Posts About 'Chiado'

Lisbon’s Oldest Restaurant is Turning 225 Years Old

Friday, August 28th, 2009

Tavares Rico Restaurant, Lisbon

Lisbon’s (and Portugal’s) oldest restaurant is Tavares Rico, opened in September of 1784 in the city’s Chiado district. It’s also one of the world’s oldest and although its name has been shortened to just “Tavares,” most people still know it by its original name. It has maintained all the refinement from over two centuries ago despite a recent renovation, and the kitchen was taken over by one of Portugal’s most promising young chefs. Although the restaurant remains one of Lisbon’s best choices for the most sophistiated Portuguese dishes, the menu has also been given some contemporary international flavors served in a dining area that is a true Lisbon landmark. It’s a palatial space with an opulently gilded interior that is classified by the Portuguese Architectural Heritage Institute, but the outstanding service is much more relaxed than you’d expect at such a fancy place. Now is a perfect time to check it out, to understand what has made it survive for 225 years despite all the younger competition over the decades.

Old is the New New in Lisbon

Monday, July 13th, 2009

Taberna do Chiado, LisbonWe’ve told you about Lisbon’s new kiosk cafes serving long-forgotten drinks, but that’s just one example of how the city is nostalgic for what it has always done best over time. The same owner of those kiosks is also responsible for “A Vida Portuguesa,” a shop selling Portuguese products that every Lisboeta remembers from their grandmother’s house and tourists love for their authenticity. In fact, shops bringing the traditional to modern times are a new trend, as in the case of the new Jimmy Portuguese Styleshop that we also told you about recently.
Then there are the restaurants which are bringing back the “taberna” and “tasca” spirit. Those roughly translate to “tavern” and a traditional, very informal, usually family-owned neighborhood restaurant serving home-style cooking. The new tabernas and tascas place traditional touches in contemporary spaces and serve slightly more refined versions of classic Portuguese dishes. One of them is Taberna Ideal in the Santos district (Rua da Esperança 112-114), only a few months old but that is packed every night by crowds sharing traditional dishes and some excellent desserts. It has a very welcoming and relaxed ambience, which is also what Taberna do Chiado is hoping for. Also a few months old, this restaurant is located in the city’s trendiest neighborhood (Calçada Nova de São Francisco 2A), but instead of fusion cuisine it serves time-tested Portuguese dishes in a very contemporary-designed space. That formula apparently works, and the same owner has taken over an old “tasca” in Bairro Alto, transforming it into a new bar serving tapas-sized food as you drink. The name is “Tendinha da Atalaia” (Rua da Atalaia, 4), and you can listen to loungy sounds as you take bites of cheeses, prawns, or sausages, and have a beer, wiskey, or a wide range of alcoholic beverages. The decor was kept simple, adding only the names of Lisbon’s poets throughout much of the walls.
Yet another new old-is-new space is Tasca da Esquina, a restaurant in the Campo de Ourique neighborhood, on a corner where the popular “tourist tram 28” passes by towards the end of its journey. The man behind it is Vitor Sobral, a well-known chef who’s been at the acclaimed Terreiro do Paço restaurant downtown which is temporarily closed due to the construction works in Comercio Square. At this new restaurant, Sobral transforms “petiscos” (a Portuguese equivalent of the Spanish tapas) into full-blown dishes and serves them in a sophisticated yet informal environment.
While contemporary spaces offering fusion cuisine or the biggest international fashion labels quickly become favorites among the city’s hippest and youngest crowds, these new businesses offering a taste of a more authentic past are gaining an equal number of fans. And for tourists they are even more attractive, as they can be the quintessential Lisbon experiences.

Nights of Free Music, Dance, and Theater in an Outdoor Festival in Lisbon’s Chiado

Friday, July 3rd, 2009

São Carlos Theater Festival in Lisbon

The square faced by Lisbon’s São Carlos Theater is the stage for some of the city’s most special events this summer. Almost every night at 10PM until the 19th of this month, there will be various musical, dance, and theater performances in the open air, bringing culture to the street and to audiences that don’t usually go to these types of shows. São Carlos is Lisbon’s opera house, but for this festival it presents performances by other cultural institutions such as the national ballet company and the Dona Maria II National Theater. So this weekend the Portuguese Symphony Orchestra will be accompanied by São Carlos’ choir, while all of next week will be dedicated to the performances of the national ballet. From the 16th to the 19th it will be nights of theater, staging three different plays.
This festival is free, all you have to do is walk around Chiado for your ears to lead to São Carlos Theater. There will be seats available, but unless you show up really early, they’ll likely all be taken. Still, you’ll always find standing room to enjoy shows for which you usually have to pay dozens of euros if you wish to see them inside the theater.
If you like the experience, be sure to buy a ticket for São Carlos’ next regular indoor shows, as it is worth seeing the interior of the theater. It’s an 18th century construction filled with rococo decorations inspired by the similar San Carlo in Naples, although the façade resembles Milan’s La Scala.
For more details about the outdoor festival, see its official website: www.festivalaolargo.com

