Archive for June, 2012

The New Outdoor Dining in Lisbon

Monday, June 11th, 2012

Comercio Square, Lisbon

Several new eateries were simultaneously inaugurated this weekend in Lisbon. They’re concentrated in two of the city’s biggest squares downtown and offer a variety of foods and drinks. The major ones are cafés and restaurants in Comercio Square, on the east wing previously closed to the public and now with terraces where everyone can sit and relax looking out to the river.
The first one is “Museu da Cerveja” (literally translated to “Beer Museum”), a steak house that’s really mostly dedicated to beer. It serves it on the terrace and on the lower level of the interior, while upstairs is a museum showing the history and production of the drink.
Next door is “Populi,” open throughout the day from breakfast to midnight snack. It also has tables outside and offers an international menu accompanied by a huge list of Portuguese wines.
Then there’s “Can the Can,” perhaps the most interesting of all, focusing on Lisbon’s famous canned fish. Tin cans decorate most of the interior (they also make up most of a chandelier hanging from the ceiling), and you can try a variety of them at the table in a meal of “petiscos” (tapas).
In the same square is a kiosk serving another local tradition, ginginha. That’s a cherry liqueur served in hole-in-the-wall bars in old Lisbon, and now offered here at a more tourist-friendly spot.
Not far from Comercio Square is the square of Martim Moniz, the heart of the city’s small “Chinatown” or “Little India.” Reflecting the neighborhood’s multi-ethnic community, it is filled with kiosks serving food from around the world, with one dedicated to the flavors of Bangladesh, another to Africa, another to China, etc. There is also one with vegetarian and macrobiotic foods. Overlooking this square which is a terminal of tram 28 is the city’s crowning castle.

Martim Moniz, Lisbon

A New “Jurassic Park” North of Lisbon

Friday, June 1st, 2012

DinosaursThe world’s largest open-air dinosaur park is about to be created north of Lisbon in the town of Lourinhã. This is one of the richest areas on the planet when it comes to dinosaur fossils (including the biggest collection of dino eggs), so in addition to a leisure destination it will also be something of a museum scientifically recreating the Jurassic habitat. It will have over 200 life-size models of the creatures that once ruled the Earth, spread over 2.5km of woodland. A central building will be an actual museum presenting the important collection of fossils and will include a restaurant and an auditorium.
The project costs 10 million euros, and if that comes as a surprise at a time when Portugal is being one of the victims of the euro crisis, it should be noted that this comes from private investment, in part from a German company. Studies show the park will be profitable with just over 135,000 visitors per year, something quite achievable when considering that the village of Obidos nearby attracts 2 million people every year.
If everything goes as planned, the “dinopark” can be ready by late 2013.