Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Portugal Restaurants: Reviews & Recommendations


tsquare
 Share

Recommended Posts

It's certainly worthwhile checking old threads and doing a search. I can't emphasize the need to see what's already been said each time someone asks about an area here. Some of the best and strongest recommendations will come from people who have just returned from an area or from locals who have just had a terrific meal. Months later, they're not going to write as thoroughly in response to a question.

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Can you specify what area you'll be visiting? Lisbon, Algarve, Oporto, etc... ?

At this point, we're flexible. Flying into Lisbon and moving on from there. We have about 9 days and we're trying to figure out if we should pick two areas to stay in (eliminating packing and unpacking constantly) and just see what's reasonable to see from each point. That's what we did in Tuscany and since we had a kitchen, we were also able to visit markets and cook. Is that a reasonable thing to do in Portugal? I love to go to the markets and hate it when I can't cook!

jb

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Any recommendations in Portugal or elsewhere from Miguel Cardoso are worth noting. He turned me on to Ramiro in Lisbo, an awesome place for shellfish.

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

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

Years ago for vacation, my parents settled on Estoril at this place:

Estalagem Belverde ****

Rua Dr. António Martins, 8 - 2765 Estoril - Portugal

Phone: (+351) 214.660.208 - Fax: (+351) 214.671.433

Rooms: 16

From here, we explored the immediate area, Cascais, Sintra, Lisboa, then took longer trips to the North and the Algarve. We stayed about two months. They served a traditional dinner which was delicious. They had a beautiful garden too. Just a thought.

"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

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 5 months later...

We were to vacation here in the states in November, but have been hurricaned out!

We are now thinking about exploring Portugal, which we have never done...but need to figure it out ASAP...

I think flying to Lisbon and going up the coast (train or car?) ending in Porto region would be a great trip.

Is it? Any advice? We would have about 10 days so that may be pushing it...

I have printed 3-4 great threads on dining in Portugal (but they seem mostly Lisbon)...

Any thoughts, ideas, recommendations would be greatly appreciated!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

By all means, go to Portugal(although it has been suffering from a natural disaster of a different sort--drought).

I don't know anything about the train system, but I know Lisbon alone is worth a visit of several days and we spent several days in the mid-eighties poking around the area between Lisbon and Coimbra and didn't regret a moment of it. Some of the places worth visiting outside of Lisbon are Sintra, Obidos, Peniche and Santarem. Southeast of Lisbon, I'd recommend Setubal. Some of these places, I imagine, are accessible by rail.

Unfortunately, the passage of time would make any restaurant recommendations outdated, even if I could recall the names of the places we ate.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You won't regret the trip, if you have half as good a time as I did in 2003 (spring.) My only regrets were flying in and out of Lisbon so that I was backtracking, and not eating roast pig in the town outside of Coimbra, Mealhada.

I trained it all, except a very long overnight bus from Porto to Faro, in the Algarve. Trains were quite easy. But driving would give you an edge, though the story is that if you are involved in an accident, the non-Portuguese citizen is always at fault. Streets can be very narrow and winding.

Go to Sintra. Spend more than a day if you can, especially if you like gardens and palaces, and walking.

Go to the Bucaco forest east of Coimbra, perhaps the most special place I've ever visited. It is even good in the rain.

The long and slow train ride into the far Northeast wine region was less than thrilling, though interesting. Very old world, but quiet.

I didn't get to Obidos, but a friend loved it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've been meaning to add my two cents here, and luckily tsquare jarred loose a few memories.

First of all, if renting a car is not too expensive for you, do it. You'll be happy to have the extra freedom. Planning your life around train and bus schedules, while fun at first, can get really irritating after a while. And there so many great spots that are all but inaccessible by public transport.

I, myself, don't have all that many recommendations for the coast. Like tsquare said, don't miss Sintra. And if you drive up the coast from Cascais to Guincho, don't miss Mestre Zé (I posted about it here). A bit further north from Sintra on the coast, Ericeira is an interesting fishing town. As I remember, the restaurant with the best view was also the one that was supposed to have the best food...not much to go on, I realize.

Unless you're going north of Porto along the coast (I love Viana do Castelo in particular), I tend to prefer the mountains, anyway--most Portuguese coastal towns are kind of trashy (I mean that in a good way!). And that's where the car really comes in handy. As tsquare mentioned, DEFINITELY eat suckling pig in Mealhada (Pedro dos Leitões used to have the best reputation, although I have to admit at this point it's been a while). And from there, I suggest heading inland toward the Serra da Estrela mountains. Tsquare is so right about the Buçaco forest--it's an almost magical place. From there, head east on N-234--shortly before you get to Nelas, there's a truly wonderful old hotel in Canas do Senhorim called Hotel Urgeiriça (have a look at their website here). In off-season, it's a real bargain considering how beautiful the hotel, grounds and setting are...I had the most wonderful view of rolling hills, forests and mountains from my balcony on which, had it been a bit warmer, I could have had breakfast with twenty of my closest friends.

