hanging out of their pants banging a football ball against the pub wall. We were told at the hotel to avoid the whole area as there had been a number of muggings in the area recently.
Tavira is not the place it was – remember it as it was but to return will end in disappointment. It has been taken down market and that the local tourist authorities have encouraged this beggar's belief. Irish pubs and fast food are not where Portugal's future lies – unless it is down the toilet …
We (kids & misses) were waiting for service at the large Irish bar \ restaurant on the other side of the river to the bus station and a Spanish couple were complaining about rat droppings on their table. The waiter wiped them off with his bare hand and then continued to take their order – we left (-:
Please, check the time when you go to Tavira. Last week (1st week of October 2011) my friends went to Tavira, it was really hot and sunshine, but ferries don't run to the beach anymore, information center doesn't work anymore, because season in Tavira ends at 5 of SEPTEMBER!
Of course, you can get to the beach by water taxi - 18 Euro one way (in low season).
Or there is a boat from Quatro Aquas place, it is a bit walking out from Tavira on sandy road.
Please, have water taxi telephone number when you go to the beach, in case you miss the last boat, you have to call taxi to get you back to town.
I am shocked by these posts. I have just spent the entire winter in Tavira, very pleasantly, and walked everywhere, including the 'wrong side of the bridge' at all hours. Firstly, there IS NO 'wrong side of the Roman Bridge'. The pub being described in the one post is admittedly grotty and occasionally occupied by an unpleasant element...but such places exist in MOST towns, probably including your own! Street crime, while not entirely unheard of, is decidedly rare in Tavira. By the way, the pub you are referring to is located at the bridge known locally as the 'military bridge'...the Roman bridge is further up the river. On the east side (wrong?) of the Roman bridge is the beautiful Bishop's Square, with its' assortment of excellent restaurants, including that 'terrible' Irish bar, which is patronized by the entire British expat community! There are also several excellent Indian and typical Portuguese restaurants, craft shops, an art gallery, and beautiful gardens! Restaurants tend to come and go a bit, but I'm not sure what makes a German restaurant 'nice', while an Irish restaurant is not (for the record, I am neither!). I'm sorry that your German restaurant has vanished into the mists of time, but there ARE other excellent options. By the way, the restaurants near the boarding point for the ferry are not my favorites, but describing them as rip-offs is patently unfair. Like most restaurants in high profile locations, their prices are higher, but tell me honestly that the same thing does not occur in your own town. The practice of bringing bread or rolls, butter, cheese, and olives to the table at the start of a meal is a Portuguese custom, known as the couvert. I have never been in any Portuguese restaurant, in Tavira or elsewhere, which does not do this. The items brought ARE charged for...but ONLY if you use them. The simplest way to avoid this is a polite 'no thank you' when they arrive, and you will not be charged for them. This is not taking anyone for a ride, but a restaurant custom which is described in absolutely EVERY tourist guide book on Portugal that I have ever read! That's like saying that there is an organized rip-off operating in North American restaurants, because there is a customary expectation of a tip for service! A wise traveller upon arrival in a new place, opens their mind even before they open their suitcase!