Archive for February, 2010

Lisbon According to Poet Fernando Pessoa

Friday, February 26th, 2010

Lisbon by poet Fernando Pessoa

There have been several tourist DVD about Lisbon released by the city’s tourism office over the years, but although they all feature beautiful images of the Portuguese capital, they always seemed to lack something in the narration, adding no more than what a Flickr gallery or GoLisbon’s own photo album could offer. But a recently-released DVD has changed that, offering beautiful shots of the city (from aerial views to close-up details of landmarks) together with an insightful guide to Lisbon by one of Portugal’s biggest cultural icons. That is Fernando Pessoa who’s also widely considered to be one of Europe’s greatest poets of the 20th century, who left behind an English-language tourist guide to Lisbon when he died. It was only found and published much after his death, and although it dates from the early 20th century, it’s interesting to note just how current it remains. That’s because his description of the view of Lisbon from the river Tagus is timeless, and because a large part of the city’s attractions are its centuries-old landmarks and the emotions they can all create together.
But this DVD also starts out by showing contemporary Lisbon and goes on to present the tour suggested by Pessoa, with a narration that includes some of his poems and the text from his “What the Tourist Should See” book. That narration is available in several languages — English, Spanish, French, Italian, and German, as well as two Portuguese versions — one for Portuguese viewers, and another by a Brazilian narrator for those Brazilians who may have difficulty in understanding the accent from Portugal.
At the end of the film there is a number of extras, all interviews with some of the narrators (the Portuguese, Brazilian, Spanish, and American), plus the director and a literary advisor who’s compiled much of Pessoa’s work. They all talk about their involvement in the process of creating the film and share their personal relationships with Lisbon, as well as how Fernando Pessoa has helped them better understand the city and even themselves. Especially evocative of the Lisbon magic and the mark it can leave on visitors is the interview of the Brazilian narrator which is subtitled for those who don’t understand Portuguese.
This is therefore a film that no one from Lisbon will want to miss, and one that tourists will want to acquire as a reminder of their visit to the city.  It’s also a great way to share the city with others who haven’t yet visited.
Look for it wherever DVD are sold in the city, with the most popular and perhaps most convenient being the FNAC store in Chiado. The price is 20 euros and you can get more details here.

“Monstra” – Lisbon’s Animated Film Festival 2010

Thursday, February 25th, 2010

Monstra - Festival de Animação de Lisboa

Fans of animation will want to be in Lisbon for the city’s Animated Film Festival from the 11th to the 21st of March. “Festival Monstra 2010” will screen animated films from around the world, including a selection of shorts competing for the “Best Short” prize. There will also be a special section dedicated to Portugal’s animated films throughout the country’s cinema history, with the oldest film shown dating from 1923. All of these Portuguese films and most of the other foreign ones will be shown at Cinema São Jorge in Avenida da Liberdade, while other screenings will also be presented at Cinema City Alvalade and the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation among other venues.
The first “Monstra” was held in 2000 and its goal is to promote the art of animation from around the world, with workshops, master classes, and special exhibitions accompanying the screenings.
You can get all the details of this year’s festival at the official website: www.monstrafestival.com

Lisbon Restaurant Week, February-March 2010

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010

Lisboa Restaurant Week

Following on from the May 2009 and October 2009 editions we told you about here, the Lisbon restaurant Week starts again tomorrow in its third edition and goes on until 6th March.

This iniciative, originated in New York 16 years ago and implemented in many other capitals since, allows diners to sample gourmet dishes at Lisbon’s top restaurants for the excellent price of 20 euros per person (drinks not included). For every client, 1€ is then donated to charity.

Thus the objective of Lisboa Restaurant Week is to help different charities and provide easy access to quality dining, and participating restaurants in this edition once again include Casa da Comida, Conventual, Cop’3, Eleven, Gemelli, Mezzaluna, Olivier, and XL, amongst many more (full list below).

For this edition, and to commemorate the Peixe em Lisboa event to be held in April, participating restaurants will also offer a special fish dish option for 25 euros.

See the full list of restaurants below, and if you’re not in Lisbon during the next 2 weeks, don’t worry, you can still check out our Lisbon restaurants guide for other excellent dining recommendations.

