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Lisbon Restaurants: Reviews & Recommendations


fredbram
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I had an inkling you were a food writer ;). This is so helpful! My partner is doing a Masters in environmental planning and is, unsurprisingly, very interested in traditional and sustainable farming and harvesting, so I think we'll end up there for sure. Especially since, although I am a complete and total sun worshipper, I did wonder if I'd be bored during four entire days on the Algarve. I'm not really one for tourist resorts, and we are staying at one (Perola Apartments in Albufeira).

HungryTraveler's just PM'd me with market info. Looks like my entire trip will be taken up eating!

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four and a half days boys and girls, four and a half days!

miguel, if we did end up wanting to go to mealhada, is it far from coimbra? as in, could we stay in coimbra and have dinner in mealhada. that hotel you mentioned sounded gorgeous, but a little out of my price range.

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I stayed in Coimbra (at the fancy deco hotel across the street from the river - still, quite reasonable last year - with a lovely marble bathroom), took the bus to Bussaco and back in one afternoon (passed through Mealhada twice with no stops!) with time to quickly traverse the forest. If you have a car, it is easy to have dinner in Mealhada. Eat for me too! I believe the Palace has a restaurant as well - might be good for a drink if you go all the way there. I highly recommend visiting the forest (as I've mentioned before.)

In the opposite direction from Coimbra, there is a very nice indoor/outdoor exhibit of on-site Roman ruins. I didn't make it to this other site - there is also a well regarded early Jewish site? It sounded fascinating.

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  • 4 months later...

Hi, I have just come back from a holiday week in Lisbon an enchanting city that makes you wish to come back there every time you leave. I had brought a list of good eats compilled from Miguel Cardoso’s threads and my thoughts were to follow them straightly, but our friends there also wanted to take us out and we had to deal with their chosings too. So this is the summary of our lisboetian dinning.

The first day we arrived from Galicia with upsetted stomachs so we needed a soft meal to recover from our galician overindulgence, we went for a walk to the Bairro Alto and ended lunching in Bota Alta, a recomendation from our lisboetian friends it turned out to be a traditional and probably a bit touristic Casa de comidas with the walls filled with old drowings, pictures and poetrys from their famous costumers; serving very honest comfort food, we asked for the soup of the day that turned to be a Caldo Verde (Green Soup) a traditional portuguese soup that we could place between a minestrone and a puree, very nice and recomforting. The dish of the day was a Pescada a marinheira a big cut of Hake with clams in an onion and tomato sauce, fresh and simple. Exactly what we needed and a bargain at 15€ each.

With renewed stomachs we opted to visit the following day Búzio, in Praia das Maçãs. At the end of a sneaky road following the Cascais coast we ended in this restaurant higly recomended by Miguel Cardoso as probably the best fish restaurant in Portugal at the present time, Well I haven’t all the details to compare but is goig to be hard to beat the quality of the fish at Búzio. We went looking for a wild tourbot but they hadn’t and offered a 1kg Sea Bass that keep us almost criying when we finished it, amazing piece of fish, with strong meat plenty of flavour much better than the beach ones that I have had in Galicia four days before. With an apperitive consisting in half dozen of the bigger oysters (Crassostrea angulata) that I have had, with a not very atractive green meat they were tasteful and delicious, and half a bottle of wine it was just 70€.

The following night our friends had reserved to honour us at Pap’Açorda one of the hippest lisboetian restaurants again in the Bairro Alto. This turned out to be the big disapointment of the trip. The place was very fashionable with different ambients and decorations. Very croudy and noisy. We had a nice green beens deep fried in a tempura style and simple and refreshing meckerel escabeiche that was the best of the meal. Then I had an overcooked John Dory in a buttery orange souce that killed the few remaining flavour of the fish. B opted for a cod in a corn bread that was a pastiche almast impossible to eat. Dessert was a thick chocolate mousse. At leas the bill was 35€ each.

We reconforted our souls in the Solar do viho do Porto, and old fasioned bar placed in a restored palce where you can sample hundreds of ports by the glass at reasonable prices with a bit of jabugo, queijo de serra, icecream or one of the delicious pasteis de Belem.

To restore the previous night disapointment on thursday we went to João Padeiro, in Guincho, another of Miguel’s sugestions to try the fried "linguado de Cascais" - an enormous Dover sole caught in Cascais, deep fried in butter and oil and served with chipped potatoes and salad – As he had written is the best fish and chips that we have had. The sole was so well fried that we ended licking the little bones and crunchy "skirts".

Sadly Ramiro, the classic shellfish "cervejaria" thet we had chosen for dinner was closed so we opted for Cervejaria Ribadouro an old favourite of my father’s lisboetian times that seems to heve passed it’s best days and serves nice but not superb seafood at reasonable prices.

