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Lisbon Restaurants: Reviews & Recommendations


fredbram
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Long weekend of seafood.

We started Friday at Joao Padeiro in Guincho and were seated by the window just over the in-rushing surf. There couldn't be a more spectacular setting. We ordered the sole, which is truly perfect as advertised. Our waiter was skillful and charming - he filleted my sole with panache, and let my husband do his own without being affronted. We will certainly return on our next trip.

We had planned a weekend outing to Vila Nova de Milfontes, so it made sense to stop in Setubal and seek out O Batareo (tel:265 234548) for lunch on Saturday. And there we found it just at the end of a strip of restaurants near the ferry. The owner (son?) was working at the grill on the front porch and we watched as he roasted whole scallops in their shells sizzling in their juices over the hot fire. That was a treat we had to try. Never have I had scallops so fresh and perfectly prepared. Besides that we indulged ourselves with tiny clams cooked in olive oil with garlic and cilantro (we had to fight our 2 little granddaughters off to get any!), and 3 differnt grilled fish - dourada, cherne, and sole. All were impeccably fresh and cooked perfectly.

Returning to Lisbon on Sunday we stopped near Porto Covo at Restaurant A Ilha(tel:269 905113), on a promontory overlooking the beach and a rugged little island. Once again fresh fish was the feature, so we had grilled wild dourada and shared a spectacular cataplana of tamborill with clams and shrimp that was one of the best versions we've ever had. Wow!

Back in Lisbon we stopped in at O Galito at lunch time yesterday but found it full, so properly armed with reservations, we'll try again today.

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I have to go back. Your description of the scallops in particular sent me into a swoon.

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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Oh Molly, those scallops are our absolute favourites too... They don't always have them - I'm so glad you were lucky!

You really should open a Foodies' Detective Agency - your combined skills are amazing. I realize you have a strong local network of spies and scouts - the kind the CIA dream of having! - but it's the way you direct them in a pragmatic, no-nonsense way, obtaining results with seemingly no effort, that makes the team.

I'm running out of puzzles (but please don't benefit the world wide web with their phone numbers!) but I'm preparing a few for your next visit, with considerable prizes.

I can't deny a secret wish that at least one will floor you - an unfriendly thought but inspired by your proficiency. If you are unable to crack it (oh what joy!) I myself. as penance for harbouring such "schadenfreund", will spell out all the details - including here.

Do have the scrambled eggs with "farinheira" (a soft, floury pimento-flavoured sausage) when you go to Galito!

Thank you for your reports - I'd move to Portugal if I didn't already live here. :)

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Miguel, again thank you for your wonderful restaurant suggestions. We love the challenge of trying to find your little-known out-of-the-way secret places! If and when we find them, we're rewarded with a special meal. What could be better?

We did get to Galito for lunch on the second try and were glad we made the effort to go back. We had the daily specials for our main course - ensopada de borrego - lamb soup, in a clear broth, with chunks of lamb, bread and cilantro. Very tasty. I had tiny grilled lamb chops, accompanied by rice with parsley. Our starters had us a bit puzzled until I read your last post. One was a plate of what must have been "farinheira," little puffs of what seemed like sausage-flavored bread that are hard to stop eating. We also had fava beans with slices of a tasty dark sausage, and a salad of what we thought was shreds of turkey with onion and cilantro that turned out to be rabbit. All were unique and delicious. Instead of a sweet for dessert, we asked for cheese and were served a piece of serpa cheese accompanied by a slab of a sweet fruit paste. This was a wonderful combination of tastes and when I asked our server (Henrique?) what it was, he responded "You can't buy it; my mother makes it!" This is a lovely little restaurant and we will certainly return on our next visit to Lisbon.

For our final lunch, we decided to try the Mandarim in the casino in Estoril - for a complete change of pace. The setting is elegant, the service wonderful and the Chinese food very good. There were several groups of Chinese women feasting on dim sum so we followed their lead and our favorite dish was of dumplings stuffed with sweet, fresh shrimp - the best version of this I've ever had.

So now we're home again and facing the bleak prospect of paying for our sins - no more eating! Oh well, that's the price you pay.

