After cooking around the world with Alain Ducasse and other starred chefs, André Fernandes moved with his partner Rita Chandre to Costa Rica in search of an exotic life filled with adventurous pursuits. They found a market for their talents catering luxurious events in spectacular natural settings. It was a blissful existence except for the feeling that the Portuguese call “saudade”: they missed Lisbon. One day, this feeling became so strong that they packed their recipe notebooks and flew back home.
They opened a restaurant in the Alcantara neighborhood called Attla that serves fresh fish from the Atlantic coast and seasonal, biological products. It is an intimate place with a relaxed vibe. We felt like we had been invited to a dinner party at a friend’s house. The food is wonderful, a combination of inventive textures and flavors that make the meal interesting and fun.
We tried many small plates that are perfect for sharing. Our dinner started with a “sarda,” a large Atlantic mackerel, adorned with Cordycep mushrooms, fried bread and a bechamel sauce made with miso and beer. It was followed by an extraordinary squid served with an ink curry, angel hair pasta and watercress. There were many more delights: artichokes with eggplant, sea spaghetti with a kefir emulsion, codfish with new onions and hazelnut chimichurri, royal mushrooms with cauliflower and Swiss chard, white asparagus with a palette of appetizing sauces, spicy blue shrimp with almond milk, bisque and potato noodle.
The dinner was brought to a perfect ending by a plate of strawberry and eucalyptus ice cream decorated with chocolate from Equador and a cracket made from hazelnut and carob.
Talking to André and Rita helped us understand why Lisbon is such a unique place. Young people travel the world looking for their vocation only to find that their talents shine most brightly in Lisbon.
Attla is located at Rua Gilberto Rola 65, email email@example.com, telephone 21 1510555 and 93 250 9887. Click here for the restaurant’s web site.