UPDATE: THIS RESTAURANT HAS CHANGED ITS NAME TO “OUTRO RIO”
Any restaurant in Lisbon located on the waterfront is worth a try even if just for the location. So it had been months since I’ve been meaning to go to Xico’s (pronounced “sheecos”), located halfway between Comercio Square and Santa Apolonia Station right below Alfama by the river. The exact spot is Doca Jardim do Tabaco, a row of old warehouses now converted into restaurants. Xico’s is found on the upper floor of one of those warehouses, and below it and next to it are a number of other restaurants, although none as inviting. From what I had been told and seen on its website, the restaurant would have an attractive contemporary interior mostly in white, as well as a terrace facing the river, and that’s exactly what I found. I chose a table on the terrace and despite already being October, the night was quite pleasant and warm. Everyone else who showed up later also chose the terrace, with all the outdoor tables being taken by 9PM. There was still plenty of space available in the dining room, but if you enjoy al fresco dining, I suggest you either book a table in advance or show up early.
The menu has a slightly different concept, offering different dishes every day of the week. Only the two specialties “Bacalhau Ã Lagareiro” (poached cod with baked potatoes) and “EntrecÃ´te CafÃ© de Paris” are served any time you wish. I went for the safe bet, the cod, although with this essentially being an Iberian restaurant there was a variety of Spanish-style tapas to choose from. Instead of the usual big cod loin, the fish arrived sliced and shredded, while the sangria chosen by everyone at my table came with the right balance of fruit and alcohol. So the main course did not disappoint, but the desserts were the highlight of the evening. I chose the lemon and mint mousse topped with wild berries and it was one of the best desserts I’ve had in a while, although non-mint fans may not enjoy the stronger mint flavor over the lemon. I also tried some of the passion fruit pie ordered by a friend of mine, and it was equally good. My part of the bill was 25 euros, which was quite reasonable. I must also highlight the service which was very professional and the staff friendly and welcoming.
Xico’s (the official name seems to be “Xico’s Rio”) is therefore a relatively inexpensive choice on the waterfront, a restaurant to be discovered among the trendier options nearby (“Bica do Sapato” or “Casanova“). It also includes a bar where you can sample a variety of Portuguese and foreign wines, making this a place to consider for a business lunch or a more relaxed dinner.
It closes on Mondays and Sunday nights.