Goan and African food in Lisbon?
It seems like I'll be making my first ever trip to Lisbon rather soon. I know the Lisbon has something like 60,000 Indians of primarily Goan ancestry as well as large populations of Africans from its former colonies and that means that there must be restaurants. So, what have we got?
Wanted to bump this thread to solicit any updates from the Lisbon regulars who post here. Will have five days in Lisbon at the end of this week. Of course I will try trad Portuguese, but am most interested in food from the former colonies. Porky Indian (my short hit on Goan) and tastes from elsewhere intrigue me. Thx for any new info or reiteration on the old.
Ed.: I have no particular budget constraints and saw one Goan restaurant recommended in a 2011 NYT article: Cantinho d Paz.
Zuari is actually a fantastic restaurant and I would recommend it highly. I eat Indian food roughly 6 days a week on average and the meals I had there were still major highlights. Try every stereotypical Goan dish there.
Great conversation too! The owner is unbelievably interesting and he served in the Portuguese army during the war in Mozambique. His narration of his own story was something like "well the Portuguese left Goan and I am Portuguese so I left for Mozambique" in a strong Indian accent.
So my budgetary constraints were such that I had to largely chart my own path for all of these restaurant possibilities. I ended up having to pass up on the area around Sao Bento for Cape Verdean as those places were roughly twice the price of a place I found in Graca which actually served very tasty cachupa (though to be fair I have no comparison; I just know it was good.) I never managed Mozambican unfortunately. I did, however, manage Goan.
Quite close to the house I stayed in (Santos/just about Lapa) was an unassuming looking Goan place called Zuari run by a brilliant Goan fellow named Orlando. A classic case of Goan to India back to Goa and on to Africa pretty much sums the guy up with a long stint in the Portuguese army while he was in Mozambique. He basically said that when the Portuguese left Africa he was Portuguese too and so he left with them.
The food is really incredible. I've had a bit of Goan food before, but I can also recognize quality South Asian cooking. This was just that. His wife prepares just about everything while he occasionally helps out, though he spent most of the time talking to me. Our discussion started mostly regarding Goans and spilled over into why he can't sell paan in Portugal (really ridiculous ban/forced unavailability by the way...)
We ordered the pork vindaloo and a type of shark fish curry were both absolutely fantastic. His samosas were not freshly fried and this sort of worried me, but they were still excellent. Quite uniquely flavored. The pork vindaloo consisted of luscious chunks of pork belly stewed to perfection. Think mao's belly pork or something along those lines for the perfect mixture of textures in such a large perfectly cooked chunk of pork belly. The shark was also delicious and stayed firm as it fell off the bone. Very pleasant sour flavor that felt particularly unique to Goan cuisine.
Thanks for the great responses! Really extensive! Are the prices relatively reasonable? I'm sort of traveling on a paupers budget (I'd say student budget, but I'm below that.) I don't mind traveling literally any distance for the cheapest and best food from both cuisines. Most of these recommendations are quite central which is nice, though. How hard is it to get to the two Angolan suburbs? Also, are there any significantly Goan or South Asian areas?
Most of the places above are not expensive, yet not "cheap and cheerful" either. However, Estrela Morena is rather affordable as most dishes are less than 10 Euros.
You can get to Amadora via the Blue Line of the Metro as well as on the regional train to Sintra from Rossio, however I think you will find just as affordable options that are more centrally located.
As mentioned in the previous post, the area in and around Praça Martim Moniz might be what you are looking for as there are many different international options in addition to the Luso-African (Cape Verdean, Angolan, Mozambican, Guinean) places.
The famous neighborhood of Mouraria on the hill above the Praça Martim Moniz and on the way to Graça has quite a bit of Goan, Indian, Nigerian, and Nepalese restaurants. I know a co-worker of mine likes a place in Mouraria called Tentações de Goa.
Tentações de Goa
Rua São Pedro Mártir 23 r/c
If you are on a budget, I think that area would probably be your best bet to try something different, particularly Goan.
As noted above, most of the best Goan and Luso-African places tend to be moderately priced, but they still might not meet your budget so perhaps the places near Martim Moniz and in Mouraria will be of interest. Since Estrela Morena is only open mostly for lunch during the week and is cash only, that might be an affordable option too. I eat there weekly.