1. Ad Lib
2. Alecrim às Flores
3. Associação Naval de Lisboa
4. Brasserie Flo Lisboa
5. Bubbly
6. Casa da Comida
7. Clara Jardim Restaurante
8. Coffee Shop do Real
9. Coisas de Comer
10. Conventual
11. Cop’3
12. Eleven
13. Faz Figura
14. Flores
15. Fontana Park Hotel- Restaurante Bonsai
16. Fontana Park Hotel- Saldanha Mar
17. Gemelli
18. Guarda Real- Hotéis Real Portugal
19. Il Gattopardo
20. Kais
21. L’Appart
22. Lapa
23. Mezzaluna
24. Momento Gourmet
25. Olivier Café
26. Panorama- Sheraton Lisbon Hotel
27. Petra Rio
28. Pratus
29. Quinta dos Frades by Chakall
30. Restaurante Aviz
31. Restaurante El Corte Inglés
32. Sessenta
33. Sofisticato
34. Spot Lx
35. Spot São Luiz
36. Suite- Food and Dance
37. Tágide
38. Terraço
39. Varanda
40. Varanda de Lisboa
41. Vela Latina
42. XL

More info at http://www.lisboa-restaurantweek.com

“OPAQ” – Lisbon’s Most Fashionable New Restaurant

Monday, February 22nd, 2010

Restaurante Opaq, Lisbon

UPDATE: This restaurant has closed.

Lisbon’s latest restaurant was one thought for the beautiful people. One of the owners is the president of the Elite model agency, the others are models, and the place is also meant to be a meeting point for the fashion world. “Opaq” is found on a street lined with mostly-abandoned buildings just off Largo Conde Barão in the Santos neighborhood, and was given a glamorous look to match the intended clientele. It’s all about contemporary design, with white and purple tones, all dimly lit.
Considering all of this, you’d expect it to be a pretentious, exclusive place, but it’s actually not looking to become the hot restaurant of the moment. Although it’s linked to the fashion tribes, it’s open and welcoming to everyone.
Usually restaurants by and for the pretty faces and trendy crowds tend to concentrate more on style and forget about the quality of the food, but at Opaq there seems to be an effort to also have an attractive menu. The chef cooks up mostly Portuguese/Mediterranean cuisine, innovating the most traditional dishes, and offering them at surprisingly reasonable prices.

Address: Boqueirão do Duro, 50 (ao largo Conde Barão)
Phone: 213 940 602
Opening times: Closed on Sundays all day and Mondays at dinner time. Lunches served Monday to Friday from 12PM to 3PM.
Website: http://www.opaq.pt/

The New Café in Lisbon’s Jardim do Torel

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010

Jardim do Torel Café

Now that daylight is becoming prolonged and the temperatures will start to rise (spring is just about four weeks away!), Lisbon is offering you a new spot for a drink in the sun. Just opened in the recently-renovated Jardim do Torel, this is another viewpoint café where you can admire the city as you enjoy a light meal or a refreshing drink. It’s not one of those charming old kiosk cafés opened last summer, but rather a brand-new and contemporary structure. You can sit indoors or at a table outside, enjoying a salad, toasted sandwich, a chocolate or cheesecake, or a freshly squeezed juice starting at 10AM until 7PM (for now because it will remain open until later in the upcoming summer months). Those looking for a pre-dinner, after-work, or after-sightseeing drink also have the option of wine by the glass, sangrias, and mojitos.
Best of all is that the garden remains one of the city’s best-kept secrets, found away from the beaten tourist path (although easily reached by the Lavra funicular), and even often forgotten by locals. So you’ll likely have most of the space and view all for yourself, although probably just for now because come summer, word of mouth will surely change that…

Jardim do Torel Café, Lisbon

Greetings from Portugal in New York

Tuesday, February 16th, 2010

J. Crew’s recent photo shoot in Portugal is not just featured on the company’s catalogue and website, it’s also an inspiration for its shops on New York’s Madison and 5th avenues (see photo below). And in May you can take a look at Portuguese design in New York, at the MoMA (Museum of Modern Art) and buy it at the MoMA Store which will have a special display called “Destination: Portugal”. They’ll be pieces made of cork (very eco-friendly) such as umbrellas, purses, and watches. Portugal is the world’s biggest exporter of cork and these products are made by the Pelcor company which has a shop in Lisbon (Rua das Pedras Negras, 32)

