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Lisbon Report - Jan 2009


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Restaurants & Bars 9

Lisbon Report - Jan 2009

vinhotinto75 | Jan 26, 2009 12:29 PM

In a follow-up to the previous thread on Lisbon Authentic and Local, I thought that I would report back on my recent "viagem" to Lisbon earlier this month.

Let me preface by saying that I've been to Portugal and Lisbon numerous times and truly appreciate the regional varieties of cuisine and wine that the country/city has to offer at excellent prices.

Bonjardim (Restauradores) - Continues to be the old standby and the first place I go to upon arrival. Nothing special, but the chicken and fries are pure comfort food and the the Casalheiro tinto or branco always goes nicely!

João do Grão (Baixa) - Many people rave about this place near the Praça da Figueira for good bacalhau. I went on a Sunday where many local families were enjoying a meal. The classic Bacalhau with Grão (Chickpeas) was very good and a hearty portion. Nothing special, but like Bonjardim, it hit the spot.

Tasquinha d'Adelaide (Campo Ourique) - I'm sorry to report that this establishment - which receives tons of exposure internationally - is overrated, pricey (for Lisbon), and chaotic. A few observations: one of the servers was a bit too helpful and huddled over the table while trying to read the menu and such. Furthermore, he did not speak Portuguese and very little English which made ordering complicated. Additionally, the small space allows smoking which can ruin the meal and the evening (at least from my point of view). Lastly, and most importantly, the food and dish that I ordered was lackluster, sloppy, and not up to standards. I had the chance to speak with the chef and owner afterwards and expressed my disappointment. While she was gracious and offered her apologies, I think this place either had an off night or simply has been hyped.

Chafariz do Vinho (Liberdade/Praça da Alegria) - A wonderful place where you can try tons of wine by the glass or bottle for great prices along with some tasty dishes and dessert. I recommend the duck salad as well as the lulas (squid or calamari) in a grain mustard sauce. The plate of national cheeses is fantastic as well. Lastly, the prices are fantastic and the ambience is very cool.

Senhora Mãe (Alfama) - I ended up here by accident one evening. The service was good and laid back. The menu has a Portuguese/international touch with some creative dishes. I ordered a beef filet with a double Portuguese cabra sauce (Goat Cheese) which didn't quite deliver for me. The ambience and wine list is very good. Prices are a bit above average but not terrible. I would give this another shot but try another dish.

Lisboa à Noite (Bairro Alto) - This slick place on the Rua das Gáveas has an upscale look but the service is friendly and laid back. Since it was January, the bulk of the crowd was international, but still plenty of locals. The menu is fantastic with a range of the regional varieties of Portugal. Evidently, the owners and chefs are from the Alentejo and Tras-os-Montes respectively which adds to the dynamics of the menu. The wine list and dessert cart are phenomenal. Worth a visit as the prices are fantastic. They also have a restaurant next door, O Ponto Vermelho, which is more of a Portuguese bistro menu and equally as good.

Futhermore, I must have stopped for at least 30 bicas (espressos) at various pastelarias and cafes throughout Lisbon. I continuously argue that the espresso in Portugal is the best in the world.

I also had the chance to eat at A Taberna in Coimbra which I highly recommend if you visit this university city which is known as a mini-Lisbon. I had to go there for work one day and really enjoyed my Chanfana (baby goat) in a red wine sauce with great batatas and killer bottle of Bairrada red.

Please do not hesitate to write if you have any questions or input. Saude!

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