A week in Portugual
My wife and I just booked a holiday in Portugual in late September. We love food,. wine and adventure - so looking for ideas on how to best experience the country in a week gastranomically and culturally. Not looking exclusively for fine dining - but want to experience good food. Flying in and out of Lisbon, and tentatively plan to spend some time in Porto and ???. Thanks for the input.
Lisbon has lots good restaurants but be careful because tourists are born suckers and locals can sense it. Bairro Alto and Chiado have great restaurants but also small places where food is divine. Try out "Cantinho do bem estar" and "Esperança". Keep away from Fado houses. Fado there sucks and food could be better. If you want to listen to Fado go to "Tasca do Chico" still in Bairro Alto.
Santos has good restaurants as well tough I can't remember the names because i'm portuguese and there is no better portuguese food than the one cooked at home. "Estado Liquido" in Santos is excellent. "A Travessa" in Madragoa ( above Santos) is great.
The best thing you can do is walk the streets in old parts of Lisbon and check out places called "tascas". Small restaurants with home made food.
I just returned from a trip to London, Lisbon, Rome and I can't wait to get back to Portugal. I agree with lostra that Bairro Alto and Chiado have the best restaurants just stay away from the fado houses. I was recommended "Cantinho do bem estar" unfortunately I was unable to find it. It is located somewhere near Rua Misericordia and Rua Loreto Lg. The restuarants in Baixa and Rossio are tourist traps with tourist prices.
But in Rossio (I believe on 8 Rua Sao Domingo- south side of a small plaza) there is this tiny hole in the wall bar with only a small bar measuring no more than 5 feet in length that serves Gingh ginha. Gingh gingha is a tradional Portugese liquer made of Brandy and it is served in a plastic 3oz. in this bar that created the liquer. Right up the street, I believe the street name is Portas St. Antao, there is another bar that serves Edwardinho, another must try. I hope this is helpful. Enjoy your trip!
If you decide to go to the Algarve, there is a tiny hotel in the town of Albefuira (sp?) with like 16 rooms -- Vila Joya. The restaurant in the hotel is a ** Michelin and is considered by many to be the best restaurant in Portugal. It is PHENOMINAL! One of the 3 or 4 best dining experiences of my life!
Though I didnt make it to Vila Joya I have heard it is one of the best restaurants in Europe and has been mentioned by various ppl as one of their best food experiences in their life. I believe it without having been there.
If you find yourself the time to go to Evora, there's a restaurant there called O Fialho that is really great. It's quintessential Alentejana
Oh boy I envy you. We spent a few weeks there last year and it was GREAT. It may be very warm so dress right & light.
We flew into Lisbon and drove to Porto (our fave) and flew out of Porto. If you can change plans this is best. Our drive took us through & into the following don't miss
Douro River Valley (wine country)
In both Lisbon & Porto take the hop-on hop-off bus for about $30 and take a tour of the whole city, well worth it. Then get on your walking shoes.
We took advantage of the Pousada five night package deal and stayed in Lisbon, Douro River, and Coimbra. Five stars all the way.
I could go on & on. Frommer's does a good job of it.
Great wine starts at $3 a bottle in the supermarket, and the big markets are mind blowing.
In Porto we stayed at the Albergaria Miradouro, VERY INTERESTING.
We ate at O Muro, Taverna dos Bêbobos, Don Tonho, all very satisfying. Go to the
Solar Vinho do Porto if you can find it! Watch the sunset at Foz Da Douro. In Porto you will see signs anouncing a fado performance hung in windows of Starbucks type places. These are usually put up Wed. announcing a weekend performance. Don't miss it. Much better than the touristy fado cafes that are way overpriced.
In Lisbon get to Belem for the pastry, but NOT on a Sunday!
Try Bonjardim,Cervejaria Trindade, for good food. Don't miss Castle St George, especially around sunset (take the trolley up and back).
And finally, good luck speaking Portugese!