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May 14, 2011 04:26 PM

Childhood memories of Portugal, rekindled?

As a young child (in the 60s) my family visited Lisbon and we ate at a restaurant that has remained in memory ever since those days long, long ago. I hope (in vain?) to re-discover that restaurant.
I remember staying in the Avenida Palace hotel, an elegant older hotel with beautiful rooms and a view out to the Praça Dom Pedro IV where old, black diesel Mercedes taxis circulated on the street and the Castelo de São Jorge was lit up at night on the horizon. My mother took my brothers and I for a short walk to a small restaurant, a few steps down below street level, where we sat at thick butcher block tables under dim electric lights. Each of us was issued a small wooden mallet which we used to crack open various forms of crustaceans that were served in utter simplicity, boiled or such, piled on the table.
I have searched in vain through various sites and message boards, but without a name my efforts have been so far fruitless. I post this message as a last attempt at possibly re-discovering a piece of childhood memory. Any help is welcome.
Muito obrigado!

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  1. One week later, I fear I have overestimated the power of the chowhound. Nobody wants to help out an old guy?

    3 Replies
    1. re: flavorenhancer

      I'm a sucker for transformation food moments... I can't help you with the specifics, but the kind of restaurant that you are looking for is a marisqueira or cervejaira (what we call a marisquería or cervecería in Spain). That part of Lisbon is also called Rossio, which may help with your quest. Why not try getting in touch with the hotel where you stayed to see if they may have an idea?

      Maybe looking at images with those search terms will spark a memory:

      1. re: flavorenhancer

        Could it be "Marisqueira Solmar" ? It's the only one i know who exists since that time. it's near the theatre Colisseo, Rua das portas de Santo Antão. if you're interested in portugal & food have a look at they got a lot of tips and are friends of mine...

        1. re: portugal16

          forget to tell that i was not very happy with the food at solmar, only with the ambience, it is like a travel back in time. for me, marisqueira ramiro in avenida almirante reis would be a better option in lisbon. Or the great "mercado do peixe" in monsanto, that's definitly my favourite marisqueira.

      2. I had also thought of Solmar, but as far as I remember it does not fit the description ... Also thought of Gambrinus (before it was modernised in 1964!), but I don't know about butcher blocks tables... Definitly the rua das Portas de Santo Antão seems to fit the bill (just accross from the Avenida Palace). But if your restaurant still exists it might be very different from what it looked like then, 50 years ago.

        1. Many thanks for the thoughtful replies. Your suggestions sound accurate. I hope to pay a visit and see for myself later this year. I'll report back.