NYC hound in Lisbon and Evora
We're NYC hounds off to Portugal in a couple of weeks. We'll be in Lisbon for 3 nights at the Hotel Britania and in Evora at the Albergaia do Calvario for another 3. We're BIG foodies and will travel far for amazing food.
I've scoured the board and read a lot of the amazing suggestions made by Vinhotinto75, Nyleve and others. Thanks so much! Now its all about confirming and getting opinions so we don't miss any amazing food places.
Lisbon (3 dinners, 3 lunches)
-O Ponto Final (lunch?)
-Cervejaria Ramiro (dinner)
-Cervejaira e Marisqueira Barcabela (dinner?)
-Churasco de Graca (dinner?)
-???? where else? Anything to replace?
*Also confeitaria de belem for nata and the vini portugal for wine tasting.
Evora (3 dinners, 2 lunches)
-Restaurant Don Joaquim
-Botequim de Mouraria
-???? where else?
In addition to advice on where to eat in the two places above, are there stops on the way to Evora we MUST go to for food and also, any specialty food stores we should visit in these areas?
Thank you all in advance,
You certainly have come up with a good list of places for lunch and dinner while in Lisbon and Évora.
I think your choices are fine and safe as you will get good and simple meals, but I would have some backup plans for O Ponto Final in the event that the weather doesn't cooperate or if you do not feel like taking the trip across the Tejo. Yet, if it is nice, the view is fantastic and the food is usually quite good at O Ponto Final.
Somebody recently requested for more upscale places in Lisbon and I posted them in two posts in the last few weeks, so in case you don't want to go to the more-simple places you have above, you could check out these restaurants which are newer and "hipper."
More modern, upscale Lisboa choices:
Assinatura - a new restaurant by chef Henrique Mouro
Alma - A new restaurant by celebrity chef Henrique Sá Pessoa
Tasca da Esquina - Vítor Sobral's "small plate" restaurant
Tavares - José Avillez earned a Michelin Star
Quinta dos Frades - a new space with a hip chef, Chakall
Restaurante Manifesto - a new place by chef Luís Baena
More upscale, but not as trendy in Lisboa:
Lastly, two place that I have going to recently in Lisboa that have Luso-African flavors are Restaurante Estrela Morena (Cape Verdean and Portuguese Food) and Restaurante Ibo (Mozambican and Portuguese Cuisine).
In regards to Évora, the choices are excellent and the city is full of small little boutiques selling delicacies from the region of Alentejo. You will be able to taste some fantastic cheeses, olive oils, and wines. In fact, the Comissão Vitivinícola Regional Alentejana does organize visits to local wineries in the event you didn't want to do this on your own. I would be happy to indicate some smaller places and wineries to visit if you indeed wanted to pursue that sort of activity. There are a few wineries at the entrance to Évora too that you can visit if you have a car, but I prefer the ones in the towns in and around the province. In fact, I opened an Alicante Bouschet Reserva from an Alentejan producer with my steak this evening as I type from my apartment in Lisboa!
Feel free to let me know if you have any questions or if I can assist in any other way.
Thanks so much Vinhotinto for these great recommendations.
Regarding Evora, we do have a car and would love to do the local wineries on our own. So any thoughts and recommendations you have would be great. Much appreciated!
In reference to Lisbon, many thanks for the additional places. I'll be sure to visit their websites to get a sense of each place. As you know, we have a lot of totally fancy places here in NYC but only some of them boast amazing food AND a posh look. So, if you had only a couple of meals in Lisbon where would you go among all the upscale places? For us the food is paramount.
Thanks so much and btw, your steak and the wine last night made we want to be there already!
I understand what you mean about food being paramount as I'm always hesitant to recommend a more upscale place in ANY city as I often am disappointed because I feel like I can make a better meal myself for a fraction of the price. I personally tend to prefer simpler places where I'll usually get good food and not have to worry about pretentions or being disappointed.
I know that when I travel (which is way too much) to somewhere new, I like to try something that either I can't get where I am normally based or that offers a unique spin. Thus, I would highly suggest trying one of the Luso-African places, particuarly Ibo, as they have fantastic seafood and combined Portuguese-Mozambican flavors. It is near the Cais do Sodré and on a good night will have a decent view of the Tejo. Their website is well-designed and in both Português and English.
In regards to some of the others, I guess you could give any of them a shot. I did like Quinta dos Frades a bit and also found Assinatura to be quite good. Even coming from NYC and the exchange rate, you will find dining out in Lisbon to be rather affordable (particularly wine).
In regards to wineries and tasting in Évora and Alentejo, here might be some options:
Cartuxa - right near the entrance to the city of Évora
Some other towns in and around Évora and in Alentejo worth visiting for wine:
Reguengos de Monsaraz - Herdade do Esporão Wine and Olive Oil
Arraiolos - Adega das Moura de Arraiolos
Albernoa-Beja - Herdade da Malhadinha Nova - Excellent Wine and Olive Oil
Vidigueira - Paulo Laureano Vinus
Vidigueira - Cortes de Cima
There are also tons of other Quintas (Estates) worth visiting in the region. Évora is a fantastic town with great food, so you can certainly do day trips in and around the province visiting wineries and estates. If you do plan on doing this on your own, make sure you confirm visiting hours and/or set up an appointment.
