It is common for writers to imagine new worlds and share them with us. But it is uncommon for chefs to pursue this creative strategy. José Avillez, the Michelin-starred chef of Belcanto, dreamed of an old Lisbon neighborhood where friends gathered to share great food. He imagined timeworn buildings guarded by carved wooden doors with windows adorned by crocheted curtains.
When the space once occupied by the 13th-century Convent of Trindade became available, Avillez seized the opportunity to make his dreams come true. He invited architect Joana Astolfi to design an installation inspired by old building facades, artist Cátia Pessoa to create ceramic sculptures representing fish and vegetables, and painter Henriette Arcelin to produce a large tile panel at the famous Viúva Lamego factory.
The result is a fun atmosphere perfect to enjoy the classics of Portuguese cuisine, refined and, in some cases, reinvented. Bairro do Avillez (Avillez’s neighborhood) has a grocery store (Mercearia) with some of the chef’s favorite products, a tapas bar (Taberna), and a restaurant (Páteo).
In the Taberna, you can eat a wide variety of “petiscos” (the Portuguese word for tapas), from Portuguese prosciutto and sausages, to codfish with cornbread, and roasted piglet.
The Páteo offers pristine fish from the Portuguese coast, grilled, cooked with rice, or combined with bread, olive oil and garlic in a fragrant “açorda.” The menu also includes great seafood (lobster, shrimp, clams, crab, and razor clams), delicious steaks, and grilled black pork from Alentejo.
There’s a wonderful house wine made in collaboration with Quinta do Monte d’Oiro. And there is also a great new line of artisanal beers called Selection 1927.
We told José Avillez that we were impressed to see him take time to welcome the people who walked in to see the new space. He told us that these gestures are important to him: “What makes Portugal unique is the combination of great ingredients and a rich culinary tradition with our warm hospitality.”
Chef José Avillez is a dreamer who makes Lisbon more fun with his gracious demeanor and delicious food. It is a privilege to be in his neighborhood.
Bairro do Avillez is located at Rua Nova da Trindade, 18, Lisbon, tel. 215 830 290.
13 thoughts on “Avillez’s neighborhood”
Reblogged this on The Portugal Years and commented:
“What makes Portugal unique is the combination of great ingredients and a rich culinary tradition with our warm hospitality.” It could not be described better.
Oh what superb ambassadors for your wonderful country you are. What with Portugal’s music, history and food, at this rate we will simply have to come and live there. BTW, my great grandmother was a Sra Serafin DaCosta of Portugal, perhaps that may go some way to explaining my love for your country so much. But, then, my wife has no connection but loves the country as much as me 🙂
Thank you so much. We’re so glad to see that you understand the beauty of Portugal.
Would that place have been created in place of Cervejaria da Trindade where my mother took me so often in the seventies ?
No, Cervejaria Trindade continues to operate. Bairro is a few doors down.
Ok, thanks, i ll try obe of those years. I used to go to Cervejaria Trindade with my mother’s friends, painters (Luis Lobato, Gandra, Adriano de Carcalho, Maria,Keil do Amaral…). Some still have their table and memory storytelling description at Brasileira do Chiado inside entrance) and singers. Such as Jose Godinho. She knew “Zek” Jose Afonso too, but he didn’t go there…
That is a great group of people!
We walked into Jose Avillez’s Cantinho in Chiao without knowing much about it. We were lucky to get a table, and enjoyed it so much (I remember the grilled black pork) that we went to another of his restaurants nearby, and then again to the Cantinho in Porto. I wish we had known about the Bairro when we visited Portugal. It would have been nice to taste the beers. We’ll certainly keep it in mind if we go back.
I wish I’d been reading your blog for a year before our trip.
Thanks for reading our blog. Bairro do Avillez opened about one week ago. You’ll have to come back to try i!
I’m looking forward to it
Your blog is fantastic. I am very glad that you liked our post on Tioga1444.wordpress.com as this is how we found your blog.
I am also happy to report that after reading post last night, we went back Lisbon today and were extremely satisfied with the ambience and high quality of the food JA’s taverna.
Thanks again for guiding us there
Dear Philip: thank you so much for reading our blog. We are glad you had a chance to check out the Avillez taberna.