For the last day we wanted to sample a traditional portuguese restaurant and as we couldn’t find the telephon or adress of Solar dos Leitôes we chose O Galito, in the Luz zone of Lisbon, a traditional casa de comidas with food from the Alentejo.They have a different dish of tha day every day and the regulars now them in advance. The cook, Dona Gertrudes (like the old mêres), is almost eighty and cooks every lunch and dinner, as an apperitive we sampled the farinheira (one of the Alentejan "enchidos"/cured pork sausages) a cold rabbit stew, some scramble eggs and a broad beans with sausage. The first course was an stunning pickle partridge that is going to be hard to forget. Then a paprika spiced pork with clams and coriander that wasn’t that good (or at least we didn't understood it). Again the bill was about 25€ each.

Sadly we had to come back to Madrid to work but there are still a long list of remaining restaurants to visit, so Lisbon, I’ll be back.

Rogelio Enríquez aka "Rogelio"
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Rogelio,

Thank you for this fine report. I am taking notes for my upcoming trip to Portugal. Where is Solar do viho do Porto?

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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Where is Solar do viho do Porto?

It's in the Bairro Alto, Rua de S. Pedro de Alcântara, 45 , just where the little tramway/elevator ends.

Thanks. i'll have to check it out!

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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It's in the Bairro Alto, Rua de S. Pedro de Alcântara, 45 , just where the little tramway/elevator ends.

Also check out Bica do Sapato. Yes, it's sleek and ultra-cool and is a haven for some of Europe's jet set, but the food was very exciting. Unusual combinations, different techniques applied to traditional ingredients, etc. Fausto Arioldi is doing some interesting and worthwhile things there.

David

Edited by David Leite (log)

David Leite

Leite's Culinaria

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  • 2 weeks later...

Do I need to make reservations in advance for dinner in Lisbon during the middle of the week? What are the preferred dining times? Thanks, Miguel and others for this and other advice you may give and have given. :smile:

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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We always make reservations for lunch or dinner when able to. We usually eat out at lunch because we stay with our daughter who lives in Lisbon and has small children. I think 8:30 is probably an acceptable dinner hour in Lisbon. The fun of cooking at home there is getting to shop in the markets and butcher shops and the wonderful food market in El Corte Ingles department store. The hams and cheeses will blow you away!

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Doc: Reservations, in Portuguese restaurant culture, are weapons. Since most people think booking is an admission of weakness and prefer to make a scene if they're turned away to being humiliatingly shown to their tables - a sure and risible sign of outsider status - phoning is still, as we say, "pregnant with possibilities" for those in the know.

It's complex but here are some pointers. Phone on the day you want to lunch or dine - but relatively early. You want to get through before the first customers but after the last supplies. Say, 11.30 for lunch and 18.30 for dinner.

Ask for something you know they won't have but are sorry (or ashamed) they haven't. This way, when they reply "Ah, unfortunately, not today..." you can advance with your heat-seeking missile: "Well, what else do you have that's absolutely fresh and arrived today?"

They'll inevitably confess. Pretend to mull it over and promise to phone back (because your heart was set on whatever impossible delicacy you asked about and still hope you may find it elsewhere). This will give you time to phone the other three or four places you're interested in.

Whatever you do, phone back. All the restaurants you've called, without fail. Phoning back is the really effective H-bomb, as no one expects it. If you've decided to go elsewhere, say a friend offered to get and cook whatever it was - or anything similar, as a friend can't be turned down. Do not - ever - mention other restaurants. If you're completely unscrupulous (it helps you're a foreigner as the Portuguese love foreigners and you'll never be caught out) express regret that you'll be unable to try whatever they suggested was freshest and most secret. Perhaps tomorrow, you'll coyly suggest.

Even the most fashionable Portuguese restaurants are still telephone virgins and ripe for (well-intentioned, of course) abuse. It's very easy, even if you're a complete stranger (I do it all the time with an assumed name) to get them to spill the beans and reveal their daily best, just like they'd do with a regular customer who's being going there for years.

Always arrive before the crowd, for the greatest pleasure. This means just after midday for lunch and just after seven for dinner. After that, you'll have to muck in with the rest of the crowd. Get your orders in (after a gin and tonic and as many "entradas" as possible) before the crowd arrives. Then, if you can, linger until they've all gone away again.

Always sound hesitant and curious; undecided even; like someone who has to choose between thirty enticing restaurants. If you sound efficient and no-nonsense - or resolute - you'll be taken for someone who doesn't care what he eats; a tourist or a businessman; a schedule-driven slave. There are a lot of good restaurants here and choosing one is a big deal: act accordingly.

Finally, wherever you go, act as if there's no question you'll be back the next day (you should if you're entirely satisfied) and have no curiosity whatsoever about other restaurants. If they think they're just part of a list, they'll treat you like an item on a list.

(There are other secrets but I can't reveal them here. We'll confer when you arrive!) :)

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(There are other secrets but I can't reveal them here.  We'll confer when you arrive!) :)

I can't wait! I'd love to learn from the master.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 1 month later...

We're travelling to Lisbon next week and I'm wondering if there's something new or special in the food world there not to miss. We usually choose a lunch destination daily - and in the past have tried many of Miguel's wonderful suggestions, but not all yet. Any up-dates?

