Lisbon in New York

Alfama, New YorkThere have been fewer posts on this blog in the past couple of weeks because I haven’t been in Lisbon. I returned to New York for a few days, but still found the Portuguese capital in several places around the Big Apple.  If you’re in that American metropolis before you cross the Atlantic to Lisbon, there are a few places to get you acquainted with Portuguese flavors and history before your trip.

Get a taste of Alfama in Greenwich Village at the appropriately named Alfama Restaurant. You’ll admire a tile panel on a wall depicting the Santa Luzia Viewpoint and the Alfama rooftops as you wait for your refined version of a traditional Portuguese dish.  If weather permits, you may also choose to sit outside, a great spot to enjoy a good Portuguese wine as you dine.  Sample the bacalhau (cod), the chouriço (sausage), the seafood, and everything else that you just may find in a real Alfama restaurant.

Earlier in the day, try some Portuguese pão (bread) at Pão! It’s a cosy, simple place on Spring St. (walking distance from all the main action in SoHo), Pão!, New York where you can order a caldo verde (perhaps the most famous of all Portuguese soups), an octopus salad, or the obligatory bacalhau dish.  There’s Portuguese wine too, and just like at “Alfama,” outdoor sitting.

Pão! is more casual while Alfama aspires towards finer dining. If you choose only one, go for Alfama. I didn’t dine at either during this last visit to New York, but I did try them when I was still living there.  If I was to introduce anyone to the flavors of Lisbon in New York, Alfama would be my choice.

Elsewhere, as you walk down Central Park West you’ll find a synagogue founded by the first Jewish settlers in North America. They were Portuguese and Spanish Jews who fled the Inquisition. Today it’s known as the “Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue” and it will be an introduction to that dark period in the history of Lisbon, when the Inquisition took place in Rossio Square.

Almost across the street you’ll find the Strawberry Fields in Central Park. That’s home to the tribute to John Lennon, made with stones creating a reproduction of an old mosaic from Pompeii, Italy but that as you’ll confirm, uses the same technique and style of Portuguese calçada, the traditional pavements you’ll step on everywhere in Lisbon.

Another connection between Lisbon and New York is the borough of Queens, named for Portugal’s Catherine of Bragança, as GoLisbon Blog told you about here.  Then there’s the fact that Lisbon is the closest European capital to Manhattan, further making you want to hop on a plane to see the real Lisbon for yourself.


Portuguese and Spanish Synagogue, New York

2 Responses to “Lisbon in New York”

  1. Go Lisbon Blog » Blog Archive » The Best of GoLisbon Blog in 2008 Says:

    […] Lisbon in New York […]

  2. Go Lisbon Blog » Blog Archive » Lisbon in New York – Part II Says:

    […] where you can get to know a little of Portuguese culture across the Atlantic. In the previous Lisbon in New York post we highlighted the Big Apple’s Portuguese restaurants and the historical Portuguese […]