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Restaurants & Bars Spain/Portugal Trip Report

Portugal Trip Report

suzieq4 | | Oct 30, 2012 08:22 PM

We had a wonderful time in Portugal. The food was fabulous.

On Friday, after we arrived, we had lunch at Restaurant Estrela da Se in the Alfama. I had Bacalhan A Bras which is a traditional dish with bits of cod and eggs and my husband had Pasteis of Bacalhan Arroz Esalada which was cod balls with a salad.

We went to Assinatura on Friday night and had the 5 courses with wine pairings. The restaurant was very modern. The decor was very soothing and the service was great. I did not take alot of notes since the waiter promised to send me via email a menu. (My mistake since they have not responded to my emails) I will share my sketchy notes. We first had an amuse which was white asparagus soup with morels and oysters in a cream sauce with foam. It was wonderful. Our first course was a fish course which I did not write down but it was very good. Our second course was clams (coggles) with a tomato sauce with bread soaked in milk. It was exceptional. The third course was cod with shrimp and it was very good. The main course was pheasant in a red wine reduction. It was okay but not exeptional. The dessert was wonderful. It ws a pastry with lemon ice cream and a mango cookie. They served a sauterne with it that was wonderful. I also had a Post Script de Chrysera Savigonon Blanc 2010 (3 varieties) from the Doro that was excellent with some of the fish dishes. I also had a Malavesia which was also good.

On Saturday we went for breakfast to Confesitaria Nacional and had the Nate pastry and an almond pastry called an Empada. On Saturday afternoon we went to Belem and had the original Pastel de Nata, which was still warm. Wow!!!! Wish I lived in Belem. We also ate at Restaurante Os Jermimos which is on the main street.. I had clams which was so so but my husband had sea bass Nazare. He had two sea bass for lunch with the wonderful sauce of paprika and vinegar as well as vegetables. I helped him clean his plate.

On Saturday night, we went to Alma and had another wonderful meal. We had the 4 course meal with wine pairings. The amuse was a scallop with orange and mint with brocilli. It was very good. Our first appetizer was marinated horse mackerel filets in a rustic coriander sauce and lemon oil. It was fantastic. We had a 3B Rose Bairada with both of those. Then we had a roasted fillet of grouper with brown butter, white asparagus and mussel risotto secented with lemon. We had a Azeo 2011 Douro with that. The main entree was grilled iberian pork medallions with turnips, apple and potato puree, pear chutney and thyme juice. It was excellent. We had a Papa Figos 2010 Douro with that. We were then given a brazilian lime sorbet to clear our pallets. And the dessert was a white chocolate "pannacotta" with poached pineapple and almond foam. It was served with a Taylor Reserva Port 2005, The meal was fabulous. All of this for 47Euros without wine and 60 euros with wine pairings. I noticed through out the trip that wine is very reasonable (and good) in Portugal.

Sunday night we went to see Fado in the Alfama. We went to A Baiucca which was amateur Fado. It is a tiny little place in the Alfama. All the cooks also participate and one of them has a wonderful voice. It is quite an experience and lots of fun. I would recommend it. We had wonderful starters - tuna and bean and two different sheep cheeses. The sea bass was also very good.

On Monday night we ate at the 1 Michelin star Fortaleza do Guincho. We were staying there and our meal was included in our package but they let us choose items off of different menus. We had an amuse that included 3 items - Caulflower soup, oxtail with tomatoes and wine reduction and vegetable and a mousse with crab. We then had Crab scented with yuzu, fine jelly and small vegetables marinated with lemon zest. It was wonderful and the wine pairing was a Quinta de Sant" Ana Sauvignon Blanc, 2011. Our entree was roasted stone bass from the coast with girolles, small vegetables with colonnate bacon and a dark sauce. I had a Contraste Douro 2010 wtih that. We then moved on to our 3 desserts. First we had Mignardisdes - apple crumb with vanilla and chocolate. We then had the regular dessert which was grand cru Tainori chocolate mousse, grue chips and raspberry cream with blackcurrant and porto sherbert and fresh raspberries. That was served with Quinta da Alorna, Abafado 2005. We finished with a plate of pasteries including chocolate truffle, madeleine and other wonderful french pasteries. We waddled to our room after that meal and had to take some of the cookies with us since we were stuffed. The great thing about this restaurant was the view - the sunset over the ocean and the crashing waves. The service was impeccable and the restaurant was very quiet. We had a table by the window.
Tuesday night we ate at Porto de Santa Maria in Guincho. It was a mixed bag. The restaurant was very noisey since there were alot of large groups there. I had the stuffed spiny crab as an appetizer and a lobster. Both were excellent. My husband didn't like his fish soup which had very little fish in it and he said his cod which was cooked in the Portuguese manner was not that good. I think the problem with his meal was that we didn't order a fresh fish to share since I was having the lobster. He just ordered a meal. While my meal was very good, we thought the restuarant was over priced compared to all the other wonderful meals that we had in Portugal.
On Wednesday, we headed to Nazare and for lunch we ate at Resaurante A Tasquinha. We had an excellent fish soup with lots of fish in it and shared a sea bass with Nazare sauce (olives, vinegar, onion, paprika). It was wonderful. ( We had been eating alot since Fortaleza do Guincho had a wonderful breakfast buffet.) Wednesday night we ate at our hotel, Mestre Alfonso Domingue, and it was good,. The restaurant is called Vintage. I had veal steak and my husband had sea bass. (He likes sea bass.)

