April 15, 2013
There is only so much food we can eat, so my mission is to fill our tummies with only goodness whenever we travel, well mostly anyway. Even though we have our misses, you can be spared the misery of a bad meal experience. I truly believe that the essentials of travel include a list of places to eat, as what better way to know a culture than to revel in its cuisine? Enjoy the blogs, and don’t worry if you find yourself salivating a little.
Away we go!
A haven for seafood, a city of culinary tradition, Lisbon brings their A-game to challenge the palate and leave your mouth watering for more. We indulged our bellies with fresh seafood, fusion cuisine (blending staple dishes with modern flair) and timeless delights. Here are the top picks.
Where: Rua Duques de Bragança 7, 1200-162 Lisbon, Portugal (+351 211 992 369)
Notable: A small restaurant with simple elegant décor. This place says upscale but not snooty. We arrived during lunch and were almost turned away as we did not have a reservation. Luckily enough a table opened up for us, so please make reservations!
Price: Above the average price for a meal in Lisbon, but oh so worth it!
This is the everyday traditional Portuguese steak sandwich with a wicked, mouth watering holy sh*t twist. A tender slice of ¾ inch medium cooked steak dripping with truffle oil and layered with a dollop of foie gras sandwiched between warm, crispy bread. Each bite of this sinful upgrade of Portuguese tradition oozes the collection of juices out of the bread to bring a rich savory taste into your happy belly. Now I’m sad because every steak sandwich I have in the future will have to be compared to this one… the bar is now raised to a neck straining height.
Truthfully, this is the best dessert I’ve ever eaten in my life. Ever. Each mouthful of this mind-blowing concoction combines creamy and sweet hazelnut ice cream, a soft, fluffy and light hazelnut mousse with a generous sprinkle of chopped hazelnuts. This triple threat of hazelnut warfare on your senses is then topped off by a twist of freshly ground sea salt bits, which evens out the spoonful of heavenly sweetness and sends you floating into a warm, glowing oblivion… ahhh.
Other notable delights:
The tiny cast iron pot held the heat in the dish just right. Each spoonful was soft to chew and yet provides the perfect bounce when you clamp your jaws down on this juicy savory gamey goodness with a hint of citrus provided by a dash of lemon rind. The taste of cumin is also not overpowering and adds a tinge of spice to the dish.
Perfectly cooked fresh shrimp doused with garlic and Portuguese olive oil. The best part of this dish is lapping up the shrimp and garlic infused olive oil with bread as a sponge.
Where: Av. Almirante Reis nº1 – H, 1150-007 Lisbon, Portugal (+351 218 851 024)
Notable: A seafood restaurant that delivers just that: fresh and delicious seafood. The place is unassuming, no fancy décor, but it was packed. We were able to get in early, but when we finished, we had to fight our way out. Get ready to be messy, get ready to eat!
Price: Very reasonable for a seafood restaurant, but if you are starving, be prepared to shell out some money. Or you can chow down on the complimentary plate of bread rolls (please don’t).
Growing up in Singapore means that I am a fan of Crab. Pepper crab, Butter crab, Chilli crab, Oatmeal crab, you name it. I’ve been cracking crab shells open since I was a little kid. At Ramiro’s I was greeted with the sweet taste of crab once again, but with an additional treat this time. The top shell of the crab was over turned like a bowl and filled with a tapenade of delectable crab eggs and other goodies!
The thin shell was in stark comparison to the tough brown shell of the crab in the earlier dish. I was able to split the pincer into two with my fingers and eagerly sucked on the pink flesh gleaming under the fluorescent ceiling lights. It was sweet… like sea sugar. It tasted light and instantly felt like I had the essence of the ocean in my palate. The flesh was springy but not chewy, a true seafood lovers dream.
Other notable delights:
Olive oil and garlic infused fresh clams baked perfectly.
Prawns the size of your hands, (well, I’m talking normal sized hands, not bear paws mind you) charcoal grilled and doused with olive oil.
Where: Rua de Belém nº 84 a 92, 1300-085 Lisbon, Portugal (+351 213 637 423)
Where: Breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, whatever. Any meal of Pastéis is a good meal
Notable: Belém is where Portuguese egg tarts originated from and this confectionary serves the original recipe dating back to the 1830s. An ever-crowded storefront, this place has tables reaching far back into the bowels of the building. You will find a spot even at peak hours. I’m not sure if there are non-peak hours, but you WILL find a table, I’m sure of it!
Price: Cheap fare, but if you gulp down a dozen egg tarts every sitting, it may burn a tiny hole in your wallet after a few sugar high visits.
Pure Portuguese gold… In fact, I’m thinking of registering a safe deposit box and filling it with these nuggets of sinful pleasure. If you go to Lisbon, you have to go to Belém and partake in this experience. After roaming the maze of seemingly never ending corridors of tables and chairs, we found an empty spot. We ordered 4 of these babies at one go, but very quickly had to place an additional order of 4 as the tarts quickly disappeared and we were left staring at the empty plate smacking our lips. The light crispy flakes delicately form a bowl that holds the perfectly browned custard. The combination of the slightly salty pastry and the soft, sweet, cinnamon doused custard was simply amazing. So amazing that we came back a few hours later, begging for more. Gold I tell you, gold…
Other notable delights
Apart from coffee to wake you up from the Pastéis induced coma, there are no other notable delights. Seriously, don’t waste your belly space and go get another plate of Pastéis!
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