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Restaurants & Bars 5

Lisbon Trip Report

Fred B | Oct 21, 2003 01:21 PM

We just came back from a 2 week stay in Lisbon, armed with various dining recommendations, many from this website (thanks Eric!). Highlights were Fidalgo (and the pastries at Matilde next door), Stop do Bairro and Tasquina D’Adelaide.

We seemed to be in Lisbon at a time when several places were closed for vacation. Bota Alta was closed, A Cabrita was closed and O Pereira de Alfama didn’t have a sign about vacation, but we never found the door unlocked the whole time we were there.

Fidalgo we ate at 3 times and it was consistently delicious each time. The owner is also a very gracious host with pretty good English, which was a bonus for us. Had a good aged cheese and really good quality ham that he sliced for each table. Also good bread, which we found was true almost everywhere in Lisbon—great slow ferment rolls were the norm in even the simplest of restaurants. Favas Guisadas com Enchidos e Entrecosto were fava beans, shelled but unpeeled, stewed with pork ribs, 3 kinds of sausages (chourica, blood sausage and what I think must be the Farinheira—starchy, garlicky, salty, pork fatty?) and salt pork (or the unsalted version of salt pork?). Well prepared, great salty, meaty, starchy dish that was very typical of many of the best dishes that we had in Lisbon. We also had Secretos de Porco Grilhados, which were thin slices of a cut that had a kind of flank type texture to it—great flavor, grilled perfectly with fried potatoes, really yellow flavorful potatoes which we found all over Lisbon.

Stop do Bairro was a great scene—unpretentious neighborhood place, full of multi-generational families eating and drinking with exuberance. We ordered the same way there each time we were in—looking around at the other tables and pointing to what looked best. Feijoada Transmontana one time, the standard combination of sausages with pork loin and big chunks of fatty pork cooked with beans, another time Cozinha Portuguesa which had all of the above meats plus beef, chicken, carrots, cabbage, potatoes and sweet potatoes cooked with broth—outstanding. Actually this time I noticed that there are 2 sausages that seem like blood sausage to me—one that is firmer and meatier and another that is much more crumbly texture. They serve rice on the side that looks like dirty rice, seems like it has been cooked with some of the crumbly blood sausage. Good desserts there too, a good version of almond tart, and this thing that seemed like 7 or 8 thin layers of a cross between a graham cracker and a molasses cookie, which had been soaked down with syrup and had a coupla layers of whipped cream interspersed. I thought it was great, the SO hated it.

The hands down best dish we had was at A Tasquina D’Adelaide. The most expensive restaurant that we went to (the entrée we had, served for 2, was 37 euros), it is a very small dining room. It’s the only place that we ever made, or needed, a reservation, and the first impression was a little weird because, at least the night that we were there, they kept the door locked so you have to knock and get approved for entry, or at least it felt that way. After that they were very gracious though, and we ordered the specialty, Perelinha de Borregos. This was a whole lamb shoulder, slow braised to absolute perfection, then browned in a hot oven with potatoes that got all caramelized in the pan juices and accompanied with what seemed like steamed broccoli-rabe. I am on a quest to reproduce it at home, I hope I’m able to because I find myself daydreaming about it at inopportune moments. Oh well, where was I?

We didn’t eat exclusively pork the whole time, although we got plenty. Had grilled sardines across the river in Cacilhas, fried Joaquinadhos (sp?) which seemed like maybe smelts and were delicious, rice and octopus stewed together with a lot of mint, and this seems like a good time to mention that we had about 3 different dishes that had a big handful of mint in them, unexpected to me, I just don’t think of mint as being prominent in european cuisine.

We also ate Indian food a couple of times because it was close to the apartment that we stayed in in Alfama, so we ended up there when we were lazy or when it rained, and also because it was really good Indian food.

I’m sure I’ve forgotton something but this is my first attempt at a trip report, so I think I’ll quit while I’m ahead.

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