Moor Than Meets the Eye: Lisbon’s “Casa do Alentejo”

Casa do Alentejo, LisbonRua das Portas de Santo Antão is a pedestrian street usually filled with tourists. It’s home to two famous restaurants listed in almost every guidebook (Gambrinus for seafood; Bonjardim for spicy chicken), and it’s parallel to Restauradores Square which everyone passes by at least once during their Lisbon visit. There are so many distractions on that street (particularly waiters standing outside their restaurants approaching you to convince you to sit and have a meal), that you completely overlook the building at number 58. That’s quite understandable, though. There’s no way of knowing what’s behind that door unless someone tells you about it in advance.

Once you enter and go up the steps you’ll find a peculiar Moorish courtyard as if transplanted from Morocco or Spain’s Andalusia.  Go up another flight of steps and you arrive in a hallway completely covered in tiles and antique furnishings. It originally was the 17th century residence of an aristocratic family, and in the early 20th century was turned into a casino. In 1932 it became a club for those from the province of Alentejo to meet, as it continues to be today.  A restaurant has been added and is open to everyone.

Casa do Alentejo Restaurant occupies two beautiful rooms decorated with tile panels and serves regional specialties. The atmosphere is quite informal but also romantic due to the setting, and is a good choice for families. You can also rent a big hall for private events, which includes a stage and beautiful Louis XVI-style mirrors and ornaments.

Back by the Moorish courtyard is a shop selling Alentejo specialties, including its famous wines and olive oil.

Comments are closed.