Food was a central theme of our Portugal trip, so this post will be a long one!
After dropping off our luggage at the hotel check-in desk, we headed to nearby Bythewine for a late lunch. We picked out the wine first (priorities!) then perused the menu and decided on a cheese plate. One of many on this trip! We really liked the São Jorge cheese from the Azores, and the Italian parmesan and Spanish manchego were nice as well. Eric had a rose from Setubal and I was recommended a fruity red from Alentejo. Lots of good wine options for under 5€, but the food was a bit pricey.
Eric had discovered a local brewpub while looking for dinner options, so we stopped in for a pint that evening. The names of the beers at Duque Brewpub were awesome, I mean, who wouldn’t appreciate “Van Damme Splits” and “Hit Me Baby One More Lime”? Eric chose the latter and while I gave the VDS a try, I preferred the “Snow White” stout. We sat inside for a bit and then grabbed a table that opened up on the sidewalk.
I finished my beer first, so I walked down the alley stairs to see if there was space at The Little Wine Bar… and we were in luck! We sat at the last table in the back and stayed there for nearly three hours (!) tasting wine and eating delicious snacks. The smoked ham plate was fantastic as were the light and airy bacalao (cod) fritters. We ended the meal with chocolate cake – very light, with a strawberry / cookies & cream ice cream. Eric had a Lisboa chard/viognier blend, then a blend of Antão Vaz and Arinto from Alentejo, finishing with the Moscatel (celery notes, which was weird). I had a Lisboa red from same winery as Eric’s first wine, then switched to a stronger red blend, and finally a tawny port. Three glasses of wine each, two apps, olives and dessert for 44€.
After wandering around the Alfama area for a few hours we were ready to rest our feet and have a glass of wine. Graca do Vinho, a small wine bar, was a good choice. We ordered a glass each of the fruity roses on the menu but she was out of one so she delivered a different rose without checking with us first. It wound up being fine but that was a tad off-putting. We sat near the doorway and watched people trudge up the steep hill and others get shuttled up in tuktuks.
For lunch we wound our way through alleys and staircases (good job on navigation Eric!) to Lucinda’s where we grabbed an outdoor table in the shade. I had a steak (maybe veal?) sandwich with a glass of red from Casal Faria and Eric enjoyed a smoked ham and cheese sandwich with a white wine from Vargas. The bread was delicious. We were entertained by an older woman selling cherry liquor in the road and the dance between demolition crew and pedestrians across the street.
Before heading back to the room, we stopped into Alfama Doce for sweets (a coconut tart for Eric and another traditional egg tart for me).
I tried emailing Oficina do Duque for dinner reservations but never heard back so we got there early and took a chance. Thankfully there was some space outside so we grabbed a table and split bottle of rose. Eric ordered the (amazing) oxtail with white beans and I got the lamb confit with mint gelato and cous cous. I had ordered the pate with bread as a starter, but our waiter forgot it so I wound up having it after the meal. We wrapped up with the egg and vanilla custard flan with lime foam (so good).
On our way to the train station, we stopped into Padaria do Bairro to pick up some snacks for the journey. The pao de deus, a light fluffy pastry with coconut, was the highlight. So good, in fact, that we grabbed two more of these when we left Lisbon for the flight home!
After a bit of clothes shopping, we wandered over to Nova Wine Bar for wine and snacks. Eric’s first wine was a tasty and lush Alvirnho (although the owner tried to talk him out of it), with notes of stonefruit and light acidity. His second was the recommended Chardonnay reserva – oak and cedar wood with nice balancing acidity.
We also split an appetizer of apricot / San Jorge cheese (great mix of salty and sweet) and aged boar / prunes which was a little chewy, but tasty. The turnover was pretty consistent but this place never got crowded or noisy which is fine by us.
We decided on pizza for dinner at nearby Pizzeria Lisboa, opting to split the Figueira with pears subbed out for the figs (they ran out). The crust was lovely but Eric would have preferred a bit more char. I had a glass of bubbles from Quinta da Murta and Eric ordered a white from Quinta de Porrais. The chocolate dessert had chocolate ice cream with chocolate foam on top and was amazing!
Started with a simple breakfast of a pastry each from Pingo Doce when we arrived in Belem, eaten in front of the famous tower.
We toured various monuments then found Taberna dos Ferreiros – a bit off the tourist path – for a light lunch. Eric got the Pica Pau, a beef stew with beer and pickled veg (cauliflower and carrots) which we found surprisingly nice. It paired well with the Sagres Preta beer. My cod ceviche was good and although I picked out half the onions, the mango was a lovely addition and the house white wine was pleasant.
We couldn’t leave Belem without trying the egg tarts at the famous Pasteis de Belem. We did our research ahead of time, however, and bypassed the perpetually loooong to-go line to find a table inside at the very back of the restaurant. We got seated immediately and placed our order… I tried to get one coconut tart and one egg tart but they were out of the coconut so I got two egg tarts and a split of red wine. Eric ordered the chocolate cake (which was also out) so instead he received the walnut cake with a glass of madeira (maple syrup, but not too sweet very nice). Surprisingly nice given just how touristy and busy this massive cafe is.
We found the lovely Mundo do Vino wine bar on the way back into town along the Tram 28 route. The service was very friendly and the concept was similar to some wine bars we have in the states: get a card with a prepaid amount and then choose a sample, half pour or full pour of whatever wine you want. It was fairly quiet on this weeknight, so we were able to chat with the servers about the wines and the area in general. To fill up our stomachs with something other than wine, we ordered a two cheese and one cured meat plate. Like a good journaler, Eric wrote down all his wines… I did not. Suffice it to say they were all red.
- E1 – Aventura – light, nice stonefruit, some mineral. Light acidity, lingering finish.
- E2 – Alvirinho – dry with peach, some acidity. More mineral with cheese. Floral and herb nose. Fave.
- E3 – Arinto blend – clean mineral scent. Mineral palate, little wood, not oak.
- E4 – Pormenor – almond and peach nose. Almond, grape, Heather notes; more tropical as it warms. Big mineral bite at end, puckering.