.: Another food day in Lisbon :.

On my last Friday in Lisbon I really had a great food day.

Lunch was in Sintra, in a traditional place called Apeadeiro. It’s really easy to find, in the city centre.
As soon as we’ve got in, we were welcomed by really friendly staff. In our table we had fresh cheese (ohhh I really missed this!) and some other starters

The bread was simply delicious! It was refilled a few times. For main I’ve decided to have the grilled squid.

Grilled squid – Half a portion

Yes, believe it or not, the photo above is half a portion and it was quite filling. Absolutely fresh and delicious! The boys had veal which was pretty good as well.

Still there was space for some pudding, chocolate mousse

To end our meal, we were served port wine (complimentary). I was impressed by the fact that they’ve left the bottle in our table, so we could have whatever we wanted. If this isn’t good service, trust based, then I don’t know what is!

Port Wine

Overall we left pretty amazed with the food quality, and the genuine honest good service. Can’t recommend enough! As soon as I’m back in Sintra, I will be back!

Dinner

For dinner, the plan was something really special. Both me and my sister went to fulfil a long awaited wish list: visit a Fado House in the heart of Lisbon! This was a kind gift from the Zomato team in Portugal. Thank you!!!

Cafe Luso is located in Bairro Alto, everyone’s favourite going-out area both tourists and locals alike. I find Bairro Alto quite a special place because all the classes mix here, poor and posh alike. There are really trendy restaurants and bars and somehow it all combines together.

Bairro in the evening

For years I wasn’t really a fan of Bairro Alto, simply because it’s always crowded. But I guess that once you live in London, crowds mean something different. And I have to admit it’s quite nice to have a drink (or more) outside while talking with friends in a nice warm evening.

I digress, apologies. Back to Cafe Luso. Let’s set up the mood properly.

I have to say thar Cafe Luso was mostly oriented for foreigners. The most traditional fado houses can be found in Alfama. Still I would recommend this experience to locals alike (it was a bit expensive though, 82€ for 2 people).

The space is quite big on the inside, the tables were filled with tourists, but it was a nice ambience. The “show” starts at 20h30, so we had been advised to arrive at 20h15, which is what we did.

The menu has a couple of options with pre-planned menus, which makes the choice a lot easier. I had the F which was octopus warm salad followed by a meat main.

The show includes not only Fado, but also “Marchas”, which is a Lisbon tradition in early June. If you are planning to visit Lisbon I would recommend you try to visit around early June so you can see it. All the city gets decorated with lots of colours and everyone eats and dances outside. Really good fun.

Marchas Populares de Lisboa

But the main part is all about the Fado. There were 3 main “fadistas” (People that sing Fado): a young lady (which was my favourite), a guy and a more traditional Fadista.

Marchas

So, we have a saying in Portugal which is Silence, we’ll be singing Fado. (Silencio que se vai cantar o Fado), which means a sign of respect for Fado. Because it’s so soulful, we get drawn to it and absorb every word. Maybe because of the drinks, some of the guys in the main tables were quite noisy.

Silencio que se vai cantar o fado

The food arrives as the show carries on. It’s served slowly so you can enjoy the show. So please don’t arrive starving, otherwise it may be a bit painful to wait for all the dishes to come.

Octopus warm salad

Main dish

Pudding was a brownie. Felt more like a chocolate cake than a brownie, but good anyway

We’ve decided to stay for the 2nd part of the show, which starts at around 22h20. They close the main room and the ambience becomes a lot cosier. The small tables get candles and the evening progresses on the more romantic side. Both me and my sister decided to have some liquors.

I really recommend the stay for the 2nd part of the show. I’ve really enjoyed it! We didn’t stayed for the end, but it was an amazing dinner. Quite an experience

Tip: If the “Fadista” sings really well, at the end of the song we say “Ah Fadista!”

After the Fado experience, we’ve both decided to go to a rooftop bar. Yes I know, I can’t resist them, can I? As we were so close, we’ve decided to visit Silk.

