Archive for August, 2012

5 New Spots to Taste Lisbon

Tuesday, August 28th, 2012

P Chiado, Lisbon

Rua da Horta Seca, 9
Pastries called “travesseiros” are to the town of Sintra what the famous custard tarts are to Lisbon. But now you no longer have to go outside the capital to enjoy them. In fact, they’re now in the very center of the city, just around the corner from Camões Square. This new café/pastry shop serves them together with another Sintra specialty, the cheese tarts, and a different kind of custard pastries — with chocolate added!

Taberna da Rua das Flores, Lisbon

Rua das Flores, 103
There was a time when Lisbon was full of these types of “tabernas”, something like a mix of tavern and deli serving homestyle food. They’ve become nearly extinct but there’s recently been a revival. Instead of just catering to neighborhood patrons, they’re attracting locals and tourists, becoming destinations for doses of traditional meals with a certain modern twist. This one is next to Camões Square and uses old recipes in a menu of “petiscos” (tapas) available throughout the day.

The Old Pharmacy, Lisbon

Rua do Diário de Notícias, 73-83
The name remembers the old function of this space in Bairro Alto, a pharmacy that was in business for decades. Instead of medications, its cabinets are now filled with wine bottles, almost all from Portugal. Accompanying the glasses of wine are local cheeses and hams.

Wine Lover, Lisbon

Rua das Gáveas, 38
Another recent wine bar in Bairro Alto, this one has a nice interior but best of all is the possibility of sitting outside people-watching. It lists a good variety of Portuguese wines, always to the sound of music.

Maria do Carmo, Lisbon

Rua da Oliveira ao Carmo, 1
Carmo Square is one of Lisbon’s most charming, faced by the haunting ruins of the gothic Carmo Convent. Although it’s had terrace cafés for many years, they were essentially for tourists and of the quality expected for such places. Now a new spot has opened with tables on the square, of a quality that sets it apart from the others. The menu is limited and may be disappointing at first sight, but order a plate of Portuguese cheeses and sausages and enjoy the surrounding atmosphere.

Lisbon’s Newest Hostel Takes You to the Beach

Friday, August 24th, 2012

Beach Destination Hostel, Lisbon

The latest hostel to open in Lisbon literally takes you to the beach. It’s inside the Cais do Sodré station from where trains depart throughout the day to the beaches of Cascais and Estoril. In just a few minutes you can be laying on the sand, although the hostel also allows you to sunbathe on its terrace overlooking the river.
On the waterfront is a number of cafés and restaurants where you can sit and relax with a drink.
As in most other hostels in the city, breakfast is included and there’s a common area where you can meet other travelers.
It is very easy to reach from the airport, on the final stop of the green line of the metro or of the AeroBus airport bus service. Across the street is the city’s new nightlife hotspot, Rua Nova do Carvalho, with several bars and places to eat outside. Up the hill is the famous Bairro Alto and the shopping district of Chiado.
You can check prices and availability here: BEACH DESTINATION HOSTEL

Three museums in Lisbon will be hosting the festival Belem Art Fest in September

Thursday, August 23rd, 2012

 Belém Art FestThe National Museum of Archaeology, the National Coach Museum and the Museum of Folk Art will be the stage of the first edition of the Belém Art Fest festival, with concerts, exhibitions, workshops and theater, scheduled for September 22.

The concept is simple: with a single ticket, each participant can visit three museums and see part of their collections, participate in workshops, attend concerts or see a play.

Each museum will stage a different musical genre: In the National Coach Museum there will be a presentation of “three different approaches to the urban song – FADO,” with Pedro Moutinho, Maria Ana Bobone and Teresa Lopes Alves.

In the National Museum of Archaeology, the voices, melodies and rhythms of Elisa Rodriguez and Julio Resende, The Soaked Lamb and Selma Uamusse take guests on a retro journey within the Jazz and Blues genres.

At the Museum of Folk Art, the party starts with energy and good vibes with the Portuguese bands Nice Weather for Ducks, The Doups and Youthless and ending with a DJ set at 04.00.

Belem Art Fest aims to publicise different values of the Portuguese culture, combining tradition and modernity, history and innovation. Participants can visit part of the Museum’s collections, learn how to create urban handicraft with Bolo de Pano Lisboa, hear tips from L’Oréal makeup experts, enjoy an art exhibition from Pedro Madeira Pinto or watch the play “Made in China” from Grupo de Teatro da Nova. Visitors will also be surprised by an exhibition and fashion show from Lisbon Fashion School – EML.

The Belem Art Fest also has a message of sustainability. It encourages participants to travel on foot between the museums and to use the train as transport to the festival. To this end, a 1€ round-trip ticket will be available for holders of the festival pass.

More information:

The Essential Guide to Portugal’s “Enchidos”

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

Vegetarians should read no further. This post is about meat, or more precisely what the Portuguese call “enchidos” (pronounced “en-shee-doos”) — sausages and hams. They’re a new trend in Lisbon’s recent new wave of wine bars, accompanying the glasses of wine. They’re usually presented next to cheese, and are mostly products from the north of the country.


The king of all “enchidos” is smoked and made with pork. Herbs, garlic and wine is also mixed in, and it’s often served in soup or sliced before a meal. In Lisbon you can see it literally flaming hot at a few bars in Bairro Alto like “Artis” (Rua do Diário de Notícias, 95) and “Tasca do Chico” (Rua do Diário de Notícias, 39)

This is essentially a regular “chouriço” except thinner and used in stews.

