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October trip to Lisbon and small towns - Guincho, Nazare, Batalha, Tomar and Evora

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My husband and I will be leaving in 3 weeks for Portugal and I have been reading all the threads about Lisbon. I still have to sort out all of that wonderful information and will be asking questions in a few days.
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We are staying 2 nights in Guincho at the Fortaleza do Guincho and will eat one night at the Michelin restaurant in the hotel. Any suggestions on what to select? For the other night and lunches, do you have any suggestions on where to eat? Monte Mar, Porto de Santa Maria, and Restaurante Furnas do Guincho are ones that I have read about. Which ones would be the best for food and atmosphere?

We also will be visiting Nazare, Batalha and Tomar. I read about Chico Elias in Tomar but can't find a website. I read that you need to make a reservation in order to order in advance specialities such as rabbit in pumpkin or duck with figs. It sounds like an interesting restaurant. Can anyone help me out on how to contact them? I don't want to call them. Can you recommend some of their specialities? We will be staying at Hoel Mestre Afonso Dominque in Batalha for 2 nights. I read that they have good lunches and dinners. Can you confirm that? I would also like additional recommendations for meals when we are in Batalha and Tomar area.

We will be sttaying at the Albergaria do Calvario in Evora. Can't wait to have that wonderful breakfast. I would appreciate recommendations for lunch and dinner when we are in Evora. Nyleve recommended Boteqim da Mouraria and Taberna Tipica Quarta Feira in a 2010 thread. Are they still open? We also have a reservation for a winery tour and a gourmet lunch with wine tasting at Herdade do Esporao near Estremoz. I read about it in Travel and Leisure.

I am excited about the trip after writing all this. Thanks for any suggestions.

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  1. Hi suzieq4
    you seem to have done quite a lot of research, and assume you will have a car.
    Guincho: Dinner at the Forteleza is a must, and I would suggest also dinner at Porto de Santa Maria. Why not a lunch in Sintra (for exemple at the restaurant of the Palacio da Pena, teh Palacio is a must to visit).
    I am not strong on Tomar and Batalha (2 lovely towns, well worth teh visit), but I have done some research on Chico Elias: Booking is absolutely necessary, and yes, you order you meal (or at least the main course) when you book because is is all slow cooked in the bread oven. They have no e-mail or website, so I suggest you ask one of your hotels to do the booking for you by telephone. Details of the restaurant on http://www.lifecooler.com/edicoes/lif...
    Évora on the other hand, I know well: Don't miss a visit to the Convento do Espinheiro, just outside town, and a drink in the old kitchen of the monks. They have a good restaurant there and a spectacular cellar...The building itself is worth the detour to visit.
    In town, BL Lounge is fun, and Fialho is the best. Taberna Quarta-feira and Botequim are still open; Esporão has a very good restaurant too. In Estremoz: A Cadeia Quinhentista is best.
    If you can, go and visit a carpet "atelier" in Arraiolos (the carpets are hand made) and go to restaurant "O Alpendre" for fantastic Alentejo food.
    Enjoy!

    2 Replies
    1. re: monchique

      Monchique,

      Thanks for all the great advise. We will definately eat at Porto de Santa Maria and try a lunch in Sintra. We lucked into Fortaleza since they have a special for a two night stay Monday - Thursday where you get a dinner included at the restaurant. Do you have any suggetions as to their specialities and what to order?

      I will get the hotel to make the reservation for Chico Elias. I am leaning towards ordering the rabbit in pumpkin and the fricasse eels. I have no idea what fricasse eels would be though but it sounds interesting to try. And my husband and I will be sharing the meals. My view is enjoy life and experiment!!!

      Is there a great wine store in Evora? Convento do Espinhero sounds like a good place to visit too and sample the cellar offering. (Too little time - too many choices for lunch and dinner) I am looking forward to the lunch at Herdade do Esporao. It includes a cellar tour and tasting of 4 olive oils and 4 wines as well as a gourmet lunch. That will be on Saturday so we still have 2 dinners and 1 lunch to schedule. I am thinking of Fialho or Taberna Quarta-feira for the other dinner. Any recommendations on that?

      I will also see if we can include a visit to Arraiolos.

      1. re: suzieq4

        At Fortaleza, just order what you fancy on that day's menu, it will be good.
        Fricasseed eels sounds interesting. I have had them fried and stewed, so it must be an in-between!
        In downtown Evora, just outside the market, there is a shop (underground!) called "Divinus Gourmet" http://www.divinus.pt/home_gourmet.html well worth the visit.
        I have never been to Taberna Quarta-feira but know Fialho well, so cannot recommend one against the other...
        Please report!

    2. I had lunch at Chico Elias last year. As monchique says, you absolutely must book. It is an interesting place. When we were there, there were quite a few empty tables as they turned away some walk-ins. I believe they like to plan ahead and know exactly how many customers will be coming and what they want to eat. This is not food-on-demand.

      When we called, my wife (who is a Lisboeta) asked for Cabrito (young milk-fed goat) although the rabbit in pumpkin was recommended to us by friends. The food is all served family-style, brought to the table in huge platters. There's also a steady stream of appetizers (we had blood sausage and snail stew among others). You will not leave this place hungry. We left lots of food on the table, despite all of us showing up with appetites.

      1. Between Tomar and Batalha my wife recommends Tia Alice in Fatima (yes, Fatima) and particularly the bacalhau there. She says its one of the best Bacalhaus she's ever had - and she's Portuguese.

        Seconding Taberna Quarta-Feira in Evora. Its one of the first places my wife took me to in Portugal. It definitely has a local feel, even in slightly touristy Evora, hidden away in a sidestreet. Delicious and abundant home-cooked food.

        2 Replies
        1. re: r.vacapinta

          We are off to Lisbon today. Have reservations at Alma and Assinatura. Thanks for all the suggestions. Haven't been able to contact Chico Elias yet but will call them tomorrow or from the airport. Sent a fax and that didn't work and the hotel I asked to help didn't respond.

          1. re: suzieq4

            Hey - wondering if you would like to report on your trip, places or food you particularly enjoyed?