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  • 1 month later...
  • 2 months later...

I will be in Lisbon from June 10-18. I have a meeting the afternoon of the 11th, but will be free for the remainder of the time. My friend and I would like to explore Lisbon, but also get out of the city to see the "real" Portugal. Our tentative plan is to head north along the coast, maybe up to Nazare and work our way back down to Lisbon and maybe south of the Tagus before we leave on the 18th. I have gotten a lot of great restaurant recommendations, especially those from Miguel. However, I would appreciate any insight as to what to see, where to eat, and where to stay in the north as well as south of the Tagus. I thought these areas would be best for sampling the best fish and seafood of the region, but I welcome any suggestions.

Thanks,

Jenny

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 4 weeks later...

We visit Portugal several times a year and have enjoyed many wonderful meals in Lisbon, as well as in the countryside. In Nazare, the grilled sardines are superb. We had them once in a restaurant on the plaza of the upper town (on the cliff looking down over the beach). Will try to get the name. The other time, we ate at one of the beach-side restaurants with tables outdoors. I think fresh sardines will be in season in June, and they are wonderful - just grilled - worth seeking out!

Another treat is to drive to the town of Negrais, not too far north of Lisbon, between the coast and the A8 Highway, which is famous for roast suckling pig. We went there for lunch and ate at one of several restaurants serving this specialty - an upstairs restaurant in the center of town. Really delicious!

I'll try to dig up better information for you. I see you've already checked out the past threads about eating in Lisbon which will give you some excellent suggestions.

Molly

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Thank you for the replies thus far. We have decided that our dinners will be in Cascais and Lisbon based on where we are staying. For the 2 nights in Cascais, I am thinking of going to:

- Beira Mar

- Restaurante O Pereira

For the other nights in Lisbon, these are on my list:

- Ramiro

- Solar dos Leitoes

- A Cabrita (Cacilhas)

- O Batareo

- O Coreto de Carnide (?)

- A Coutada (?)

- Solar dos Nunes(?)

I have found some information about these restaurants, but would greatly appreciate any opinions, favorite dishes, prices, thoughts, locations, nights closed, phone numbers, etc...regarding my choices. I leave the first week of June. Thanks in advance.

Jenny

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Ask and ye shall receive....

In Cascais:

Restaurante Beira-Mar (<-- link) -- Rua das Flores, No. 6. From the Cascais train station building, turn left as you exit, and continue across the traffic circle onto the street that will take you in the direction closest to a straight line as possible, one more block and left on Rua Frederico Arouca....Rua das Flores will be to the left. Tel: 214 827 380. Closed Tuesdays.

I never ate here, but I'm pretty sure it's on the expensive side.

Restaurante Pereira -- Rua da Bela Vista, No. 92. From the Cascais train station, head out straight ahead, and continue as straight ahead as possible, through the (different from above) traffic circle and still straight through the Jardim Visconde da Luz, hang a right and head up the hill on Rua da Bela Vista. Tel: 214 831 215. Closed Thursdays.

This was my favorite restaurant in Cascais (my favorite Portuguese restaurants tended to be the ones closest in spirit to dining with a family), and I can't tell you how many times I would forget and try to go there on a Thursday! If I were you I would try to go on a Friday or Saturday....in places like this (indeed, most Portuguese restaurants) your first consideration should be the pratos do dia (daily specials). Here, Friday's are entrecosto assado no forno (oven-roasted pork ribs) and feijoada à transmontana (a hearty stew of red beans and various pork products). Saturday they have my favorite Portuguese dish, galinha de cabidela (chicken stewed with giblets, then rice cooked in the stewing liquid, finished with chicken blood). The house specialty is arroz de pato (baked duck rice). Cheap.

In Lisbon, I'll stick to the ones I actually know:

Restaurante A Coutada -- Rua de Bempostinha, No. 18. Tel: 218 852 054. Closed Sundays. I've written about this place in about as much detail as I can at the moment on another eGullet thread, which can be found here (post #7). I seriously used to eat here at least once, and often twice, a week when I lived there, and it has the best quality/price ratio of any restaurant I know of in Lisbon. I also found out the English name of the fish used in the wonderful arroz de corvina: croaker, or meagre fish (that means exactly nothing to me....never encountered it here). It certainly is delicious as prepared by the Portuguese; I've also had it baked (or roasted) with vegetables.