Nonetheless, another Indo-Mozambican option which is near the Sé de Lisboa is:
Restaurante Matola Rio
Travessa do Almargem 4 A
Please let me know if I can assist in any other ways.
Great suggestions again! I'm going to definitely check out at least 4 of the above places plus whatever I spot. I'm somewhat used the London approach to European cities of trekking an hour out on public transport in order to get to a place where I'm the only person not of the area's couple of ethnic groups and where the food is unbelievably cheap. Palermo has similar as well for 110% authentic Ghanaian, Sri Lankan and regional Chinese cuisine. Any similar concept in Lisbon seeing as the Angolan quarter seems to still be a bit pricey. East Ham vs Whitechapel basically ;)
If it's your first time in Lisbon (and I assume in Portugal), you might even try some "original" as opposed to "ethnic" Portuguese food. It's quite good and cheap too if you go places where the locals go, as most Portuguese are not particulatly wealthy. Vinhotinto has covered this in details in earleir posts...
I figure that'll be the main stay of my trip, but that's a lot more attainable than Goan, Angolan, Cape Verdean or Mozambican food for me between London and NYC. London more so. There's a restaurant called Sintra there which Portuguese CHs we ate with rated better than any place they ate at on their last trip home. I'm already sorted for where I want to eat Portuguese food via earlier posts.
While there are many neighbourhoods where Cape Verdeans (the largest Luso-African nationality), Angolans (next), Guineans, and Mozambicans predominate (these are particularly along the Rossio-Sintra Train Line), the better food is at the formal restaurants above. Even the informal place for the famed Cape Verdean Cachupa place is on Rua Poço dos Negros in São Bento which was the original Cape Verdean neighbourhood from the 1960s, yet has ceased to be so nowadays. Nonetheless, it is also critical to note that many "Portuguese" restaurant proprietors in fact lived in Africa and returned to Portugal in the 1970s and this is often reflected in menu choices which might not automatically appear as "African."
I live in Lisboa and post here quite often and wrote about Goan and Luso-African options here a few months ago. Here is a copy and paste of that post which should provide helpful.
Cantinho do Paz - Assembleia/São Bento
Restaurante Arco do Castelo
Casa de Goa
Here is a link with even more Goan places in Lisboa:
There are several Luso-African places (Angolan, Cape Verdean, Mozambican) in the central areas worth trying:
Ibo Restaurante is a nice mix of Mozambican, Portuguese, and some Goan dishes in a refined space with a nice view of the Tejo near the Cais do Sodré.
Here are some other ideas for Luso-African cuisine too:
The Casa da Morna (Musician Tito Paris' place) in Alcântara or even one of the more informal Cape Verdean restaurants like Cachupa (sort of an "informal" establishment) too are great. Casa da Morna is formal and upscale and comes with music.
I also have been to another Cape Verdean place in the Bairro Alto, Restaurante da Associação Cabo-Verdiana. There is also another music/restauant for Cape Verdean food: En'Clave which is on the Rua do Sol ao Rato.
A newer place for Cape Verdean and Luso-African food is Restaurante Estrela Morena where I eat regularly (cash only).
An Angolan musician, Waldemar Bastos, has a restaurant in the Bairro Alto, Água do Bengo ,which is quite good and it serves mainly Angolan dishes. Another place for Luso-African cuisine in the Bairro Alto is Restaurante da Mãe Preta.
In Santa Catarina there is Restaurante Rosa da Rua
There is also a Luso-African place on the Rua do Século in Santa Catarina called Boca Picante.
In Alcântara there is the Angolan Restaurante, Restaurante Moamba as well.
In Belém, there is Restaurante Barra do Quanza which serves Angolan, Cape Verdean, and some Brazilian dishes as well. Much like Ibo at the Cais do Sodré, the views of the Tejo are fantastic as is the food.
Likewise, if you walk behind the Praça da Figueira on your way to Praça Martim Moniz (near Hotel Mundial) and Avenida Almirante Reis go near/into the Centro Comercial da Mouraria, as there are various other Angolan and African places for food and other articles. There are also East Asian, Indian, and North African places around there too.
Furthermore, in places like the suburbs of Amadora and Damaia, you are bound to find many Angolan and other Luso-African restaurants and cafés as this is where many people from Angola reside.
Let me know if you have any questions!