May 5, 2013 § Leave a Comment
We get asked this question all the time: I was in Lisbon once but didn’t have a chance to go to the Algarve; is it worthwhile going? Of course it is!
You can get a taste of the Algarve in Lisbon. Faz Gostos, a restaurant from Olhão, has an outpost in the capital that offers a wide array of delicious southern food: clam soup, seafood rice, grilled razor clams, and roasted octopus. They have inexpensive special menus and a list of wines that are great values.
There’s only one downside of dining at Faz Gostos. You might get a sudden, irresistible urge to change your travel plans and head to the south of Portugal!
Faz Gostos is on Rua Nova da Trindade 11 H/K, Lisbon, tel. 213 472 249 . Click here for the restaurant’s website.
March 11, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Fernand Point’s famous cookbook, Ma Gastronomie, includes two mackerel recipes. But in Portugal this fish, known as “cavala,” has never been popular. When fish mongers find mackerel mixed with other fish, they often give it away.
We worry that our national indifference toward the mackerel might make it swim to France in search of recognition. Luckily, chef José Avillez decided to pay tribute to this wonderful fish at his restaurant, Belcanto. His recipe starts with a traditional “salmoura”: the fish is soaked in water, salt and sugar. It is then sliced and marinated in an infusion of rice vinegar and green apples. Finally, the mackerel is seared and served with delicately pickled vegetables.
If you go to Belcanto, please order this delicious dish. Help us keep the mackerel on the Portuguese coast!
Belcanto is located at Largo de S. Carlos, 10 in Lisbon. Tel. 213-420-607.
February 25, 2013 § 1 Comment
Portuguese cuisine is definitely slow food. You have to wait for the fish to grill, the clams to open, the meat to roast, or the shrimp to cook. If you’re in a hurry, Portuguese cafés offer a wide array of finger foods to eat on the go: tasty codfish cakes (bolos de bacalhau), delicious small pies (empadas), crunchy paninis (tostas mistas), and much more.
But, if you’re in need of something quick and more substantial, try a Portuguese hamburger chain called H3. They cook to order delicious hamburgers made with great ingredients. Start with the wonderful “croquetes de alheira” as a appetizer. Then, choose one of the many burger configurations, with toppings ranging from mushrooms to foie gras. You’ll see why this fast-food chain is growing so fast.
Click here for the H3 website (choose “onde estamos” to see a list of locations). One of the most popular H3 restaurants is near Chiado on Avenida Liberdade, 182.
January 14, 2013 § 2 Comments
The Portuguese do not like to divulge their favorite neighborhood restaurants, so we’re violating social norms by telling you about Salsa & Coentros (parsley and coriander). It is a delightful restaurant in Lisbon’s Alvalade neighborhood which serves food from the Alentejo and Trás-os-Montes provinces.
Dining at Salsa & Coentros is like visiting a friend who makes wonderful meals with local ingredients such as míscaros (wild mushrooms), cação (dogfish), partridges, wild asparagus, black pig, and fresh octopus.
If you become a regular visitor to Portugal, you’re likely to meet friends who are great home cooks. Until then, you can enjoy the traditional cuisine of Portugal at Salsa & Coentros.
Salsa e Coentros is located at Rua Coronel Marques Leitão, n. 12, Lisbon. Tel. 218410990.
October 15, 2012 § Leave a Comment
Paparico, in Oporto, looks like the kind of restaurant that uses recipes passed from a shepherd’s mouth to a shepherd’s ear. Any lingering doubts about the rustic nature of this eatery are assuaged as you enter and see the granite walls and heavy decor.
But, when the food arrives, it becomes clear that the chef has traveled the world to learn the art of cooking. We take a bite and our taste buds scintillate with the certainty that no shepherd ever cooked food that tastes this good.
Paparico does not try to redefine traditional Portuguese cuisine. It seeks to refines it in discrete, clever, wonderfully delicious ways.
O Paparico, Rua de Costa Cabral, 2343 Oporto, tel. 225400548. Click here for Paparico’s website.
September 10, 2012 § 1 Comment
One of the simple pleasures of Portuguese cuisine is roasted chicken with piri-piri, a spicy sauce made with peppers that came originally from Africa.