O Coreto de Carnide -- Rua Neves Costa, No. 57 (in Carnide, near the metro station). Tel: 217 152 372. Closed Sunday. See the same thread as above.

Restuarante A Cabrita -- Rua Cândido dos Reis, 87. Tel: 212 751 780. According to the latest on-line Portuguese yellow pages listing, they are now closed on Wednesdays. For the rest, see the same thread as above. You'll be there at a good time to have sardinhas assadas....I'm envious.

If you still need more info about the others, a couple of good on-line sources of bare-bones data are a) Google, and b) Yellow Pages - Portugal. b) can be a little tricky to use, but generally the less information typed into the search fields, the better off you'll be getting results. The "English version" actually works pretty well (link at the bottom of the page). Go to "Advanced Search", pick one word in the restaurant name for "name", put "Restaurants" in "Activity", and "Lisbon" for "Location".

My restaurant blog: Mahlzeit!

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Eric,

Thank you for all of your suggestions. Do you have some other favorites that I have not listed in either Cascais or Lisbon? I too cannot wait to try the grilled sardines :biggrin:

Have you ever tried the gelato at Santini? Ice cream/gelato must always be part of my culinary tour!

Jenny

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Hmmm... other favorites. Well, if you have a car, I would highly recommend driving up the Estrada do Guincho from Cascais. The road runs along the coast, so the drive is beautiful, and there are loads of restaurants along the way. A mile or two before you get to Guincho, on the left, is a restaurant called Mestre Zé. Naturally, it specializes in seafood, but the cataplana de marisco is really spectacular... one of my favorite dishes in all of Portugal (theirs, not cataplana de marisco in general). Well worth the trip, and the high price tag--it is expensive. If you want to reserve (not absolutely necessary, but a good idea on weekends), telephone is 214 870 275.

Speaking of cataplana, that calls to mind another restaurant I have enjoyed very much....it's not the most spectacular cooking in the city, but it's very good. What's special about it is the setting, and you'll be going at the perfect time of year for it. It's tucked in a quiet praça in the Alfama district, and if you're eating at an outside table, it feels like you and your companions are in your very own time and space--it's difficult to explain, but at least the night I was there, it felt like its own reality somehow. They've put fairy lights around, which adds to the atmosphere. Now, normally I would roll my eyes at something like that, but here it's utterly charming. And the food is good....the cataplana de borrego (lamb stew cooked in a cataplana) I had was better than good. It's called Lautasco, Beco do Azinhal, 7. Tel: 218 860 173 (it's a good idea to reserve).

My best suggestion for finding wonderful things to enjoy while you're in Portugal, however, is the following (I don't know how well you know the workings of the site, so forgive me if I'm stating the obvious):

1) find a post by Miguel Cardoso

2) click on his name to view his Member Profile

3) click on the "Find member's posts" link, and

4) read every post of his having to do with Portugal. His posts are crammed with wonderful insights, recommendations, and just great tidbits of information I would have never learned any other way.

I have never even heard of Santini, which only means that it did not exist before 1997, which is the year I moved back to the States from Lisbon. And since I've only been back 4 or 5 times since then, I've never run across it....somehow it never occurred to me to go looking for gelato in Portugal!

My restaurant blog: Mahlzeit!

