A Lisbon feast

De Castro Composit F

De Castro Flores doesn’t look like a restaurant, it looks like a convivial home where friends gather to share delicious food and great wine. There’s a spirit of celebration in the air created by the warm decoration, the friendly service, and the appetizing aromas.

We asked our waiter to bring us a series of small plates called petiscos. And so the feast began: clams with beans, cuttle fish with ink, partridge in escabeche, quail eggs with sausage, chamuças with cheese and honey, roasted octopus with potatoes, vegetable tempura with a garlic and lemon mayonnaise.

We left happy to have found a new restaurant where Portugal’s culinary traditions shine bright.

Restaurante De Castro Flores is located in Lisbon at Praça das Flores, Rua Marques Portugal, n. 1. Tel: 21 590 3077. Email: info@decastro.com. Click here for the restaurant’s web site.

Pizza in Lisbon

It happens to the best of us. You are in Lisbon, enjoying the fresh fish and the wonderful seafood when, suddenly, you have a craving for pizza! There’s no need to rush to the airport and fly to Naples. You can satisfy your longing for Italian food in Lisbon.

In the 1970s, Maria Paola Porru moved from Italy to Portugal to study cinema. Years later, she opened Casanostra, a restaurant in Bairro Alto, planning to go back to the movie industry once she made some money. But the restaurant was so successful that she continued to run it while working as a sound engineer in several motion pictures.

A few years ago, Porru opened the Pizzeria Casanova in a beautiful location by the Tagus river. The Pizzeria does not accept reservations and there is often a long line. It is here that young people go to see and be seen because, while they wait for some of the best pizza on this side of the Tiber, they feel they’re in a movie.

Restaurante Casanostra, Travessa do Poço da Cidade, nº 60, Bairro Alto, Lisboa, tel. 21 342 59 31, email Italma@sapo.pt. Restaurante Casanova, Avenida Infante Dom Henrique Cais da Pedra à Bica do Sapato, Loja 7, Lisboa, tel. 218877532. 

100 maneiras

The name is a play on words. “Cem maneiras” means one-hundred ways. But trade the “c” for an “s,” and you get “sem maneiras,” which means without etiquette. Both expressions hint at what makes this tiny restaurant in Lisbon’s Bairro Alto so special.

Yugoslavian chef Ljubomir Stanisic is a magician who combines traditional Portuguese ingredients in inventive ways. But his restaurant is not one of those culinary temples where diners must eat in reverent silence, heads bowed in a show of appreciation for the chef’s genius. The atmosphere at 100 Maneiras is unpretentious, and the only important etiquette rule is that guests have some great gourmet fun.

Restaurante 100 Maneiras, Rua do Teixeira, 35, Bairro Alto, tel. 910 307 575, email: info@restaurante100maneiras.com. Click here for 100 Maneiras’ web site.

Lamprey is in season!

Lampreia (lamprey) is a very strange fish that, somehow, gained favor with emperors and kings. The Romans included it in banquets prepared for Julius Caesar. The oldest known Portuguese cookbook, a 16th century collection of recipes attributed to Infanta D. Maria, has a single fish recipe that describes how to prepare and cook lamprey.

You don’t have to conquer Gaul or marry royalty to eat lamprey. Many Portuguese restaurants offer this delicacy between January and April. It is usually served stewed, accompanied with rice. You find excellent lamprey at Solar dos Presuntos, a traditional Lisbon restaurant where you can dine like a king.

Restaurante Solar dos Presuntos, Rua das Portas de Stº Antão, 150, Lisbon. Tel. 21 342 42 53, GPS coordinates: 38º43’07″N and 9º08’51″O. Click here for their website. 

Beer and seafood in Lisbon

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When Portuguese chefs are not working, they like to gather at Cervejaria Ramiro to enjoy some beer and seafood.

The restaurant is located in an unglamorous part of Lisbon and looks like an ordinary place. What makes it unique is its extraordinary seafood.

Ramiro does not serve farmed shrimp that arrives, tired and frozen, from far away lands. Instead, they offer you precious fresh shrimp from the Algarve. They prepare exquisite “carabineiros,” large shrimps once abundant in Spain but now available only in Portugal. They cook tender clams, a wonderful crab called “santola,” and salty percebes brought warm to the table.

Even though Ramiro is in business since 1956, it is excluded from tourist guides for national security reasons. If the Spaniards learned about Ramiro’s seafood, they might invade Portugal.

Av. Almirante Reis, nº1 – H, 1150-007 Lisboa, tel. 21 885 10 24, email geral@cervejariaramiro.pt, click here for website.

Tasca da Esquina

“Tasca” means a modest establishment that serves cheap wine and “petiscos” (the Portuguese word for “tapa”). When well-known chef Vitor Sobral opened this restaurant he probably called it tasca to signal its affordable price. But the quality is excellent.

There is a daily menu featuring small dishes, all original, all prepared with great care. There is also a degustation.

Three star food almost at tasca prices, that is what you get at Tasca da Esquina. Reservations are a must.

Rua Domingos Sequeira 41C , Campo de Ourique,  1350-119 Lisboa, Tel. 919 837 255, email info@tascadaesquina.com. Click here for web site.