Lisbon, Portugal

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30507368631_73cc0852aa_cChristina and I landed in Lisbon late afternoon (it was just a two-hour flight from London).

30430588532_629783d74c_cWe checked-in at Pousada de Lisboa, took a nap, and then walked to dinner at…

30430580892_e87e3c5459_c…Mercado da Ribeira. First stop, Balcão da Esquina for limpets. Prepared with garlic butter, lemon, and parsley.

30430577342_5100cf59de_c Razor clams with spearmint and corinader. Our first seared tuna sandwich of the night…

29916633984_9305392b79_c…and a second one at SeaMe. This one was served on carob bread…

29916635674_d72ab17432_c…and seared sardine nigiri. Love the salt here, soft and flecked on nearly every seafood dish we encountered this trip.

30459494341_d1c0a68556_cGelato at Santini. Milk-caramel and raspberry, gently scoop-swirled together.

30547222475_d6b00a2719_cAnd a slice of chocolate cake/mousse/cookie from the bakery next door.

30547225605_7406217b10_cOne more snack before heading home. A big, fat fig (so juicy). Stuffed with prosciutto. From Manteigaria Silva. We returned for post-dinner treats the next two nights but they were sold out both times. Little did we know how lucky we got that first evening.

29985558393_ea139abaa2_cA morning walk through town…

30480886211_6b3d1ec8c0_c…to pick up winter gloves at Luvaria Ulisses. I was eyeing the one with mink cuffs (on the right). But they were out of my size. Alas, ended up with a beautiful black pair lined in rabbit fur.

30480881561_2ee0cefa02_cLunch! Cervejaria Ramiro. First, the spider crab. Live…

29937485934_2cac9d409d_c…and then ready to eat. Sides of hot bread and butter to sop up all the brains and roe.

30480879081_249a6993c1_cGoose barnacles, served chilled.

30269852180_fa352367b3_cGrilled giant tiger shrimps.

30269850670_f5109e7f14_cThe star of the meal…carabineiros! These were wonderful. So wild and red and sweet. We decided to come back again for lunch the next day. (Notice more of that local salt flecked on top.)

29937475074_9bc3325e05_cPost-lunch sweet at another location of Santini…

30568834125_688562703d_c…more milk caramel, this time scooped with ricotta and red fruits. Christina had milk caramel with lilikoi.

30532671356_d69bffdc46_cManteigaria to pick up pastéis de nata…

30480821301_df623033a6_c…a half-dozen for afternoon snack.

29935282583_85a151eeb4_cAnd snack we did! They were still warm.

30269820340_c3ee8f0568_cA stop at Landeau for tea, sit down and chit chat time. Will return for the chocolate cake.

30532792076_7928b8a237_cDinner at Café Lisboa. Broad beans with cilantro…

30568967675_85702f764b_c…and Portuguesinha (a classic Portuguese pastry stuffed with beef and deep-fried). It’s large but mostly hollow inside, super light.

30532786506_5f9be1f8a1_cBacalhau à bras. Another traditional Portuguese dish, this made of salt cod, potatoes, and eggs. Topped with exploding olives (which we would also encounter at other José Avillez restaurants over the next few days).

30480943231_6952850e54_cLagareiro-style octopus. Perfectly cooked. Served with steamed/roasted potatoes and olive oil.

30568948255_1e07047f96_cBack to Mercado da Ribeira in search of prosciutto-stuffed figs.

29961605363_bd27c9f908_cMorning sights…what a dream!

30507359291_433d58ae10_cConserveira de Lisboa to pick up a dozen tinned treats. Sardines, tuna, mackerel…many good things.

30558815596_ef14640ae0_cBack to Cervejaria Ramiro. This time we start with pata de negra…

30558795616_339f02bf05_c…and then the “edible crab” (not sure why it’s call that). The spider crab from the previous day was served warm. Edible crab was presented chilled.

30558803736_e7844a4f56_cBut really, all we wanted were carabineiros. All the carabineiros. In retrospect we should have ordered a dozen of these and nothing else. So very pleased.