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If I did things correctly, here is a link to additional information on a couple of the restaurants you're interested in in Lisbon: http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showto...ndpost&p=576896. Solar dos Nunes is in the neighborhood where we stay and we've eaten there many times and love it. I'm sure you must have read earlier posts about eating in Lisbon so I don't want to repeat information you already have. That said, if you get out to Cascais and Guincho, I strongly recommend Joao Padeiro on the beach in Guincho (21 487 1007) for the Linquado de Cascais. Sit by the front windows with the surf rushing in below you and enjoy the best sole you've ever eaten! Not inexpensive. And, when you visit the monastery in Belem, be sure to stop at the Antiqua Confeitaria de Belem for Pasteis de Belem - the wonderful little custards in pastry sprinkled with powdered sugar and cinnamon. They're addictive! We'll be in Lisbon and the Algarve the last week in May and will post any new discoveries when we return. :smile: Molly

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I spent a few years in Portugal while growing up (OK I'm not finished growing up...) and thought I'd mention how magical the SINTRA is, an area where the monarchy escaped to avoid the heat of summer in centuries past.

I am clueless as to places to eat up there however. Enjoy your trip!

"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II

Portland Food Map.com

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  • 1 month later...

I just realized I lied in one of my posts above....my favorite restaurant in Caiscais is not, in fact, Restaurante Pereira, but Ginginha Transmontana. I don't how it slipped my mind before--perhaps because it's not in the center of Caiscais or near the water, but inland in a residential section called Alvide (Rua de Alvide, 366). It's a rather long, uphill walk from the center of Cascais, so it's best to take a cab (they're cheap)....if there is any question about the address, direct the cab driver to the Largo das Fontainhas. It's a tiny place (best to call ahead and reserve--214 832 655), with décor best described as "funky" (more like someone's garage sale or junk-filled basement). When you sit down, they will automatically bring you their house white wine and the house appetizer, mussels that have been steamed with white wine, onions, garlic, chouriço, and bacon. Accept them. They specialize in meats and seafood "grelhado na telha", or grilled on a roofing tile. They set up a piece of terra cotta roofing tile on a salver on which to grill filet mignons the size of softballs, lobster, squid, shrimp, fish, etc. over flaming aguardente (brandy). When it is brought to the table, garlic butter is liberally applied, and, in the case of seafood, lemon, to douse the flames. They also do a killer chanfana (kid goat stewed with red wine, onions, chouriço). It'll run you about 35-40 Euros a head, and well worth it. Closed Sundays.

johnnyd is absolutely right--Sintra IS truly magical. I think the glowing phrases Lord Byron wrote about it are still true almost two centuries later.

The obligatory food experience in Sintra is the pastry shop Casa da Piriquita (R. Padarias 1, right across the street from the Paço Real with its huge, conical chimneys). It's famous for its queijadas--small, sweet, cheese-and-egg tarts, but my favorite offering there is the travesseiros--a variation on the perpetual pastry-with-sweetened-egg theme, but this has a lighter, flakier pastry and lighter hand with the sweetened eggs than most. They're baked with a dusting of cinnamon and granulated sugar....warm from the oven, they are heavenly.

If you want a real meal in Sintra, just a couple of doors up the from Piriquita is an excellent and reasonably priced restaurant, Alcobaça. As always with such places, I say peruse the pratos do dia--they usually ain't the daily specials for nothing!

My restaurant blog: Mahlzeit!

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Eric,

Thanks for the update on Ginginha Transmontana. I am debating now on where to go for my two meals in Cascais... Pereira, Biera Mar and Ginginha Transmontana. What are your thoughts? During my stay my goal is to try and consume mostly fish/seafood and all the varieties not available in the states...especially Wisconsin! I am leaving a week from Thursday, so any additional information is greatly appreciated. Your posts have been wonderful to read. Thanks again.

Jenny

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If it is seafood you want, I would definitely not miss Mestre Zé (up the Estrada do Guincho about 10 minutes by car from Cascais....it sounds like you'll have a car). Their cataplana do marisco is probably my favorite restaurant dish in Portugal, and this from someone who feels deprived if his meal doesn't include a sizable slab of something almost bleeding! I really love Ginginha Transmontana, but their seafood offerings are very mainstream....the preparation is memorably good. Restaurante Pereira is very much an every-day, family kind of a place, and the food is high quality. So it depends, I suppose, on what you're in the mood for.

In four years of living in the area, I never heard a thing about Beira Mar, which I find quite suggestive. I would just drive up the coast a few kilometers instead!

My restaurant blog: Mahlzeit!