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Hey, MMerrill! Are you a difficult customer or what? :)

Being so assiduous and smart - and that Portuguese son-in-law keeps me law-abiding, no mistake! - here are some suggestions, all duly tried and retried, where you should mention my name as your friend. (Nobody else try this - two strangers already have - because, if you're not on the list, they have orders to treat you like scum. Still very good - but not the best. ;)

This time I think you should investigate the following places (Bux would kill me if I suggested you e-mail me for those which cannot be publicly announced):

For a great "bacalhau assado" (an enormous "posta" of grilled salt cod, surrounded by hand-smashed roast potatoes in a classic olive oil and garlic sauce) in a healthy, pleasant proletarian setting, at ridiculously low prices, go to Marítima de Xabregas (tel: 218-682-235). The food there is all good but the "bacalhau" is exceptional, as are the gigantic racket-sized veal chops.

For autumnal (fally?) home-made food made by a great cook in an enchanting little restaurant in Campo de Ourique, you should try Tasquinha da Adelaide. Be sure to book first, as it's small and very popular. It's moderately expensive but great value. I suggest whatever the cook suggests. Anything made in the oven is sublime.

For the experience of a no-frills, absolutely pared down luncheon experience (very cheap), you should try one of the market restaurants. I suggest the one in the Mercado do Lumiar. Go at midday or twelve-thirty at the latest. Great fish and traditional dishes.

On the opposite side, for a treat, be sure to make the trip to Guincho where the best seafood restaurant around Lisbon is: Porto de Santa Maria (21-487-9450). Ask for the manager, Senhor Galveias. Lovely service; view; everything.

Again in Guincho, for the best fried Dover sole (I've mentioned it before and Rogelio reported brilliantly on it) is João Padeiro (21 487 1007).

A little away from Guincho (but nearer on the A5 from Lisbon) is a very typical Sunday ranch, called Farta-Pão. It's hidden away near Malveira da Serra and there are always long lines but, if you arrive around midday or after two-thirty, you should be OK. Here what you want is the magnificent "cozido à portuguesa" which you will compare to the Castilian, Galician, Austrian and Italian versions of boiled meats and vegetables and most probably conclude that this is *cough* so much better. Don't forget to ask for the "caldo" (the broth) beforehand. The bread is legendary.

A great Alentejan restaurant in Lisbon, where the cook, Dona Gertrudes, is 80 years old and has written a seminal book, is Galito. It's near the Estrada da Luz; her son is called Senhor Henrique but I'm not going to say more.

In Estoril, for a marvellous Chinese restaurant which operates at a loss just because the owner, billionaire Stanley Ho, needs a place to receive his business partners and guests, go to Mandarim in the Estoril Casino. The cooks and the cooking are exquisitely Chinese and the prices, for such luxury, are paltry.

If you'd like to try a rustic fisherman-and-son restaurant (the father fishes every night; the son serves) with pristine fish and a lovely setting, try to find Bataréu in Setúbal, which is a secret. It's near the ferry and is only open for lunch but that's all I'm saying. After all, you did deduct the way to the most-difficult Solar dos Leitões (to which you should return, for an ever better meal), so I'm not prepared to make it easy for you.

I hope this helps and that you all enjoy yourselves!

Love,

Miguel and Maria João

Edited by MiguelCardoso (log)
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Wow! You have outdone yourself (is that possible?), Miguel. Thanks. We are fired up and ready for a week of exploring and eating. Lucky we do a ton of walking - can't wait. Anything we can bring you from the US? We always pack up a box of things (my daughter orders lots of books), but food items tend to predominate. Like maple syrup and standing rib roasts. :rolleyes: I'm serious.

All the best, Molly

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That's how I know enough to be so jealous! Have a great trip!

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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  • 2 weeks later...

Reporting in from Lisbon - Hmmm, is this "vast quanities of dark chocolate" something we should know about?

We've had two great lunches to date. Our first was at Solar dos Nunes, a favorite and delightful neighborhood place. For starters there were wonderful little shrimp and cod cakes, fantastic roasted pepper strips, olives of course and an amazing little gooey round cheese. And excellent bread too. We sent away the plates of salami and ham which was difficult because we know how good they are. One can only eat so much after all. I followed with the daily special of grilled scabbard fish while the others shared fish soup - both fresh and delicious! The house red wine from Alentejo is quite nice. Yesterday we hit O Painel de Alcantara that has roast kid at lunch on Thursdays. Four of us shared three portions and couldn't begin to finish everything. The kid is falling-off-the-bone wonderful and the accompanying side dishes, especially the roasted potatoes, incredible. We shared two dishes of leite creme (sort of creme brulee ?), and then were served a special treat in honor of San Martino's day - boiled chestnuts and a pitcher of new wine. I wouldn't seek out the new wine again, but it was fun to take part in the celebration. We're heading out to Guincho today for seafood, and will try to find the secret fish restaurant in Setubal tomorrow!

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