Lisbon & Porto in May! What am I eating?
I am heading to Lisbon & Porto in May and wanted to pick the brains(and taste buds) of you fine folks, to get an understanding of where and what I should not miss.
Apart from 1 splurge meal, I am looking for advice on places that are for locals, not fancy and (where possible) doing one thing really well.
I don't yet have a short list of restaurants, but I do not want to come back not having tried the following:
- Portugese Cheese
- Ginjinha & Edwardinha
- Cataplana of some sort
- Fresh Grilled Sardines
- All the wine (yes....all of it)
- Natas and other sweet things (I hear the portugese love their sweets)
- A Cozido or 2 or a dozen
I'll eat anything and anywhere.
Day 3: Lisbon
Having worked through the places I had really wanted to eat at, I spent quite some time walking around scouting. Note, Lisbon is hilly, very hilly, my calves were killing me at the end of 2 days.
Anyway, for Lunch, I ended up at SEA ME in Barrio Alto (on Rue Garrett). I had passed by the day before and the offering of whole grilled fish drew my eye.
Its a portuguese/japanese place in that they have a sushi/sashimi menu as well as the regular portugese things.
I had the Tuna Sashimi to start and the picked out a whole spanish mackerel for the main course.
The Sashimi was fresh (of course) and while the portion was smallish for 8 euros, it came with novel accoutrements. Instead of the regular wasabi & ginger combo, they had a wasabi sorbet and a lime-ginger glaze on the side.
The sorbet rocked! the wasabi was very upfront but stopped short of nose-clearing, while the lime ginger glaze was a little too sweet for my taste. Overall, a nice dish, but not worth 8 euros.
The main was much more to my liking. The fish was extremely well cooked, just tender, not over cooked. It came with a side of grilled veg which were tasty.
The preparation on the fish is extremely simple, which I loved because it really let the fish speak.
Total cost with a 1/2 bottle of house Vinho Verde was 24 euro
EDIT: they also have a small take out shop next door which sells the BEST seafood soup I've ever had! 2.50 for a very satisfying bowl
im here now and thought I would update this thread with the results.
Been here a day and a bit and so far Lisbon is delivering on all fronts food wise, but my picks have been quite researched thus far.
BomJardin - had dinner here on the first night after my first choice turned out to be closed on Mondays. A little disconcerting as the place is split between 2 spots across from each other. The older looking original location was shuttered and at first glance its newer extension looked like an impostor, don't worry it´s not. Ordering was a no-brainer. Frango Asado por favour!
The chicken came out quite fast, all crispety and spiced on the outside with a tender and moist inside. That was downed with liberal application of the piri piri oil on the table.
With 1 side, the total was 10 euros.
Day 2: Lunch - Made my way over to Cantinho Do Avillez. I found the menu quite limited in the breadth of stuff and prices, but in the end I found stuff. I had the Atun Conserva to start. Very very good, Europe continues to open my eyes to how good canned fish can be.
My main was the grilled Tuna. The tuna came perfectly seared on the outside and rare on the inside. really crisp sear, to the point that I wondered if it was fried.
It came with a julienne of carrots, peas in a vaguely japanese sweet & sour sauce. the sauce felt out of place with such a good piece of fish, but there wasn´t too much of it so it was okay.
One big off putting note was the charge for Cover and Water (tap, not sparkling). Plenty of smaller places don´t charge for Cover if you don´t eat it, theres no excuse for this place to do so.
Bill came to 25 euro for the food, 30 with the water and cover
Day 2 - Dinner @ Ramiro: I was looking forward to this meal since I love shellfish and it did not disappoint.
I ordered clams in garlic, giant tiger prawns, oysters and a Prego to end the meal. All washed down with Half a bottle of Casal Garcia Vinho Verde. Soooo worth the wait, not a single thing was cooked to anything but perfection and the boisterous crowd was perfect for a single diner like me.
I ate wayy too much but still might go back for the Crab.
The bill came to 48 euros. Pricey for one person but they delivered on the food.
I have 2 more days to go. Will update this thread as time passes
specifically for the stuff in my original post:
- Cheese: I really enjoyed the quejitos served as Petiscos. Its a regular menu item on most places in Lisbon
- Francesinha: The only version I had was a random cafe in Porto near the University. Not my bag, but its a salty, fatty, feast of a sandwich
- Ginjinha & Edwardinha: Had ginjinha everywhere I saw it but the best tasting one was in the tiny shop in Rossio square. The only Edwardinha was from a shop directly opposite the Rossio square ginjinha spot.
- Cataplana: didn't have one, but if you want a seafood soup, the daily soup served up by the take out counter of Sea Me (google for address) is very very good.
- Chourico: I ordered the grilled linguica at Principe Do Calhariz. It was pretty good, but I wouldn't order it again. Ungrilled would have been better, PS, don't go to Principe Do Calhariz. It's good but a big tourist draw and gets really crowded.
- Pastels: Here's the thing, these things are delicious when they come fresh out of the oven. At that time, it doesn't matter where you have them. However, the original shop in Belem has constant production hence the freshest pastels through the day. PS, try and get some Tart Almendoa at one of the pastelarias. amazing!
- Wine: I tried and quickly fell in love with Casal Garcia Vinho Verde. Quinta de Avaleda is also good. Vinho Verde was built for seafood
- Bacalhau: IT may be a national dish, but it pales in comparison to the fresh fish on offer everywhere. Try it wherever you see it on the menu of the day. I liked the grilled (Asada no Brasa) better than the one with fries.
Food everywhere was very good in general. The ethos os cooking fresh things simply assures good meals. What changes is the price and 'flare'.
- Sea Me for fish in a more western setting
- Cabracas for Beef on a burning hot stone. google it
- pasteis de belem for the custard tarts
- Cantinho Do Avillez for the Conserva appetizer
- Pedro Dos Frangos (Porto) and Bonjardim (Lisbon) for Frango no Brasa (roast chicken)
Thanks for posting. Principe do Calhariz is one of our favorites whenever we are visiting Lisbon. It does gets visitors but lots of locals eat there. Very good simple food, inexpensive for the quality and the turnover is fast.
We've only sat at the counter at See Me, lively and fun.
Maybe you should look at a few posts like this one: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/787440
For what it's worth:
- Portugese Cheeses everywhere... Specially from Azeitão and look for a good Serra.
- Francesinha The McDo of Porto, definitly a messy aquired taste. You might want to try it once and never again.
- Ginjinha & Edwardinha only place is Rossio.
- Cataplana of some sort. That's from the Algarve, so you won't find a good one in either Lisbon or Porto.
- Chourico: Rarely eaten on its own, but mostly used in cooking. Sometimes (and the best way) grilled at table on burning "aguardente".
- Fresh Grilled Sardines Every tasca in Lisbon or Porto, follow your nose. Traditionally best eaten at lunch time.
- All the wine (yes....all of it) Good luck! Go by price range. 10 to 15 Euros in a restaurant should get you a very decent bottle. Under that figure, you take a risk (but might have a good surprise). Over that, you should know in advance what you're buying.
- Bacalhau On every menu under one form or the other (each restaurant has it's own recipe, it seems
)- Natas and other sweet things (I hear the portugese love their sweets). Your first stop should be in Belem, but you might stop at any pasteleria en route and take your pick.
- A Cozido or 2 or a dozen. Again, dish of the day in any tasca.
All your desires are actually staple diet in Portugal, so the choice will be unlimited! May-be that's why you don't get answers...