As always, let me know if you have any additional questions.
The wines of Cartuxa are superb--you will be lucky indeed to see the winery, I am sure...and of the other listed, Herdade do Esporão and Cortes de Cima are among my favorites. It has been many years since I was in both Lisbon and Evora, but I recall the latter especially with vivid memories--be aware that Evora can be extremely hot this time of year (same with Lisbon.)
re: penthouse pup
While Cortes de Cima does have a nice operation and I did suggest it above, I'm not personally a huge fan of *some* of their wines. I personally would put it lower on the visiting list due to the fact that they use or blend with a few varietals that are not native/indigenous to Alentejo and Portugal. Nonetheless, the family and people who work at the operation are very friendly and hospitable.
The summer in Lisboa this year has been rather typical, but July was worse than August thus far.
Please have a pastel de nata for me! What I wouldn't give to have another one of those delectable little treats.
Some other treats unique to Portugal/Spain that you must try:
Percebes - otherwise known as gooseneck barnacles. They are hideous looking, but taste of the sea and are a delicacy. They remind me of large bird talons - scary!
Leitao assado - roast suckling pig. The best place to get this is in a small town called Mealhada. But it can be found in Lisboa also. It's better than any other pork you will ever experience. Melts in your mouth.
Tripe - you just have to. Feijoada = Beans with trip and sausage would make a great lunch. I had it in Porto and as I understand it - that's where it is most popular.
Octopus - I know its easily available in the U.S. but here it is so fresh and delicious - unlike any you've had stateside.
Serra da Estrela - a beautiful raw sheep's milk cheese that looks similiar to brie. They serve it with a whole cut out of the top and you use a knife to scoop the cheese out and spread it on crusty bread - wow! Creamy goodness. :)
Presunto - cured ham that can be found in just about all the cafes. A plate, some bread and a bottle of good portuguese red wine = heaven.
Stop by a street front ginjinha house and have a small glass of this liquer after dinner. They have bottles filled with ginja berries fermenting in brandy and the little shops are barely large enough to walk into. A man behind the counter will pour you a small cup and you can stand on the street and sip away on this sweet concoction.
I don't know if you've had a chance to view my blog posts about my trip to Portugal, but here are the links to the 3 installments. It was my first trip to Portugal and I instantly fell in love:
Part I: http://mamaliciouseats.wordpress.com/2008/10/10/portugal-part-i-our-first-night/
Part II: http://mamaliciouseats.wordpress.com/2008/10/19/portugal-part-ii-food-exploration/
Part III: http://mamaliciouseats.wordpress.com/...
Enjoy! It's a magical place with food that is mind-blowingly delicious. I need to plan a return trip soon. Oh, a word of advice, learn a little bit of Portuguese, it is the one of the few places in Western Europe where very few locals speak English.
As a native Portuguese speaker and somebody who lives the majority of the year in Lisboa (as well as in Brazil and the US), I would have to disagree with your assessment about the English-language skills of the Portuguese. English and French have always been taught in most schools (as opposed to Spanish), and due to historical and political reasons, the Portuguese have always had economic and some cultural ties with the UK.
Yet, of course in some smaller villages such as in the Beiras, Alentejo, and Trás-os-Montes this may be the case, but in Lisboa, Porto, other larger cities, and particularly in the Algarve, English is widely spoken. I agree that it never hurts to learn a few key phrases for survival, and one major pet peeve among many is to think that words in Spanish are or mean the same in Portuguese.
Your blog is fantastic and highlights the regionality of Portuguese cooking and cuisine. It always amazes me as I try to explain to people that even in a small geographic country like Portugal, the food and terra (terroir) changes drastically. Thus, the leitão assado is much more a specialty of Bairrada, while in Alentejo pork (especially the Porco Preto) is prepared in entirely different ways. Tripe is much more popular and celebrated in Porto than in Lisboa, etc. Nothing new for any society or country, but always fascinating in a country as small as Portugal which is about the size of Alabama...
Vinhotinto, thank you for your kind words about my blog. I instantly fell in love with Portugal and cannot wait to return. I'll be sure to seek you out for restaurant suggestions next time.
I was simply comparing Portugal to more touristy European destinations (i.e. Italy, France, etc), but we didn't encounter many Portuguese who spoke English and we met more than one person along our way that said the same. But I suppose perception is our own reality. :-)
What I wouldn't give for a plate of leitao assado and a pastel de nata right now. I have been pleasantly surprised that recently I am seeing more and more Portuguese wines here in the States. I suppose now that Spain and South America have been tapped, it's Portugal's time to shine. We had some lovely wine. Now, if only I could get some of that raw sheep's milk cheese here... sigh.