Frango da Guia, a small roasted chicken, is very popular in the Algarve. But the best roasted chicken we have ever had is from Frango Saloio, a tiny take-out place in the municipal market of the town of Lourinhã, 70 km north of Lisbon. You see no tourists there, only locals who wait while their chicken is cooked to perfection over red-hot coals. Lines can be long during the Summer, so please don’t tell anyone about this place!
Frango Saloio is located in Mercado Municipal, Loja 2, Lourinhã, tel. 917 272 385.
July 26, 2012 § 1 Comment
Looks can be deceiving. Adega S. Nicolau, a restaurant in the Ribeira area of Oporto, has no celebrity chef or design furniture. But it serves amazing food: grilled fish, fried sardines, roasted codfish, fried octopus, and much more. The star of the menu is the “posta de vitela arouquesa” a steak of veal from Arouca seared to perfection, the best we have ever had.
Everything on the menu follows traditional recipes, but the food is hard to imitate. It takes enormous confidence to trust the quality of the ingredients and let them shine through simple preparations. It is this confidence that Adega S. Nicolau has been building since 1930.
Adega S. Nicolau, R. São Nicolau, 1, Ribeira, Oporto. Tel. 222-008-232.
July 6, 2012 § 2 Comments
Casa Aleixo’s granite walls have welcomed diners for over one hundred years. This restaurant was first a “tasca,” a place that serves cheap wine and snacks. When it changed hands, in the 1950s, the new owners perfected a small menu of dishes prepared with the best ingredients they could find in the Póvoa do Varzim market. The quality and consistency of the food quickly attracted a loyal following.
Aleixo’s owners use whimsical names to describe different parts of the restaurant: lab for the kitchen, surgery room for the dining room, pharmacy for the wine cellar, and torture chamber for the cashier.
At Aleixo you can eat perfect laminated octopus, tender whitefish fillets, and succulent roasted veal. And, since prices are reasonable, you can go through the torture chamber without enduring much pain.
Casa Aleixo, Rua Estação 216, Oporto, Tel. 225 370 462.
May 21, 2012 § 1 Comment
It happens to the best of us. You are in Lisbon, enjoying the fresh fish and the wonderful seafood when, suddenly, you have a craving for pizza! There’s no need to rush to the airport and fly to Naples. You can satisfy your longing for Italian food in Lisbon.
In the 1970s, Maria Paola Porru moved from Italy to Portugal to study cinema. Years later, she opened Casanostra, a restaurant in Bairro Alto, planning to go back to the movie industry once she made some money. But the restaurant was so successful that she continued to run it while working as a sound engineer in several motion pictures.
A few years ago, Porru opened the Pizzeria Casanova in a beautiful location by the Tagus river. The Pizzeria does not accept reservations and there is often a long line. It is here that young people go to see and be seen because, while they wait for some of the best pizza on this side of the Tiber, they feel they’re in a movie.
Restaurante Casanostra, Travessa do Poço da Cidade, nº 60, Bairro Alto, Lisboa, tel. 21 342 59 31, email Italma@sapo.pt. Restaurante Casanova, Avenida Infante Dom Henrique Cais da Pedra à Bica do Sapato, Loja 7, Lisboa, tel. 218877532. In 2010 Porru opened Pizza Pezzi, a take-out pizzaria in Rua Dom Pedro V, 84 (Príncipe Real), Lisbon, tel. 93 456 3170.
May 7, 2012 § Leave a Comment
The name is a play on words. “Cem maneiras” means one-hundred ways. But trade the “c” for an “s,” and you get “sem maneiras,” which means without etiquette. Both expressions hint at what makes this tiny restaurant in Lisbon’s Bairro Alto so special. Yugoslavian chef Ljubomir Stanisic is a magician who combines traditional Portuguese ingredients in inventive ways. But his restaurant is not one of those culinary temples where diners must eat in reverent silence, heads bowed in a show of appreciation for the chef’s genius. The atmosphere at 100 Maneiras is unpretentious, and the only important etiquette rule is that guests have some great gourmet fun.
Restaurante 100 Maneiras, Rua do Teixeira, 35, Bairro Alto, tel. 910 307 575, email: email@example.com. Click here for 100 Maneiras’ web site.