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Lisbon report

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Our two top meals in Lisbon

Belcanto
The room is well appointed, simple but confortable, preserving the old gentlemans club atmosphere.

The food is truly excellent, regarding creativity, flavour and presentation. We had the Menu - a selection of classic José Avillez dishes. These preceded by an amazing couvert of a few bite size dishes, all very creative.

Service, however, needs some improvement if they want to reach the top: the sommelier rolled his eyes while we were asking for the wines to go with each dish; they forgot to bring napkins to the table until we reminded them; my initial gin and tonic glass sat at the table for quite a long time after being empty.

Last but not least... this place has 1 star and 3 star prices.
We paid 240€ for two.

Assinatura
Lisbon is one of those cities that Michelin has yet to fully discover. Not surprisingly, the few restaurants that have received a star, are charging relatively high prices to hapless tourists. Though if you do a bit of research for yourself, you’ll discover that Lisbon has a vibrant dining scene that extends well beyond the guidebooks.

Tucked in the behind the smart Avenida Liberdade and Príncipe Réal is Restaurant Assinatura; a fantastic example of creative, Portuguese cuisine built on tradition.

A stunning dish kicks off the tasting menu with a seemingly bonkers combination of ingredients. White beans are blended with a smoked goat’s cheese to create smooth paste, surrounded by seasonal cherries and is topped with 17 “aromatic” herbs. The tangy, sweet bite of the cherries gives a wonderful contrast against the smoky, rich paste, while a light cherry consommé allows you to mix elements to create your own texture and taste. The herbs give fresh, acidic and even floral notes to the dish. This is very clever cooking.

For the fish starter, incredibility fresh tiger prawns are cooked so delicately that a clever boundary between translucent sashimi and soft, melting flesh is achieved. Beside them is a pungent, garlicky foam which is heavenly. The dish is then completed by a deep bisque-style sauce and lively dashes of green parsley oil.

Two mains are then presented, which are both stunning. Easily the biggest portions of turbot we’ve ever seen are once again delicately cooked, falling into buttery slices and accompanied by an even more buttery beurre Nantais, whipped into a sabayon for lightness. Freshness comes from crisp summer vegetables. Next is the square of suckling pig, which has the trademark layers of crisp skin, melting fat and velvety meat. This treat is balanced with a sharp onion, coriander and clam salad.

Front of house is impeccable too, giving expert explanations of the dishes and wines with warm, genuine service. Assinatura is an excellent choice for relaxed fine dining with a true passion for creative cooking. It should definitely be on your list of places to eat in Lisbon.
We paid 148€ for two.

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  1. Would you have any recommendations for lunch? I have already booked Belcanto

    4 Replies
    1. re: sophie_TO

      What style do you like and in which area will you be? Lisbon is a big city!

      1. re: monchique

        Hi Monchique, We booked accommodations on a street called Rua Flores, Travessa da Espera, Lisbon,1200. We are looking for places in the city centre and also willing to travel by metro, if it's close to the station. We are there for 6 days. We 're already going to Belcanto and 100maneiras for dinner. Thanks!

        1. re: sophie_TO

          You will be in the heart of the Bairro Alto, and I suggest you read this (although it's for students, it will put the area where you're staying in perspective): www.erasmuslifelisboa.com/life-in-lis...
          Also, I think you should study this guide, it is extremely accurate, and covers the whole of Lisbon for restaurants and "must see". Here is the section on your area: http://www.lisbonlux.com/magazine/the...
          My favourites for lunch are all very classic: Brasserie Flo at the Tivoli on Liberdade for oysters, Vela Latina in Belem and Gambrinus in Rossio.I also like the restaurant on the roof of the Sheraton ("Panorama") for a romantic evening with the best view of Lisbon and the "Feitoria" in the Hotel Altis Belem (terrace on the river). Otherwise it's very much a "tosta mista" in the nearest cafe...
          There are several threads on this board for "simpler" restaurants like http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9873... and http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8990...
          Enjoy!

          1. re: monchique

            Thanks very much Monchique. You're the best!

    2. Travel52. Just a quick reply about Belcanto prices and Michelin starred restaurants in Portugal in general: "this place has 1 star and 3 star prices". If you know of any 3 star restaurant in any city in the world where you can have dinner with wine for 120 euros p.p., I would love to know of it!
      Seriously, the price is quite normal for a 1 Michelin star in Lisbon. I know both Feitoria in Belem and Fortaleza do Guincho are in a similar bracket. Eleven probably even more expensive, but I have not been for a while (I hate snotty service).
      Glad you enjoyed "Assinatura" though. But enjoy it now, because if it gets a star, the prices will follow... C'est la vie!

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