Lisbon Presents a New Way to Eat Sushi

Wednesday, July 1st, 2009

Noori, sushi restaurant in Lisbon
Throw away your chopsticks and get ready to eat your sushi with your hands. And that’s no ordinary sushi either — instead of a tiny roll, it is a large sushi cone. That’s what is offered at Noori, a new sushi fast-food restaurant between Lisbon’s Baixa and Chiado districts. It is actually not an original idea, as those already familiar with all kinds of sushi and sashimi know that such a cone-shaped piece of nori is called a temaki. At Noori you can choose what goes into your temaki, with the rice being accompanied by salmon, tuna, or a variety of other ingredients. There are different menus available, from €4.20 to €7.45, and you can have them every day from 11AM to 10PM. If you don’t wish to go for a menu and simply want one temaki, it’s just €3.25 or €3.85 depending on the ingredients.
There are a few seats if you’d like to have them right there, but you can always grab them to enjoy somewhere else. Noori is found right next to one of the exits of the Baixa-Chiado metro station in the center of the city and makes an inexpensive lunch or dinner so you can save to splurge at other restaurants in the city later.

Address: Rua do Crucifixo, 87

Jimmy Portuguese Styleshop – The Place for New and Fun Gifts from Lisbon

Tuesday, June 9th, 2009

Jimmy Portuguese Styleshop, Lisbon

When you pass by traditional souvenir shops in Lisbon or crafts fairs around Portugal you’ll likely always see the same images — the Barcelos roosters, Our Lady of Fatima, Saint Anthony holding baby Jesus, all surrounded by colorful ceramics… At the newer shops you’ll also find all of that, but with updated designs to meet modern tastes. One of those in Lisbon is Jimmy Portuguese Styleshop, a recently opened space found around the corner from the Bairro Alto Hotel in Chiado. Everything is 100% Portuguese but nothing like you’ve ever seen before. The usual icons are given several different colors and shapes using minimal and pop designs, and are placed next to fragrances, fashion accessories, and contemporary versions of Portuguese delicacies.
Other items stand out for their peculiar details, such as colorful handbags completely made of computer keyboard keys designed by a Portuguese artist and that’s already been featured in the American edition of Elle magazine. That is just an example of a fun gift to take for yourself or someone else, but there are other curious pieces in a wide range of prices. All Portuguese, but completely international and a lot of fun.

Address: Rua das Flores, 100
Open 10:30AM-7:30PM (closed Sundays)

Fado in the Afternoon

Thursday, June 4th, 2009

Fado in ChiadoWhen you want to check what Lisbon’s Fado music is all about, you either go to the Fado Museum during the day, or have to wait until the evening to head to one of the many Fado restaurants. But not anymore. Now you can also hear some Fado in the afternoon, and right in the center of the city. Every day at 7PM except on Sundays, young Fado singers perform at Cine Theatro Gymnásio, an old theater in the Chiado district. “Fado in Chiado” started last March and its success appears to be here to stay. The shows last for about a half hour and the songs chosen are some of the genre’s biggest hits (many of them made famous by Amalia Rodrigues, the genre’s biggest diva). Although Fado is usually taken very seriously, often sung in darkness and over dinner, here you can experience the soul of Lisbon’s music in a more laid-back ambience and without having to pay for a meal or dedicate an entire night to the experience. Tourists are the target audience, but obviously even locals can show up for a pre-dinner dose of their Lisbon sounds.

More info: www.geniusymeios.pt

Lisbon’s Chiado is in Fashion

Wednesday, May 6th, 2009

Chiado na ModaStarting this weekend, and for about a week, Lisbon’s Chiado district will literally be in fashion. It’s the second annual edition of “Chiado na Moda” (“Chiado in Fashion”), an event that brings fashion, markets, and special performances to the streets, much of it organized by local businesses. So if you’ll be in Lisbon between the 9th and 17th of this month you may end up catching everything from a fashion show in front of São Carlos Theater (on the 16th) to seeing cute pets waiting to be adopted on Camões Square. Other curious surprises will be antique cars down Rua Garrett (on the 15th), and seniors sharing space with professional models on the runways. The idea is to bring some fun and therefore people to the streets of Chiado, the neighborhood that’s traditionally been the meeting point and favorite hangout in the city for centuries.

Because Chiado is also known for its literary connections, you’ll also be able to see an old books market throughout the week on Rua Anchieta. Other street corners, the metro station, and even shop windows in the neighborhood will be the unexpected stages of dance performances, while at the ruins of Carmo Convent you’ll be able to catch live music.