It’s one of Portugal’s strangest foods, but quite popular. Simply put, it’s blood sausage. The blood comes from the pig, but there is no meat and is stuffed with rice.

This sausage dates all the way back to the 1500s, when Portuguese Jews were forced to convert to Christianity. Instead of pork it’s made of poultry and has a garlicky taste and a light color.


You’ll rarely see it served at a wine bar, but it’s often on a plate in the interior regions of the country. Made from pork fat, flour, spices, garlic and wine, it has an orange-brown color.

Lisbon’s brunches almost always include “fiambre” which is simply boiled or roast ham.


This dry smoked ham is served thinly sliced and is mostly made of pork, although it’s occasionally wild boar. It’s produced all over the country and often accompanies a slice of melon.

This is yet another “chouriço” with a different name because it’s smaller, although thick. It’s made from pork tenderloin and is marinated in white wine, paprika and garlic. In some places around Portugal it’s also known as “paio.”

The Other Lisbon Coast

Thursday, August 16th, 2012

Carvalhal Beach

When people talk about beaches in Lisbon they usually mean the coast immediately west of the city center which are the towns of Cascais and Estoril. For most locals they also mean the long stretch of sand that is Costa da Caparica south of the city. But further south is a lesser known and more upscale paradise. It’s the Troia Peninsula, still relatively secret because it doesn’t cater to mass tourism. It’s also a more recently-developed area, complete with a landmark design hotel and other newer accommodation choices, golf courses and even a casino.
The waters are calm and clean, and there’s lots of sand with plenty of space to spread your towel. All around you is pristine natural beauty and not very far into the Atlantic is a natural habitat of dolphins which you may observe on a boat trip.
All of it is just about one hour south of Lisbon. The main beaches are Comporta and Carvalhal by the village of Grândola. They’re two of the few that remain completely wild, preserving their natural vegetation and fowl. You’ll still see several storks and their nests, and feel the fresh scent of pine trees.
But you don’t even have to look for Comporta or Carvalhal, since all around the main resort areas of Troia is fine, soft sand. The weather is usually sunny and mild or warm from late April to early October.
If you’re coming to Lisbon with peace and relaxation in mind, Troia is an alternative to Cascais or Algarve and is just a short trip away. You can find accommodation here: Troia (Grandola) Hotels

Troia Design Hotel

10 Lisbon Restaurants for Food from Portugal’s Former Colonies

Monday, August 6th, 2012

When visiting Lisbon you’re reminded that Portugal created the first global empire so why not go on your own voyage around the world through food? Whether you’re heading west to Brazil or east to India and Macau passing through the coast of Africa, here are the places to discover:

The latest Brazilian restaurant in town recreates the colorful and informal ambiance of the typical Brazilian “butecos,” neighborhood restaurants serving good doses of traditional food. It opens for dinner earlier than most other restaurants in the city, inviting you for “happy hour” drinks and stays open until late for late-night eating and drinking.

Rua da Paz, 4
A native from Goa arrived in Lisbon in 1964, three years after that former colony was annexed by India. His first job was washing dishes at a Goan restaurant but he soon became the owner. He’s now been serving the food from his homeland for decades, and you can be sure to have the best shrimp curry in town at this place not far from São Bento Palace.

Rua Rodrigues Faria, 21
Here you can taste and hear a little of Cape Verde. Owned by musician Tito Paris who often performs live, you can discover what are “muquecas” and “cachupas” together with other traditional dishes from the western African archipelago.

It was one of Portugal’s first Brazilian restaurants and has survived the decades. If you’re looking for a typical “feijoada” washed down by a “cairinha”, this is the place to go, and you’ll also have the chance to discover the food of northeastern Brazil which mixes influences from Portugal and Africa.

Ibo Restaurant, Lisbon


The food is inspired by Mozambique and the riverfront location inspires you to make new discoveries. Find out what the food from the southeastern African country is all about, in an attractive contemporary dining room or at the tables outside.

Rua São Pedro Mártir, 23
Located right in the middle of Lisbon’s most ethnic neighborhood, this restaurant presents authentic Indian cuisine from the former Portuguese colony of Goa. The dining room is decorated in hot colors and the potions of the dishes are quite generous.

It’s officially a Brazilian restaurant but don’t expect the expected food from the typical Brazilian restaurant. This one concentrates on just one region, Minas Gerais, the home state of the current Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff and one of the most “Portuguese” regions of Brazil. Everything is served in a buffett so you can try a variety of dishes.

It seems hard to believe that Macau was Portuguese as recently as 1999 before in was transformed into the “Asian Las Vegas” that it is today. But Portuguese influences (particularly in the architecture) still survive in that Chinese territory and at this restaurant you can sample a little of Macau in Lisbon. It also mixes food from Hong Kong accompanied by cups of tea.

Indian cuisine mixes with the flavors of Mozambique at this restaurant owned by an Indian family who lived in that former Portuguese colony in Africa before moving to Lisbon. The interior is not decorated in the typically “ethnic” style, but rather in a contemporary elegance seen through the large windows facing a statue of Neptune in the center of the square.

Zambeze Restaurant, Lisbon


This is one of the most recent spots in the city, a rooftop terrace café and restaurant with one of the most spectacular city views. The name is that of Africa’s fourth-largest river that passes through Angola and Mozambique, two former Portuguese colonies. That’s an indication of what’s on the menu, although it also serves traditional Portuguese dishes.