Nearby Nelas--a small town with labyrinthine streets--is where I found the restaurant Os Antonios. It is a restaurante tipico, with a relaxed, traditional decor (gleaming white walls with dark wooden beams), and outstanding traditional food. Unfortunately, I only had one meal there, and I was alone, but I hit the jackpot with costeletas de porco em vinha d'alhos, com arroz de fiejao. The dish turned out to be a cousin of the region's famous chanfana (a stew of kid goat or lamb that has been simmered in red wine)--it was pork spare ribs which had been simmered in an earthenware pot with red wine, garlic, onion, chourico (for my money, the Beira Alta makes the best chourico in Portugal), and slab bacon, accompanied by a pot of arroz de feijao--slightly soupy rice with red beans (and a bit of chourico and bacon for good measure!). An extremely unsubtle, robust local red wine was the perfect accompaniment. This is, obviously, very heavy, rustic fare--not for the faint of heart! (I suppose it is possible to find lighter items...I just never seem to remember to look for them!)

The Hotel Urgeiriça also has the inestimable advantage of putting you within striking distance of the restaurant where I had probably my most memorable meal in four years of living in, and several trips to, Portugal--O Albertino in Folgosinho. I posted about it here.

Other miscellany which tsquare's post brought to mind.... Obidos is lovely--good for a half-day trip at the most. Forget about memorable food here--best food I ever found was a bifana at an ancient-looking (but definitely full of character) bar. And if you're at all interested in the Knights of Templar, don't miss Tomar. I posted about some of my other favorite food trips in this general part of the country here.

I personally loved the train ride east of Porto, to Peso da Régua. Slow, yes, but incredibly beautiful country. The drive between Vila Real and Penafiel, through Amarante, is pretty wonderful, too.

My restaurant blog: Mahlzeit!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A car is a good suggestion if in the budget. Lisbon is worth as much time as you can afford. Lots to see and do. Eat some Frango, go listen to some FADO. We loved the north coast above Oporto around Ofir. Many great beaches and seafood restaurants. Coimbra is great. Luso is a nice smaller town nearby the Bucuao Forest which as already mentioned is a very special place. Evora is a great university town with lots of ancient culture and great places to eat. Lots of little squares here and there.

David West

A.K.A. The Mushroom Man

Founder of http://finepalatefoods.com/

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...
  • 7 months later...

I've just completed the final booking details for honeymoon in Portugal from Oct. 31 thru Nov. 9. The first half is to be spent in Sintra area (staying two nights at the Convento de São Saturnino near Cabo da Roca and two nights at Casa Miradouro in Sintra) and the second half in the Lagos area (staying at Vila Valverde) exploring the Algarve. My wife-to-be, while enjoying a good meal, does not get nearly the same excitement from it as I do and therefore we won't be blowing our budget on many fine-dining meals though I'm sure we'll splurge once or twice! So what I'm looking for are recommendations for good renditions of tradional Portugese fare and a couple of places worth spending the extra money on in these areas (note: we will likely have a car so we will be mobile and not confined to these immediate areas). I have seen some other threads offering suggestions but nothing too recent so I don't know if the rec's still apply. I look forward to any suggestions!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've just completed the final booking details for honeymoon in Portugal from Oct. 31 thru Nov. 9.  The first half is to be spent in Sintra area (staying two nights at the Convento de São Saturnino near Cabo da Roca and two nights at Casa Miradouro in Sintra) and the second half in the Lagos area (staying at Vila Valverde) exploring the Algarve.  My wife-to-be, while enjoying a good meal, does not get nearly the same excitement from it as I do and therefore we won't be blowing our budget on many fine-dining meals though I'm sure we'll splurge once or twice!  So what I'm looking for are recommendations for good renditions of tradional Portugese fare and a couple of places worth spending the extra money on in these areas (note: we will likely have a car so we will be mobile and not confined to these immediate areas).  I have seen some other threads offering suggestions but nothing too recent so I don't know if the rec's still apply.  I look forward to any suggestions!!

http://www.guinchotel.pt/english/

http://www.portosantamaria.com/

Both restaurant are in the same area, just 15 minutes driving from Cabo da Roca.