To remember how Chiado came to be what it is today, there will be photo exhibitions, with one about the neighborhood’s renovation following the devastating 1988 fire (on display at the Sousa Pedro Foundation on Rua Serpa Pinto), and another in the FNAC shop inside the Armazens do Chiado mall showing the 19th and 20th century Chiado.

Go Lisbon’s 5 Newest Hostels

Friday, April 17th, 2009

Shiado Hostel, Lisbon

If you’ve been searching for a hostel in Lisbon, you probably have already read that the city has the world’s best hostels. The Lisbon hostel phenomenon started a couple of years ago and doesn’t seem to be ending any time soon, judging from the number of new choices opening practically every couple of months. Below are the five latest ones to be added to the GoLisbon.com list:

1. SHIADO HOSTEL
Not only is this the best one of the five new choices, but also one of the best in the city. The location alone (in the middle of Chiado) makes it one of the best options, but then there are the excellent facilities and services. It’s been furnished in a simple, comfortable, modern style, and offers free internet, breakfast, and a kitchen. In case you’re wondering, yes, that’s Shiado with “S.”

2. KITSCH HOSTEL
You’ll understand the name when you step inside. You’ll see a fun, colorful kitsch décor at this hostel facing Restauradores Square, meaning a unique place in an excellent location. You’ll be in a cool, relaxed space within walking distance to most of the city’s attractions and public transport, and can take advantage of the hostel’s internet and laundry services.

3. BAIRRO ALTO TRAVELLERS
Young travelers who do their research before they arrive in Lisbon, know that the place to be in Lisbon at night is Bairro Alto. If you don’t want to have to worry about how to get back to your hotel after a night of drinking, the choice is Bairro Alto Travellers, a hostel located in quiet(er) Rua da Rosa. And here’s a special offer: You won’t find this hostel cheaper at any other hostel booking service online.

4. RITUALS BACKPACKERS
The interior of a 17th century building has been renovated to become this hostel decorated in a style that combines contemporary furnishings and classic details, supposedly to create the “ambiance of the modern Fado movement.” It’s an attractive place to lounge after a day of sight-seeing, with internet and laundry service.

5. LISBON DREAMS GUESTHOUSE
Located uptown but in an excellent location with easy access to the center down Avenida da Liberdade, this guesthouse is for those budget travelers who still demand some level of quality service. So here they find a bright, tastefully-decorated space, a fully equipped kitchen, a TV lounge, and two cozy patios to start your day with a refreshing breakfast. And of course, there is free internet and wireless service.

SEARCH FOR YOUR LISBON HOSTEL HERE.

GoLisbon.com an Essential Lisbon Source for London’s The Times

Saturday, April 4th, 2009

London's The Times features the Go Lisbon website
London’s The Times has just published an article about Lisbon in its travel section where the writer goes through the Portuguese capital following suggestions found on the internet.
Of course GoLisbon.com was one of the sources of inspiration, which included helping the author find the Fabulas Café we just told you about here, which turned out to be her favorite lunch spot: “This cafe/bar/art gallery/internet cafe is not somewhere I’d have stumbled on, so thanks to golisbon.com for finding my favourite lunch spot.

She also goes into the charming Casa das Velas do Loreto shop thanks to Go Lisbon, where she ended up buying “a perfect gift,” and stops at Royal Café, also recommended on this website.
GoLisbon.com also persuaded her to visit the Santa Justa Elevator, which she found “worthwhile,” just another example of how GoLisbon.com continues to be the most complete and up-to-date guide to Lisbon, and why it’s the #1 source for tourist information about the city.
You can read the entire Times article here.

Lisbon’s Latest Public Art

Friday, March 27th, 2009

Public art in Lisbon

As you walk around Lisbon you’ll find countless buildings covered in scaffolding, as most of the city’s properties in the old historical center are in desperate need of renovation. On a couple of those works are curious pieces that at first you’re not sure what to think of. They’re art installations by contemporary artists, and the latest one is found on Rua do Alecrim, a street going from the Cais do Sodré riverfront up to the Chiado district. It’s the creation of one of Portugal’s top young artists Joana Vasconcelos and it’s supposed to be a tapeworm. Yes, a tapeworm made of raffia climbing the building.

The group behind these projects is called “Art Building” and its goal is to bring some life, art, and color to construction sites. Once Vasconcelos’ tapeworm is removed at the end of this year, that building will be a hotel.

Vasconcelos’ first major eye-catching piece was a much talked-about chandelier completely made of tampons which she called “The Bride.” She represented Portugal with that work at the Venice Biennale in 2005, and it was also hung in Lisbon’s Lux club.

That club, known for its irreverence and cutting-edge space, currently presents another curious object. This time it was placed outside its doors for its 10th anniversary party a few months ago. It’s the image of a woman’s open legs welcoming you at the entrance, through which you’ll have to enter in order to access the club and its unbeatable nights.

These are just two of the current examples, but expect to have your eyes drawn to other curious objects at a construction site or well-known buildings in Lisbon in the future.