I am still writing up my trip report on another site, but I thought I would go ahead and start my trip report for Lisbon and Porto here. If you are interested in more than just the food, here is the link to a more detailed trip report with photos. https://www.surlyhorns.com/board/inde...
I will also be putting some of this on my website shortly as well (www.mlleshetravels.com).
So, where to start. First meal of the trip on Saturday, March 23, was at Alma. I had a late reservation (10 pm), so the tasting menu wasn't available. That was no problem as I had already decided to go with a la carte. I went with the bread service, which gets you bread and all the amuse bouche/small bites. My favorite was the fried peppers with an amazing red pepper sauce. There was also a tapioca cracker with oyster mayonnaise, cockles in their own juice, and codfish tongue (not really a tongue, but a muscle in the neck that is really tasty) with coriander and peas. My first course was Portuguese Sole with pureed green peas, Alentejo chorizo, and a noisette hollandaise. Even though I really enjoyed my main course, this was the best dish of the night, and potentially one of the best things I had in Portugal. The fish was beautiful, and all the flavors went amazingly well together. The main course was the Alentejo Pork Presa with banana chutney, passionfruit and onion pickle, and spiced molasses jus. I really liked this dish, but having been blown away by the previous dish, this one just wasn't as impressive. Still very, very good. The pork was cooked perfectly, and the flavors did go very, very well together, but it just could not top that Portuguese Sole. Dessert was called Sea flavors and citrus and included yuzu sorbet and crystallized algae. It was not overly sweet, which was just what I needed. For drinks, I started with Delamotte champagne (one of my favorites). To go with my first course sole, I ordered a Portuguese Riesling from Alentejo, the region south of Lisbon but north of the Algarve. This Riesling (a 2017 from Herdade do Arrepiado Velho) reminded me of the wines from Alsace, which are my favorite Rieslings. To go with my second course, I ordered the 2013 Respiro Claret, staying in the Alentejo region. To go with dessert, rather than going with Port, I went with a glass of La Quintinye Vermouth Royal Blanc as I had ordered something citrusy and light for dessert and this would pair better. I had never had it, and I really, really enjoyed it. At the end of the meal, they brought out some more little bites, including a chestnut macaron, a chocolate truffle, and then my favorite, their riff on a pastel de nata in a nice little bite. All in all, Alma was a great start to the trip. The service was absolutely amazing, the people incredibly friendly, and I loved the food.
Now, let us talk about Pasteis de Nata. I love these things, and I was lucky to get to try then at probably two of the best places. First, I did go out to Pasteis de Belem. If you are going to there, get there early in the morning as there is NO line. Second, I had them in the heart of Lisbon at Manteigaria. I got here around 8 or 8:30 on a Saturday, and at that time was the only one there. Grabbed my two and ate at the counter while drinking my coffee. Both places were excellent, and I recommend both.
Next meal is at Cervejaria Ramiro. I had done a lot of research on when to head over there. I thoguht I would be safe getting there around 7 or 7:15 on a Sunday evening. I knew I would have to wait, but was only expecting about 30-45 minutes. I ended up waiting almost 2 hours. Fortunately, they have a coin operated beer dispenser on the patio. For 2 euros, you get a cup of Sacres beer. Once I finally had a table, I was starving, so I ordered the bread (grilled bread with lots of butter which tasted oh so good) and a half bottle of Vinho Verde to wash it all down. They were out of the langoustines (bummer - as my order was going to be red shrimp and langoustines), so I went with red shrimp and lobster. The red shrimp were possibly the BEST shrimp I have ever eaten. This little guy wasn't so little, with amazingly sweet meat. The lobster wasn't bad either, but the highlight was the shrimp. When I return to Lisbon, I will go again (getting there around 6 or so) and order Shrimp and Langoustines.
After dinner, I was not ready to call it a night, so I headed to Cafe Klandenstino, a tiny cocktail bar not too far away. The cocktails are amazing, many of them coffee based. I highly recommend it, and am ready to go back.
After my late night, I got up late, making it up and about just in time for my 1 pm lunch reservation at JNcQUOI. This is a very interesting restaurant. Word to the warning, it is expensive, overly so. But I was stoked to have lunch with the dinosaur, so price did not matter. Started my lunch with the acorn fed Moldanado ham. That is served with grilled bread with tomato, which I absolutely loved. To drink, I went with an Alvarinho, the Quinta de Soalheiro 2016 "Primeiras Vinhas". I really enjoyed it. My main course, was of course, red shrimp. These were served in lemon butter and came with a basmati rice. I also ordered some sauteed greens (deperate for some green veggies) which were excellent. The red shrimp were really good, but just not as good as Ramiro. So, if you want to be ruinded for red shrimp everywhere, go to Ramiro first. Lesson learned. For dessert, I had the Pao de Lo, which is a traditional Portuguese sponge cake. All in all, it was an enjoyable lunch, with good food, but very pricy. The location is amazing, the atmosphere is amazing, but I basically spent the same amount for lunch as I had dinner at Alma.
This seems like a good stopping place for now as I skipped dinner that evening (still full from lunch!), and hopped a train the next day to Porto.
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