Moderate price , good restaurants, you will find in Ericeira, small fishing village.

Restaurante Furnas, with very good fish .

Telf 261 86 48 70

In the village of Cascais, Restaurante 100 maneiras telf 214835394

Restaurante O Pereira ( cheap ) telf. 214 831 215

60 miles south of Cabo da Roca, http://www.quintadecatralvos.com/ Gourmet restaurant ( molecular style). Price with wines 50 euros pp.

Edited by PauloR (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks Paulo!! I did notice you providing most of those suggestions in the Lisbon thread but wasn't sure about distances between locations...good to know they are all relatively nearby.

It seems this region certainly has more gastronomic offerings than the Algarve, or at least more than I've been able to find from various sources. A couple of places that at least sounded interesting there are:

GIGI PRAIA

Praia da Quinta do Lago, Almancil

and

JARDIM DAS OLIVEIRAS

Sítio do Porto Escuro, Monchique

Does anybody have any thoughts on these places or alternatives??

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

I am just back from the area and my vote goes for Fortaleza do Guincho. The staff was so friendly (and this was a difference with 100 Maneiras) and the ambience so relaxed that I think it was our best meal of the year. We had the Menú d'Eté along with a very nice bottle of an Encruzado white wine. I've tried to post some pictures along with this post but have not succeeded. Sorry.

The staff at 100 Maneiras was not as friendly and, while one of the starters was great (a codfish over a tomato in brunoise salad), the other was not (an impossible mix of sea scallops perfectly cooked that were overshadowed by the power of wild mushrooms). And then, the Cascais red mackerel with bivalves paste was correctly written in the menu since it only featured a small red mackerel in two tiny fillets and a huge amount of mussels paste. At 21 euros I felt it was overpriced (or under-redmackereled). The ice-creams plate was astonishingly good and a better dessert than the one at Fortaleza do Guincho.

Price between both restaurants was comparable (we paid 130 euros at Guincho and 110 at 100 Maneiras with 50% of the difference due to a more expensive wine at Guincho).

For a classic view of Portuguese cooking (which I have enjoyed A LOT) I suggest Beira Mar at Cascais. We had two dinners in the terrace, one with the old-time-classic hake fillets with clams rice (GREAT hake fillets, reheated rice) and another one with plain grilled sea bass.

Thanks to all that provided relevant information on the "3 days on Lisbon" thread.

P.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

Check out this review in Atlantic on Vila Lisa not too far from Lagos:(http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200111/kummer). We ate there several years ago and it was fun, also inexpensive and food quite good. It's a bit hard to find and barely marked, but you could manage I'm sure. Check for restaurant reviews in this forum by Miguel Cardoso. He is right on! In Guincho, we've enjoyed Joao Padeiro for sole, which is extraordinary if somewhat expensive. Portugal is delightful. Have a wonderful time!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the additional responses and recommendations...they all sound wonderful...as the date gets closer, I'm getting increasingly excited about our stay in Portugal. Interestingly, I had just read somewhere else about Vila Lisa and had made a note of it, so its good to see it also has the backing of at least one of the contibutors here!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 months later...

Back from my honeymoon in Portugal where we had a wonderful time. Thanks to all for the recommendations. While the culinary highlights weren't as memorable as trips to other locations, there were certainly a number of standouts.

Foremost among them was dinner at Fortaleza do Guincho. As others have commented, the food was excellent and the service even better. Had a delicious goose liver starter, followed by sea bass and a chocolate dessert to end all chocolate desserts (which my wife declared to be too rich for her, but not for me!! :biggrin: ).

Our other meals were far more modest and the only ones that really stood out were our complimentary breakfast at Vila Valverde in Luz which went above and beyond the standard meats and cheeses with its variety of those but also wonderful produce and delicious salmon and a traditional dinner at a restaurant in the Bairro Alto in Lisbon whose name suddenly escapes me - but it was a wonderful rendition of pork and clams.

Unfortunately, a couple of recommended places were closed on the days of our visits, but that's all the more reason to return!

One final note, is that we made it to the Chocolate Festival in Obidos where we spent a couple of hours alternatingly sampling and drooling!

Edited by jason32 (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Vila Valverde in Luz

Wow, things have changed around Luz. My family built a small house between Luz and Burgau in the 70's and lived there for 15 years. Luz was my playground as a teenager. I was a bar-back at "A Concha", owned by Billy Stiff from La Jolla CA. It was the only restaurant on the beach beside the sardine and chicken grill that would set up in the sand in the summer. Many memories! Looks like quite the spot now, thanks for heads-up jason32! :wub:

"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

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...