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We had a delightful trip, but spent the bulk of our time in the eastern Algarve where we feasted daily on fresh grilled fish and wonderful shellfish mixtures - Catalplana, Arroz de Mariscos. I'm thinking that you won't be in that area so will not get into restaurant names there.

However, we tried out a new(to us) restaurant in Lisbon that we loved - went there our first night and last night. It's called Churrasqueira do Sacramento or Casa Toscano (which I don't understand. Sounds Italian which it's not.) Rua do Sacramento (a Alcantara) 74/76, Tel: 21 396 8633. Closed Sunday. This is a very simple, small, informal restaurant that specializes in grilled fresh fish. You can see what they have in the counter and they grill it right in the front window. It was served with a nice fresh lettuce and tomato salad and boiled potatoes with olive oil. Everything delicious!! And very reasonably priced! Another restaurant we like in the Alcantara area is O Painel de Alcantara, Rua do Arco (a Alcantara) 7-13, Tel: 21 396 5920, closed Sunday. It gets very crowded; should reserve. They serve traditional Portuguese dishes, very well prepared (and copious). Have enjoyed the arroz de mariscos and baked kid. Also very reasonable. Daily specials always good. As usual, we had a lunch at Solar dos Nunes which I've described before, and it continues to be a top favorite. Be sure to ask for the menu in Portuguese and check the daily specials. A truly lovely and tranquil restaurant that is mentioned in most guides is Conventual. We have had 2 lunches there that were superb. We think it's one of the best restaurants in Lisbon and for such a delightful setting and exceptional food it is not exhorbitantly expensive. It' in the Estrela area, Tel: 213 909 246.

By the way, don't miss trying some of the wonderful Portuguese cheeses. Some of the top ones are: Azeitao, Serpa and Serra. They are often served in restaurants either as starters or as dessert courses and will be in perfect condition. A real treat! We always buy several to bring home. The department store El Corte Ingles has a great food store on the lower level where we always shop, but there are also lots of specialty deli-type stores around too.

Have a wonderful trip. It's going to be warm! You could call my daughter if you have questions while you're there. PM me if you'd like her number. Molly

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Molly,

So glad to hear you had a wonderful vacation. I appreciate the suggestions for dining in Lisbon. When you bring back cheese do you have it vaccum packed? I have always heard that it is so difficult to bring back dairy products from Europe which is why I never have in the past. Thanks again.

Jenny

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Re bringing back cheese: I usually throw several good-sized zip lock bags in my suitcase and find they work well for carrying cheese. That's what we used returning from Portugal and they came through fine. I have had cheese vacuum packed when we've travelled in Italy. I don't think it was an option at the shop where we bought our cheese recently. By the way, don't try to bring home meat products (even though they are sold in airport shops and are very tempting). US Customs will confiscate them! Cheese luckily is not a problem.

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  • 3 months later...

Molly,

Sorry for such a delay inresponding. My brother got married as soon as I returned and then I changed jobs so things have been a little crazy! My trip was wonderful all the suggestions were great...only one bad night and that was not based on any of the advice from this board. We had amazingly delicious, simple dinners at Gambrius (an assortment of everything...business dinner!), Restaurante Coutada (arroz de corvina and tamboril skewer), O Painel de Alcantara (Hake and Arroz de Garoupa) and Solar dos Nunes(Tamboril skewer and arroz de mariescos) in Lisbon; A Cabrita (Sardinas Assadas...best ever, grilled cuttlefish) in Cacilhas; Restaurante Pereira (Grilled Dorado, Grilled Sea Bass) in Cascais and am happy to report a new find in Cascais...Restaurante Viriato. We had a delicious grilled seafood sampler...more that we could eat (enough for 3!) The service was excellent and prices were reasonable. The address is Av. Vasco da Gama 34. One of our favorite meals of the trip!

Thank you so much for the suggestion to go to El Corte Ingles. I brought home some Azeitao and Serra...unique and truly delicious for fans of strong, nutty cheese. Once again, I appreciate all the advice. If you want more info, just let me know.

Oh, the pastis de belem are truly amazing...must come from the true shop!

Best,

Jenny

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