O Cantinho do Avillez

This small restaurant near Chiado has a funky, bohemian décor that makes it look like a theater set. The servers, all implausibly good looking and articulate, are clearly trained actors.

Chef José Avillez directs this food theater. He has great credentials, having apprenticed with Alain Ducasse and Ferran Adrià. Here he cooks traditional fare with original variations that create new layers of taste.

It is difficult to choose from the menu because everything is so delicious. There is vegetable tempura that is crunchy and crisp, savory partridge turnovers with an intense, gamey flavor, homemade canned tuna with a pungent mayonnaise of ginger and lime, sautéed chicken liver and grapes perfumed with Port wine, and so much more.

When you leave O Cantinho you feel like you’ve just seen a wonderful play that you would love to see again.

Rua dos Duques de Bragança, 7, Lisboa, tel. 21-199-2369. Click here for the restaurant’s website. Reservations are a must.