J. Crew, New York

Lisbon, “the Most Gracefully Decorated City on Earth”

Monday, February 15th, 2010

Pittsburgh Post Gazette

An article published in the travel section of the American Pittsburgh Post-Gazette goes through Lisbon’s museums and finds that together with the city’s “romantic views, grand public squares, and tiled walkways,” the Portuguese capital “is the most gracefully decorated city on Earth.”
The writer starts at the city’s most famous art collection, that of the Gulbenkian Museum, and also explores the Orient Museum and the Tile Museum which “speak to the city’s soul.” Then it’s time to go to the district of Belém for a visit to the Electricity Museum, and of course the irresistible pastries which the author found that “like the city’s charming museums, they left a taste of Lisbon’s grace and warmth.”
You can read the entire article here: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Travel

Lisbon’s “8 Magnificent Restaurants” According to Bell’Europa Magazine

Monday, February 15th, 2010

Bell'Europa magazine, Lisbon

The monthly Italian publication “Bell’Europa” (distributed throughout Europe and internationally) has an eleven-page article about Lisbon’s “8 magnificent restaurants” in its February issue. It features photos of the interiors and recommended dishes of each restaurant, as well as that of each restaurant’s chef.
The chosen restaurants were 100 Maneiras for its “refined gastronomy,” Olivier for being frequented by the “local jet-set but a good value,” Alma for its “design and innovative cuisine,” Eleven because it’s “perfection,” the new De Castro Elias for “the most authentic dishes of Portuguese cuisine,” Sommer for its “warm and relaxing ambience,” Tasca da Esquina because of its “charismatic and surprising chef,” and finally, Via Graça and its “incomparable view of the city.”
According to the magazine, these are the eight restaurants and reasons to “discover the heart of a surprising (and tasty) capital.”
The last two pages of the article are then filled with other suggestions for a trip to Lisbon, such as a stay at the Bairro Alto Hotel, and visits to the Chiado Museum and Calouste Gulbenkian Museum.
This is the second time in a year that the magazine dedicates a large part of an issue to Portugal’s capital, having the city already been featured on the cover as the main destination of the May 2009 issue.

Lisbon Tourists Say the Price is Right

Friday, February 12th, 2010

Lisbon

A new Lisbon tourist survey has found that the main reason travelers choose to visit Lisbon is because the city is so inexpensive. That’s a reflection of the global economic crises where cost speaks louder than anything else. This survey was conducted throughout 2009 and found that another factor weighed when choosing Lisbon as a travel destination is the city’s “beauty and history,” which had been the top reason to visit in previous surveys.
This study also showed that people are planning to travel less, with only two thirds of those questioned saying that they’re likely to return to Lisbon, when about 90% of those asked in previous surveys had said they foresaw a second visit. It seems that everyone’s being much more selective in their travel choices, choosing new, affordable places as opposed to returning to destinations they’ve enjoyed. This may also explain why Lisbon’s tourists in 2009 were mostly first-time visitors, which seems to be a travel trend around the world.
The average age of a Lisbon tourist was found to be between 25 and 34, with senior traveler numbers dropping significantly.

Lisbon Shows Off in the “Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition 2010”

Wednesday, February 10th, 2010

Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition

After the J. Crew catalogue, now it’s the annual swimsuit edition of Sports Illustrated magazine to feature Lisbon in a major photo shoot. It hit the newsstands yesterday, with the usual beautiful women (one of them is model Jessica Gomes of Portuguese heritage), but this time also with beautiful views of Lisbon as the backdrop. Lisbon is referred to as one of Europe’s most exciting cities, and in addition to the city center, the shoot also took place in the Estoril and Cascais coast (Lisbon’s most famous beach area) and the magnificent Portinho da Arrábida beach south of the city.
You can see those photos on the Sports Illustrated website or you can pick up an issue of the magazine now.

Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition