Well we have only been in Portugal five days and we have already experienced an amazing array of fabulous, fresh and delicious foods. And one dud.
We have a great kitchen in our Airbnb but except for yogurt and beer the fridge is bare. I think I will cook tonight. It’s just been too tempting to explore the dining scene in Lisbon. And explore we have! Like famished wolves.
If you plan to be in Lisbon and the surrounding area take note. I highly recommend checking out these
El Rei d’Frango – we waited twenty minutes for a table at this tiny hole in the wall place specializing in “Frango” chicken. It was very inexpensive and very delicious. They have other items in the menu too but we really enjoyed the Frango Frito (fried chicken) and the Frango Bras – a Portuguese specialty of chicken with Cod. A must visit. Thanks to my friend Donna for the recommendation.
Canto de Villa Bistro – while exploring the old town area of Alfama we randomly chose this restaurant
and had a spectacular lunch or Portuguese specials. We enjoyed a bean and vegetable soup, a bean and ham hash with egg as well as a Cod bras. A perfect way to test the waters as we get to know the local cuisine.
Bacalhau Na Villa – we spent a day in Sintra we wanted a light lunch before we climbed the mountain to the palace. I was headed to a touristy place near the center but Erik insisted we wander
back in the narrow alleys and look for something. Good idea. We found this restaurant specializing in Cod. Amazing. Cod is a staple in
Portugal , even though the Cod they eat comes from Norway and Canada. There is no locally caught Cod and there never has been. It’s very interesting that it is such a staple. We had a wonderful meal including Octopus salad, chickpea salad, Cod bras and green salad with crispy Cod skin. We loved it.
Our best meal hands down so far was at Cervejaria Ramiro just two blocks from our Airbnb. Expect to wait for a table but it’s worth it. This popular
restaurant is considered by the locals as Lisbon’s best. And Anthony Bourdain agrees when he was here a few years ago. Bourdain’s endorsement has brought the tourists to eat with the locals but the
food and service remains stellar. Lucky for us we were dining with a local, a friend of Erik’s names Salvador who lives in Lisbon. We gave him free-reign to order for us and with abandon.
We started with small shrimps followed by sweet tiny steamed clams. Next was a spectacular whole crab served with a soup made from the crab guts.
Sounds gross? I couldn’t get enough. One of the most delicious and unique things I’ve ever had. Next we ate giant tiger prawns and for some reason it’s tradition to end the seafood meal with a small beef sandwich. I could eat that beautiful beef sandwich everyday for the
rest of my life.
After all this I declined dessert but Erik and Salvador enjoyed a lime vodka ice cream. The beer flows freely here and bread too. They keep bringing both unless you tell them to stop. A great local experience and meal. Don’t miss it when in Lisbon.
Organi Chiado – this was another recommendation from a friend, Scott who was here just last month,
so we checked it out. Recently opened this organic place is making a name for itself with its incredible fresh and healthy offerings. The menu changes each day and is pretty small, but really good. We loved the tuna and the fish cake both served with green salad, grilled veg and brown rice. We also tried the carrot and coconut soup and the gluten-free rice bread was excellent. If the weather is good sit outside.
Unfortunately I have one thumbs down – our most expensive meal was the worst. Clube de Fado was a huge and expensive mistake. The music was
delicious, the food was not. My veal chop was like shoe leather and completely lacking seasoning. For $33 Euro it was unacceptable. There are many, many places to enjoy the beautiful Fado music- find somewhere other than Clube de Fado.
So if you are going to be in Lisbon, be ready to eat local and enjoy this fabulous cuisine of Portugal. I plan to take a cooking class when we get to Algarve next week so watch for that blog coming soon!
Feed me! Fabulous!