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It's been over 20 years since I was in Lisbon, and I forgot just how much fun the place is. I booked five nights there because of a hotel deal (5th night free) and was worried it was too much time. Throw in a couple of day trips to Sintra and I could have stayed longer.


Bocca - my favorite of the trip. Modern portuguese with a zillion wines by the glass. Excellent service (poured 1/2 of your glass of wine at a time to keep it from warming up; unlike white burgunduy, vinho verde should be served chilled).


First course: Azorean Tuna, Duck and Atlantic Horse Mackerel-Tuna and smoked duck roll with horse mackerel tartare, ginger and grapes, flying fish roe and red onion fake mayonnaise.


While it may be far from cutting edge to wrap smoked duck around tuna, the horse mackerel gave it a distinctive portuguese note. I loved it.


Second course :Turbot, Pine Nuts and Mussels -Sautéed fillet of turbot over seasonal vegetables and mushrooms sautéed with pine nuts, creamy mussel sauce

Superb quality turbot, with tiny mushrooms and fantastic mushroom sauce. Drank vinho verde by the glass.




Doca Peixe - great simple grilled fish. I had the clams (awesome) and a mullet/giant prawn combo, with a half bottle of vinho verde. Not much in the way of sauce, which was fine buy me. Excellent quality and good value if you watch the weight of what your order by the kilo.




Lisboa a Note - excellent traditional Portuguese food. I had a fish soup (sooo toothsome) and grouper with shrimp and clams. Superb (have I said that too many times?). Vinho verde by the glass, slightly pricier than other venues, but not by much.


Solar des Presuntos - the only one I wouldn't go back in a heartbeat. Acknowledged by locals as the best tradiional restaurant, it had a great start. A good value cover (see below for "cover", you got Portuguese pata negra bellota (no, not as good as the Portuguese, but pretty darn good), cured pork, aged cheese for 7 euros for a small, 10 for a large. Better yet, the Alentejo soft sheep cheese that is so addicting was under 5 euros for the piece (it's 6 in the store). Then I got a grilled scallops in garlic and oil dish - too salty. My wifes fried green beans (think tempura) were very good.


Since I was disappointed I tried for something different -- pickled lamprey eel in it's own blood. This was super, sort of like a portuguese pickled herring (but only sort of). The octipus main was pretty good and tender, but my wifes vegetarian entree - runner bean cakes- sucked. it was like a cod cake without the cod, i.e., just batter (with a few green specks). A bottle of Solheira Alvarinho (another vinho verde) was excellent and very reasonabluy priced.



A note about "covers". The will bring out bread, olives, cheese, ham, etc. If you don't eat it, you don't pay. If you nibble, you pay for the whole thing. You can wave it away and they won't bat an eyelash. Sometimes I took it, others not.


A note on wine bars; Garrafeira Alfaia was named one of Europe's 10 best wine bars by T&L (or mabye it was Food and Wine). It's fun but I'm not sure it's in Lisbon's top 5. Great location in Barrio Alto, and great snacks. Chafariz del vinho was better (incredible tapas of baby chantrelles on toast), although service was very slow (it's a very unique building).


By the way, Portuguese cheese is great. Go to the food halls of Il Corte Ingleses for an incredible array. They also have 7 types of Spanish Pata Negra de Bellota (as well as the somewhat inferior Portugese). The best was a little over $100/lb.


I loved Portuguese food.

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  • 8 years later...

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