Thursday we moved over to Tomar. We had lunch at a local restaurant Restaurant O Tabuleiro. I had Bean stew with squid (Ensopado de Borrego) and Pat had prork and potato cubes and clams(Carne de Porco Alentenja). Both were excellent. I think both of them were specialities of the region.

Thursday night we went to Chico Elias in Tomar which was one of the reaons we went to Tomar (the Knight Templars were very interesting but the restaurant is a MUST. ) We had to order our meal a few days ahead of time since it is slow cooked in a wood burning oven. We started with grilled sardines with onions. We also had beans with snails and tomatoes. They were excellent. The main courses were rabbit roasted in a pumpkin with onions and mushrooms. Since eels were out of season, we also had pork and cod with corn. These were huge meals but they also served a salad, creamed spinach, rice and french fries. Since the main courses were so wonderful, we didn't eat the sides. We had a very nice house wine. For dessert we had creme brulee and a yolk cake (Tatia de Toluar). The creme brulee was great but the waitress said that the yolk cake was a speciality of Tomar so I ordered it. She said she liked it but a lot of people didn't like it. She was right.
The restaurant is quite an experience. The owner/chef is a short plumb mid aged woman who has won accalades from the press and food writers for her return to tradional slow cooked recipes. The walls are filled with articles (all in Portuguese) about the restaurant). The restaurant is very low keyed and sort of rustic. After the meal, I looked in the kitchen and Maria came out. I told her through the waitress how wonderful the meal was. She hugged me and we got our picture taken with her. All in all a wonderful evening and also very reasonable.

On Friday night we were in Evora and we ate at Vinho e Nos. It was okay but nothing spectacular. I had the black wild pork with chestnuts and it as very good. My husband had pork with bread sauce and it was dry.

On Saturday we took a tour of the Exporao vineyard and winery and had a luncheon there. We tasted 4 olive oils and a number of wines. The lunch was wonderful. We first tasted the four oil oils. We then had a chestnut soup. We also had scrambled eggs with ham and parsley. We were served a white Verdelho 2011 with those courses. We then had cod with pureed potatoes that was served on top of spinach with fancy garlic threads on top. We had an Espora Reserva 2010 (white) with that. Our main course was a lamb stew with potatoes, parsley and juice. It was delicious and was served with a Petit Verdot 2008. For dessert we had a cheese torte with rasberry sorbet. They served a late harest Colheita Tar Dia 2011 with that. It was wonderful but not as sweet as an ice wine. All in all a very memorable meal. And we bought wine and olive oil to take home in our suitcases. Luckily this was near the end of our trip. y

Saturday evening we were back in Evora and ate at Taberna Tipica Quarta Feira. The father cooks one meal and that is what you eat. The son served it. Everything was great and it was great people watching. We had as appetizers stuffed hot muchrooms, hot sheep cheese with oregano, and black porc sausage. For our main course we had black porc that was so tender with spinach, carrot rice and potatoes. For dessert we had quince with walnuts and a local cake with a egg and sugar filling. It was called Melenoz Encharcada. They had a house wine that was very good.

We were staying at Hotel Albergaria do Calvario. The breakfasts were all organic and they had eggs anyway you wanted them, wonderful cakes, honey, wheat germ, quince, different fruits, etc. It was lovely.

For our last evening in Lisbon, we ate at Santa Antonio de Alfama in the Alfama. the walls are covered with photos of famous people who have dined there. We had wonderful sheep cheese, potato skins and olives And we had our last seabass with herbs. All in all a wonderful way to end our trip to Lisbon and Portugal.

We had a wonderful 10 days in Portugal. The weather was great, the people friendly, the roads easy to navigate and not that crowded. Overall our food was fabulous. I hope you enjoyed our comments and they give you some ideas for your trip to Portugal in the near future. It really is a nice place to visit and not that hard on the budget.