29961607263_497dcf54f6_cLook at that!

30559416696_5b98bb8263_cAnd then a 20-minute cab ride to Pastéis de Belém

30559411646_e3be4890fa_c…a pair to share.


29963914484_8784bf146e_cTore de Belem.

29962385173_47351d83dd_cBack at the hotel it occurred to us that security might not allow us to bring all these tins in our carry-on. So we decided to eat all dozen tins for breakfast the next morning.

30479244222_d1a1892957_cBut first, dinner at Mini Bar.

30296508770_a5a4243dab_cWe ordered the “Epic Menu” (basically a surprise tasting menu). Ready? From left to right: Ferrero Rocher (made of foie gras), El Bulli olives 2005, and green apple-spearmint Margarita.

30508110581_7722e49964_cLeft: “roasted chicken” with avocado cream, cottage cheese, piri piri and lemon. Left: Algarve prawns in ceviche

29962362093_3e3aaf68b1_cLeft: beef tartar cone with mustard emulsion. Right: tuna tartar temaki cone with spicy soy.

29962361033_f44ae53029_cFoie gras terrine with grapes and port.

30479251762_6a668fd210_cPan-seared scallops with Thai curry.

30479248892_35c3a31158_cJAburger with PDO beef and “tater tots” – heavenly!

30479246762_5a51356664_cA lime-lemon globe (custard, mousse, and sorbet) for dessert.

30296493450_ccca713f88_cMignardises of peppered truffles and lilikoi-coconut guimauves.

30269794440_c43bde7504_cAs decided the night before, we ate all the tins of sardines, tuna, and mackerel for breakfast. We ate it with toast, that local salt, and bits of granola. Followed by a quartet of pastéis de nata at the hotel restaurant (these were our favorite pastéis de nata of the trip…right size, super custardy and just salty enough). Polished off in time for lunch at Belcanto. Saving the best for last.


30619419465_ae01ec19e9_cTable for two (and some of the most gracious service I’ve encountered in a long time). We did the Discoveries tasting menu, about 10 courses paced over 2.5 hours.

30583303546_76dbf68154_cRecognize these exploding olives?

30583306016_5903ac2c75_cGarlic and carrots.

30583312776_6da57485aa_cLocal beans…

29985623583_ab29e139f1_c…we loved the flavors so much the server brought a whole cupful of the cooked beans for us to snack on.

29985622163_a807127bc3_cHot pumpkin.

30531375341_78ed15d313_cTuna tartare cones tucked inside the flower pot.

29985621693_bf24c4ed15_cChicken skin, liver mousse.

30583282546_5899fb94b5_cPlucked goose barnacles and finger limes.

29985617273_c9df10abd6_cButters. Plain, tomato-sausage, and ash. All whipped.

29987700434_a49c4c6812_cExcellent bread service. (My only regret from the trip was not eating more bread during this lunch.)

29987694284_7149087eac_cA warm, nutty, super savory cornbread…possibly the best cornbread I’ve ever had?? On the right, a twisted brioche-esque olive roll.

30502418732_c773dcab6a_cRed mullet

30502415512_922f035c82_cCarabineiros! This time grilled with rosemary ashes

30319493530_c5a297a2b8_cA hot porridge of bivalves and prawns.

30583259006_0d91eacc10_cA “Portuguese pot-au-feu”

29987682494_8d0ba5e4b6_cOxtail with bone marrow and foie gras. White truffles and veal tendons. Onion cream and Serra cheese. All the most decadent things, combined.

30583257126_457ffd9e14_cPalate cleaner of green plums, rose, and strawberries.

30319480110_2267fa4d5f_cLike the globes from Mini Bar the night before, only in the flavors of tangerine.

30619421615_81ccb9e5f2_cAnd an all-Portuguese cheese plate.

30531356471_6ec7b3e627_cMignardises: lilikoi guimauves, frozen raspberry, olive oil gelée, and charcoal candy.

29961634823_63f9125572_cOne last walk, and then off to the airport.

30507384961_df51484593_cTill we meet again ^-^


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