Archive for February 13th, 2010

13th February
2010
written by spd
Steaming Cataplana is served table-side at Martinho da Arcada (img: Sean Patrick Doyle)

Steaming Cataplana is served table-side at Martinho da Arcada (img: Sean Patrick Doyle)

Determined to uncover more of Portuguese seafood than salt cod and sardines, David and I sat down to lunch at Baixa fixture Martinho da Arcada. Once a haunt of poet Fernando Pessoa, they are known for their Cataplana, a seafood stew from the Algarve region that is similar to bouillabaisse in France. The waiters scurried around us in white jackets and brought our starters of cabbage soup (another Portuguese staple) and asparagus, because I was feeling starved for greens. Sadly, when the asparagus dish came, it was pickled white asparagus that tasted only of vinegar, but the folly was forgotten when the Cataplana came!  Named for the clam-like copper shell that it’s cooked in, the instrument was unclamped at our table and the stew was served table-side. Steaming inside were sea bass, salmon, prawns, lobster, clams, mussels… we eventually stopped counting! After soaking up some of the flavorful broth with our bread, it was easy to see why Pessoa would loiter here…

Martinho da Arcada, Rua da Prata, 2-8 1100 – 419 LISBOA, ph. 218879259

13th February
2010
written by spd
A simple lunch at Estrela de Belem (img:Sean Patrick Doyle)

A simple lunch at Estrela de Belem (img:Sean Patrick Doyle)

Belem, located a few miles west of Lisbon’s city centre, is home to a handful of tourist must-sees, among them the Torre de Belem dating back to 1515 and the lacy show-stopper Monesteiro dos Jeronimos built in 1501. The area immediately surrounding the Tejo is crowded with souvenir shops and overpriced cafes, so in an effort to find something more authentic, David and I meandered through backstreets with quaint pastel houses and took lunch at a no-fuss eatery, Estrela de Belem. We were the only out of towners in the joint, and entered just as a slew of leather-faced locals were finishing their beers. However, we were far from being the first to wander here, as it’s mentioned by both Lonely Planet and and the foodies over at Chowhound. We sipped cold Super Bock, the Lisboeta brew of choice and munched on sausages from a local butcher and grilled sardines. David proved infinitely more skilled at de-boning them! It’s worth the walk to escape the maddening crowd…

Estrela de Belém-Restaurante e Cervejaria Lda, Lisboa – Santa Maria de Belém, R Embaixador 112-r/c, Lisboa 1300-217 LISBOA

Comments Off on Traveling Tongue: Estrela de Belem in Lisbon, Portugal