Silk is located in a gorgeous building called Espaco Chiado

And this is the bar:

(Photos above from google)

The view is really beautiful, but still it doesn’t beat “Rooftop Bar @ Hotel Mundial

I wanted a Portuguese gin, but they didn’t had any in stock. I was also upset that regardless of the gin everything would be served with cucumber. Not impressed with the drinks choice but the view is worth it.

So overall, it was an amazing day!!! Can’t hardly wait to be back!

Happy Easter! I’m travelling to Copenhagen for the weekend 🙂

.: Exploring Sintra :.

For those of you that follow my blog for a while, you will know that I love love love Sintra. I still hope that one day I’ll live there! It has everything, close enough to Lisbon, amazing forest and magical feeling, enchanted castles and a gorgeous coast, with some nice beaches as well! So all the chances I have to visit Sintra, I’ll taken them. (You can see an older post here)

We went to Sintra for Lunch. I’ll share that in a different post, because the place was amazing! Therefore we didn’t had that long to explore around.

Silly photo

Lovely door

Together

Details

And believe me, the photos don’t do it justice!

How to reach Sintra (from Lisbon):

* The easiest way is to rent a car and go there. I recommend this option simply because driving around Sintra is quite an experience as well. If you’re taking this option make sure you drive all the way to Cascais through the back-roads, you will have an amazing view of the coast! It takes roughly 30m from the city centre.

* By train, you can get the trains in several stations in Lisbon and I believe it takes 40/50m. I haven’t done this journey for a while so not sure anymore.

Where to stay:

* If you’re driving, then I recommend Penha Longa Resort. This place itself has a lot to explore.
* In the city centre you have historical Lawrence’s (It’s a charming 5 star hotel)
* Seteais Palace – I wish I could stay there myself, this place is gorgeous

What to see and do:

* Charming city centre
* Pena Palace – Breathtaking palace, a palace like no other in the world!!!
* Monserrate – It’s another palace, a bit smaller but the gardens are quite beautiful as well
* Quinta da Regaleira – This is my personal favourite. It’s linked to the templars, so you’ll have the chance to explore secret tunels. The palace is pretty charming as well. I’ve been there 5 times (I think) and I love it every single time

.: Food Moments in Lisbon Part II :.

Yap, expect a few more posts like this! It was quite a gastronomical week
For Sunday, my choice was the Lisbon Restaurant Week, an event that happens in major cities and aims to allow people to enjoy the fancier restaurants at more reasonable prices. Part of the money goes to charity as well.

Since Sunday was the last day I had to take advantage of it. My choice was a beautiful restaurant in my favourite place: Sintra.

Arola is located at the heart of Penha Longa, a gorgeous park in Sintra (I wish I could afford to live here!!!!)

Photo from the official website

Outside view

One does not simply resist a place like this!

You feel posh just for getting in! The place is just as it looks on the pictures above. We were welcomed by a big smile and guided to our table. Oh joy, the light around us!

Table decor

We were offered the covert: bread, with tomato and garlic. Every dish was always followed by an explanation of the ingredients and why they were put together

In this case, in old times people used to smash the garlic against the bread and then spread the tomato on top with olive oil. So good!

Millers gin tonic

Tip: Even though you won’t find any Portuguese Gins on the Gin Menu, you can ask for it. On this particular day, they actually had Sharish. Also, on the main restaurant of the hotel they have more than 100 different gins!

The starter was carpaccio

So delicious!!! It had apple, onion and pistaccio. Well all I know is the combination was perfect!

Crab pate – so good too!

But the best was yet to come, the famous batatas bravas

Batatas bravas

You can’t resist these! Sooooo good!

Everyone went for the meat as the main dish, I went for the fish and I have to say what a great choice it was!

Fish with asparagus, almond and curry sauce

Finally, we had greek yoghurt for dessert, again it didn’t disappoint either!

Such a yummy yoghurt!

 

Overall I was delighted with the experience. The place is absolutely stunning and the service was as it should be: Professional, elegant and personal at the same time. Better than many posh pretentious restaurants I’ve been. Would be back for sure!