We enjoyed trying a lot of the Portuguese delicacies while in Lisbon a couple of weeks ago, here are a couple of our highlights:
Pastel de Nata – you CANNOT go to Lisbon and not get one (or like us, a box of 6!) of these delicious mini egg custard tarts. When we were sightseeing in Belem we
passed by hunted down the Pasteis de Belem – the oldest and the best bakers in town. They sell over 10,000 of these a day, so you know they are a popular choice among the locals! (Visit their website, click on ‘Tour’ then ‘Visiting the Factory’ to see a short video of the process)
Bacalhau-a-Bras: – salted cod, served with matchstick fried potatoes and eggs. A traditional ‘comfort food’ for the Portuguese, we absolutely loved the flavours which all blended into a gorgeous texture .Definitely one that we want to recreate at home!
You can’t mention Portugal and not mention grilled fish. I enjoyed both salmon and sardines – melt in the mouth and so flavoursome.
Another delicacy are Croquettes, filled, with meat or fish. Mr B enjoyed these filled with cod.
Now onto restaurants. We ate out twice at portuguese restaurants and we felt that these are both worth recommending:
Sinal Vermalho (no website). We stumbled upon this place when wandering around the Biarro Alto district looking for our evening meal. This place looked full of locals, so we assumed that this was a good thing! We waited 15 minutes for a table and we were glad we did! This was the place where the above sardines and croquettes were consumed, as well as our main courses of sea-bream and cod. My main course (the cod) does look rather bland but the taste was incredible. Lots of slow cooked onions with the tender fish and crispy potatoes. Mr B enjoyed his sea bream served with diced peppers.
The Decadente – It was nice to go somewhere trendy, after the traditional meal we had enjoyed at Sinal Vermalho the previous evening. A great lively atmosphere with music and a regularly changing menu. Apologies in advance for poor quality iphone pictures! I enjoyed O Polvo (Octopus salad with sliced potatoes, red onion, oil and coriander) for starter, followed by Mushroom Tagliatelle. The portion was huge so I happily passed my leftovers to Mr B in order that I could fit in a dessert! Mr B had Pica-Pau; beef strips in a garlic and mustard sauce to start – unfortunately I can’t remember the name of his main course but it was a spicy pasta dish with huge prawns in a spicy tomato sauce. To finish I had an inverted cheesecake in a huge wine glass – the crumble ‘base’ had notes of cinnamon and the ‘cheesecake’ was deliciously light in it’s whipped stage. At the bottom was a sharp berry mix. Mr B chose a melting chocolate fondant, but by this point his meal (and my pasta) had taken it’s toll, so it was only polite for me to help him out with his dessert – right!?
I almost forgot to share a great little ice-cream place called Santini, which we found in Caiscais on our beach day but there are also outlets in Lisbon. The queue was out of the door but we peservered. I enjoyed mango, peach and vanilla flavours. I found it less creamy than italian gelato and as a result felt a lot lighter on the tummy!
Finally, I’ll share a Cocktail Lounge that was right opposite our apartment. Cinco Lounge offers a HUGE range of cocktails. We’d head back there again, but we noticed it was really dark (obviously low lighting is a good concept for a cocktail lounge, but this seemed REALLY dark to us) – to the point that I almost had to resort to using the light on my phone in order to peruse the menu. The other slightly random thing was that the boss was sitting with his laptop and with earphones in at a seating area and kept taking loud phone calls – obviously from some business associates, which slightly detracted from the other wise chilled atmosphere. However it was a good place for us to grab a pre dinner cocktail, which were both delicious!