Yes, leitão assado (Leitão à Bairrada) with a fantastic wine from the Beiras, preferably 100% Baga, (formerly DOC Bairrada) is a classic pairing!
I divide my time among Portugal, Brazil, and USA and depending on where you are in the States, you can get some fantastic Portuguese wines at fantastic price points. The East Coast - particularly NJ and Massachusetts is very easy, yet I've also have seen tons in the DC area as well as Chicago and Madison.
One thing that holds Portuguese wines back on the international market according to many in the Portuguese wine industry is that the majority of the wines are made with grapes that are indigenous to Portugal and difficult to pronounce for non-Portuguese speakers. Also, while they are trying to standardize the grape names, the same grapes might have two names in the country. For example, Tinta Roriz - one of the most ubiquitous grapes - also goes by Aragonez in Alentejo. Nonetheless, they are very food friendly wines and some regions such as the Douro, Alentejo, and Dão have fantastic wineries to visit for tasting and dining.
There are some Portuguese markets in Massachusetts and New Jersey that do sell cheese, but the shipping is very costly. However, I have had some luck ordering cheeses from Murray's and thought the shipping was reasonable. I do this when I am in the US and have a special occasion for entertaining.
Presently, they have Évora, Amanteigado, Nisa, and Amarelo da Beira Baixa available on their site, as well as Herdade do Esporão olive oil which is fantastic.
And yes, nothing is better than uma Bica com um pastel de nata (which I had this morning before I went for a walk!).
Vinhotinto and Nyleve were dead on with their suggestions.
Bonjardim is a PERFECT spot for lunch. The chicken is amazing and so was the vinho verde which is a must. It was such a simple yet delicious meal.
If your trip falls in August and you have your heart set on some places, make sure you check they are open. For example Cervejaria Ramiro was closed last week when we were in Lisbon. I will never be able to try the garlic shrimp that was displayed on it's website. I’m still disappointed.
The only other suggestion I would give is 100 Maneiras. It's in the Bairro Alto.
Rua do Teixeira, 35
Lisboa, Portugal, 1200-459
It was my favorite dinner in Lisbon. Each night it is a tasting menu so it changes but the food was fantastic. A side note my girlfriend is a vegetarian. We didn’t realize it was a set menu until we arrived. I’m sure they wouldn’t like me advertising this but they did a vegetarian tasting menu that worked with mine and was just as good if not better than what I had.
I can’t say enough good things about it. The service was top notch and the restaurant was small intimate, not too formal yet classy.
Lisbon is an amazing city.
Hi Taylorhameggandcheese, thanks for the suggestion. We are there in August (starting this coming saturday) so that makes me worried about Ramiro. I really want to go there. Will have to run the list before we leave so we're not disappointed. Will totally look into 100 Maneiras. I wish we had more days there.
Actually we have a bigger problem on our hands than just Ramiro sadly. Coming from New York where everything stays open all the time, I've been totally presumptious about our Lisbon dining options.
I just checked a bunch of websites and all three of our dinner places (Ibo, Churasco da Graca and Cervejaira Barcabela) are closed on Sundays.
Back to square one......not sure what is open that day except Bonjardim for lunch
Yes - Sunday's can indeed be tricky in Lisboa and more so in August. If you are looking for fantastic seafood and a nice trip across the Rio Tejo, perhaps a Marisqueira e Restaurante Farol in Caçilhas. They are usually open on Sundays. It is very simple, yet with good seafood.
You can see images and the menus on their website.
All you simply have to do is take the boat from Cais do Sodré (80 cents each way) and it will take ten minutes. The restaurant is right in front of the boat terminal and the view of Lisboa from Caçilhas is excellent.
If you wanted something a bit more romantic or cozy, perhaps Restaurante Frei Contente might work. It is in one of my favorite places in Lisboa, Praça das Flores, and the food is usually quite good.
One other possible option is Faz Figura which is near Alfama and the main train station, Santa Apolónia.
Via Graça is also open on Sundays and the food is consistently good and the view is fantastic.
Of course, you could always stroll and see what you might find too. That is always fun!
Let me know if I can help in any other way.
I'm glad to heat the you are enjoying LX and all it offers. Did you order from the regular menu at Ibo or have the Mozambican dishes? I have to organize a group meal for work in a few weeks and actually have been thinking of holding it there as the owner/manager is very cordial.
I hope that you were able to find a suitable Sunday dinner option from the above or on your own.
Wait until you taste the food in Alentejo and Évora.
Hi, we ordered from the Mozambican menu items which are indicated as such on the menu. The upstairs room had phenomenal views and would be great for a work dinner. The service was impeccable and the manager was extremely gracious.
We had a wonderful dinner at Frei Contente yesterday. It really was tucked away I must say and it took us a bit to figure out the numbering on the street. There were clearly several regulars there as well as some tourists and the food was really good.
Today's lunch was Ponto Final and I have to say, there is no way anyone should miss this place when visiting Lisbon. What a fantastic location. The large shrimpt today were out of this world
Thanks Vinhotinto75 and will keep you posted