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Feb 17, 2013 12:22 PM

Coimbra restaurants

8 of us will be in Portugal in early March. I have great suggestions for restaurants in Porto and Lisbon from this board but we will be two nights in Coimbra and would welcome suggestions for lunch and dinner. We are staying at Hotel Quinta des Lagrimas but with its restaurants recent demotion from Michelin I would like other options. Thanks

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  1. I followed a Chowhound recommendation to A Taverna in Coimbra and I was a tad underwhelmed, possibly because I didn't eat the house specialty, which I gather is roast kid. The food was fine, although more "expensive" than I had expected (I put "expensive" in quotes because throughout Portugal all my meals cost so much less than they would elsewhere, "expensive" just means a few euros more than dirt cheap).

    I can see why the restaurant gets recommended or is even beloved: The service and ambience was really very warm and gracious. Everything about the place is incredibly retro. It's not stuffy in the slightest, but it's really old school dining hospitality. I especially liked that the waiter kept circling the room with a platter of vegetables, offering second and third helpings of roast potatoes, steamed carrots, roasted tomatoes, etc. They could easily handle your group of 8.

    We felt every step of the way people were concerned to take care of us. (We don't speak any Portuguese and the English there is rudimentary.) The staff seemed quite proud to be upholding tradition in Coimbra, and I bet if you are looking for the real-deal dining of Coimbra, this is it.

    It's located a bit beyond what one might consider the touristic center of Coimbra. We took a taxi to get there, and the restaurant was happy to call one to fetch us when done. You'd probably need 2, but Coimbra is full of cheap taxis.

    We had a miserable hotel lunch when we arrived (different hotel than yours) and stopped mid-day at a bakery for a super-sized pastry and coffee, but that was about it. Were I to return to Coimbra, I would just eat cheap with low expectations and save my euros for the Yeatman in Porto, or a grand seafood spectacular in Lisbon.

    1 Reply
    1. re: barberinibee

      Thanks so much for the info. Since I had no recommendations for Coimbra I was looking for any suggestions at any price level. We will have a local guide each day and they may be able to suggest some places. We are looking forward to the trip

    2. I enjoyed A Taberna a bit more than barberinibee, but I recall having roast lamb, so that may be closer to their specialization. There is a tiny place in the center of town called Ze Manel dos Ossos which is not fancy at all, and seating for a party of 8 might be tricky. But you might have a look. Some real regional food to be had here (specialty are marrow bones - Ossos); my feijoada de Javali (wild boar) was excellent and the house wine cheap and tasty. While you are in the area, see if you can find some place serving good Bairrada wines - reds made from the interesting tannic grape Baga and delightful, nervy whites and espumantes.

      3 Replies
      1. re: jmoryl

        Thanks for the tip. We always enjoy tasting the local wines

        1. re: jmoryl

          Do you know if Ze Manel dos Ossos takes reservations or not? Thanks!

          1. re: pgwiz1

            I'm quite sure it does not, judging by people waiting to get in.
            You might give them a call.

        2. Try Leitão at Mealhada (not far from Coimbra 10 km)
          The best suckling pig in Portugal

          Or for something very tipical try Lampreia. There are several good places around Coimbra for Lampreia. And this is the best season for this unique product.

          1 Reply
          1. re: bimbog

            Definitely check out the Leitoes/Leitao places - "Pedro" is one of the biggest as I recall. If you park far back enough in the parking lot, you might just get a spectacular tour of the ovens and "prep" area.

            Guaranteed fresh!

          2. Sucking pig sound fantastic. We will definitely search for it.

            1 Reply
            1. re: bigcmd

              Yeah, leitao is a good choice in that region. Here is a site I've posted before, with votes for people's favorite places:
     Don't miss having a bottle of sparkling red wine (espumante tinto) with your pig!