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Mar 16, 2013 01:47 PM

Lisbon/Madrid next week!

Our 2 week trip is coming up very soon and we are uncharacteristically unprepared! Usually by now we have a long list of places we plan to go, but things have just been far too hectic the last few months.

We are all about immersing ourselves in the local cuisine, with forays into interesting immigrant cuisines as well. We have read about the African communities in Lisbon (from colonial times) and are curious about their food as well.

And in Madrid, of course, we plan to go tapas crazy. The Mercado de San Miguel will be a big stop for us, probably multiple times. And I read about Casa Lucas in a trip report.

If we do a big ticket meal (not a certainty) in Madrid we've had LUA and Allard recommended.

I had other notes but I'm not sure where they are... Anyone want to offer any last minute thoughts? We might play it looser than usual and just see what we discover. Thanks!

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  1. Some ideas for Lisbon . . .

    Alma (modern)
    +351 213 963 527
    Calçada Marquès de Abrantes, 92
    1200-720 Santos - Lisboa

    + 351 21 342 06 07
    Largo de São Carlos, 10
    1200-410 Lisboa-Chiado

    Chafariz do Vinho
    +351 213 422 079
    Chafariz da Mãe d'Água
    Rua da Mãe d'Água à Praça de Alegria
    1250-000 Lisboa

    +351 912 001 351
    Av. 24 Julho, 68-F
    1200-869 Santo-o-Velho, Lisboa

    Restaurante Nariz de Vinho Tinto (very traditional)
    +351 213 953 035
    Rua do Conde, 75
    1200-636 Lisboa-Lapa

    6 Replies
    1. re: zin1953

      Thanks! I'll look all those up!

      I rewatched the Lisbon No Reservations last night and made a note of the places they went. Any can't miss places in there?

      Ramiro - classic old school, seafood dishes and steak sandwich
      Sol e psca - bar that serves canned seafood
      Cantinho de avillez - traditional Portuguese but in a refined way
      100 manieres - yugoslav chef
      Mercado de alvalade norte
      Alma - Another place that does refined traditional
      Bifana - pork sandwich joint

      1. re: kukubura

        We had lunch at Cervejaria Ramiro and diner at Cerverjaria da Esquina just last week. Both restaurants have a'similar" menu.

        Ramiro is much more casual and has that charmingly-'brusque' attitude and the classic Lisbon-style cervejaria. Loved the large prawns and the crab. We were too full to go for the prego (steak) sandwich for dessert. We left very full and very happy.

        da Esquina is more refined and modern, with more execution on the dishes. Had a great razor clams dish and one of the best fersh tuna sandwich that I've had ever. Very memorable. Wine list is more robust. Need advance reservation.

        We wanted badly to go back to both, but more so to da Esquina.

        Also went to Cantino da Avillez for dinner. it was the only place during our whole 4-day stay where I had the bacalhao dish with the eggs and potatoes. It didn't disappoint. Wife had a very good burger that came with a good serving of good french fries. I was happy with the service and each wine that I was interested in, either by the glass or by the bottle, were offered for initial tasting.

        If you want a truly locals eating experience, go for lunch at a tasca and look for the no-frills Super Mario in/near Chiado. The fresh fried fishes and the local version of pot-u-feu with beef are excellent, especially at super friendly prices. commune table seating, where everybody but us were locals and they all seeme to know each other.

        1. re: kukubura

          I'm not sure I'd define Alma as "refined traditional," but it's very good (although the decor is rather austere). We really enjoyed our meal here.

          I'd definitely visit the mercado if you have time. I prefer Nariz de Vinho Tinto to Cantinho, but I enjoy them both -- Nariz is definitely old school and looks the part, while their wine list is excellent. Cantinho is more "accessible" (modern) in terms of appearances, and so, too, are some of the dishes.

          Again, I'm not sure Ramiro is "old school," but I enjoy it.

          The aforementioned Chafariz do Vinho offers a more modern cuisine, and it, too, has a very fine selection of wines available.

          1. re: zin1953

            Thanks to you both! Those descriptions were my very very rough terms just so I wouldn't forget which was which, not meant to be taken as gospel. Thanks!

            1. re: kukubura

              We went to Ramiro last night for our first meal and it was great! Granted we don't have a base of comparison yet but as quiet and desolate as the city was during the walk to the restaurant there was that much hustle and bustle inside. Anyway I`ll write a full report later.

        2. re: zin1953

          Tripadvisor suggests that Nahriz de Vinho Tinto might closed. I`ll post if i discover otherwise.

        3. I wouldn't put too much emphasis on Mercado San Miguel, if I were you. It's very yuppie, touristy and expensive. The food isn't bad at all, but the experience feels a bit artificial. Seems some of the better vendors have left. The two bars at either end of the market are now actually the same place serving the same food. One stop is probably enough.

          There are more enjoyable tapas experiences to be had in the many bars, bodegas, etc. you'll find all over the city. You can find many suggestions on this board. Chowhound JuanDoe's suggestions are always very good.

          I would also check out Mercado San Anton in Chueca to compare it with San Miguel and swing by La Ardosa which we enjoyed so much that we visited the place twice in three days.

          6 Replies
          1. re: SnackHappy

            RIGHT! I couldn't think of the name San Anton . . . I have heard there is a better one, but -- having never been there -- I couldn't remember the name of it. Thanks for posting it.

            1. re: zin1953

              Both San Antón and San Miguel are the new breed of tourist market where they market part is mainly for show and it's really just a deconstructed tapas bar. The food is fine and it's definitely not a bad spot to go, especially if you are hungry during off hours (e.g. between 4pm and 9pm). Another kind of similar spot, minus the market artifice is the top floor of the El Corte Inglés in Callao (the former cafeteria). Excellent spot to watch the sun set behind the city. Mercado San Antón also has a rooftop bar.

              If you want to visit a real traditional market in the center, there's the Mercado de Antón Martín, which has stalls inside and out.

              1. re: butterfly

                Thank you guys for these pointers! We definitely are NOT looking for an artificial place. We'll still check it out, but maybe not make it such a focus.

                1. re: kukubura

                  I probably shouldn't have given the impression that both of these spots are strictly for tourists... that's not really the case and the food on offer is the real deal, with a little exoticism thrown in (a sushi bar, French oysters/wine, homemade mozzarella). They just fall into the glammed-up-concept-market category. I particularly like the cheese stand in San Miguel, because it's fun to be able to put together a big variety of cheeses and share them among a bunch of people on the spot. Madrid's day-to-day markets are great, but they aren't all that snacking oriented.

                  1. re: butterfly

                    Thanks for expanding. Like I said, we're still going to check them out. I just got a little overly enthusiastic (I tend to do that!) but we'll definitely decide for ourselves. I've been known to fall in love with a place and come back to CH and recommend it whole-heartedly, that's for sure, especially if it's a place that we stumble on. Looking forward to what we find on this trip...

                    1. re: kukubura

                      In Madrid now. Typing one a kindle sucks so I can't write much. Great experiences so far. Any surprise recs?

          2. Is Sobrino de Botín worth going to at this point, or is it FTO? I read a pretty negative review on it in another thread.

            2 Replies
            1. re: kukubura

              I've been recently with visitors and it's the same as always. The roast pork isn't in the same league as what you can have in Segovia at José María and the side dishes aren't quite as exciting (I'm a huge fan of judiones de la granja--big white beans cooked in pork by-products--and their version didn't really do it for me). That said, it's not an irredeemable tourist trap, either, and the historic setting along the outer wall of the Plaza Mayor is pretty special. In my experience, even for Spaniards, these kinds of asadores, no matter what town they are in, tend to be special-occasion places that you visit on a trip or for a particular reason, not every day spots.

              1. re: butterfly

                Segovia isn't on the agenda, sadly. Any top notch recs for roast pig in the city?

            2. One more day in Lisbon and I say it's been a tale of two cities: highs and lows. I`'ll detail all later but i can say that Lisbon can kill it on breakfast and lunch but when it comes to dinner they don't know what they're doing. But it's a very beautiful city full if amazing sights and experiences. Wednesday morning it's off to Madrid. I'm hoping that the hit to miss ratio is back to normal there...

              5 Replies
              1. re: kukubura

                Amazed that you can generalize about the city not knowing what they're doing with dinner after, say, about only 2 nights in Lisbon.

                1. re: RCC

                  It was a little harsh. It was 5 nights and we saw a distinct difference between lunch and dinner most days. I was annoyed after another bad dinner experience. We were just unlucky I'm sure. I'll detail all later. Sorry for the brief venting.

                  1. re: kukubura

                    I had three AMAZING dinners in three nights . . .

                    1. re: zin1953

                      We have one more night there next week... would you recommend Alma or Assinatura? we had three amazing dinners there in SIX nights, although two of the amazing ones were at Ramiro which is now one of my favorite restaurants in the world and the other was at Chafariz do Vinho.

                      1. re: kukubura

                        Haven't been to Assinatura. Had a wonderful meal at Alma, but be prepared -- everything (walls, table, plates, ceiling) is white.