Posts Tagged ‘Lisbon’

20th February
2010
written by spd
(img: Sean Patrick Doyle)

(img: Sean Patrick Doyle)

The Castelo affords the best views in all of Lisbon.  After spending a week gazing up at it, David and I finally made the trek up the hill, through the Alfama, to the shaded courtyards and fortified walls.  Nowhere else is the history of this city so palpable…. from the Moors in the 9th Century to the crusaders of the 12th Century, these grounds were central to Lisbon life for over a thousand years.  The walls protected kings, housed prisoners, you name it.  And the view, of course, is breathtaking!

This entry concludes our adventures in Lisbon.  Although not featured with individual entries, David and I also had lovely meals at the pricey Conventual, the chic Sacramento de Chiado, and the airy Restaurante Mercado de Santa Clara (mentioned in Frances Mays’ A Year in the World).  I still have to post updates from three days in Madrid that followed, and I fear I’m terribly behind!  But stay tuned, because these past few weeks in New York have been wonderful (and delicious!), with trips to Le Cirque, Mercer Kitchen, and the crown jewel… Per Se!

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

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3rd February
2010
written by spd
While walking through the winding streets of Alfama to Graca and Santa Clara, this pattern-on-pattern scene caught my eye.  I couldn't stop looking up the entire time we were in Lisbon.  These stunning azulejos (hand painted, tin-glazed ceramic tiles) adorn virtually every building, from churches and train stations to ordinary homes... and the hanging laundry only adds to the charm. (img: Sean Patrick Doyle)

While walking through the winding streets of Alfama to Graca and Santa Clara, this pattern-on-pattern scene caught my eye. I couldn't stop looking up the entire time we were in Lisbon! The stunning azulejos (hand painted, tin-glazed ceramic tiles) adorn virtually every building, from churches and train stations to ordinary homes... and the hanging laundry only adds to the charm. (img: Sean Patrick Doyle)

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3rd February
2010
written by spd
Our feast of split chicken piri-piri at Bomjardin (img: Sean Patrick Doyle)

Our feast of split chicken piri-piri at Bomjardin! When we returned for the second time, the weather was so fine that we dined outside and people watched on Rua de Sao Jose. (img: Sean Patrick Doyle)

Our first meal in Lisbon just happened to be our favorite, and one that we recreated dish per dish later in the week. Bomjardin, a Chowhound favorite that’s just as loved by locals, serves the best Frango Assado (Chicken Piri-Piri) in the Baixa. Judging from the throngs of Lisboetas occupying it’s dining room and its annex across the street, perhaps the best in Lisbon!

There are no frills here, just fantastic food. A dismal window aquarium possesses the world’s saddest lobster, his criss-crossed claws bound for probably a decade, since the only plates exiting the kitchen carry split chicken. The frango is irresistibly juicy, and it’s crisp flavorful skin packs a punch of flavor. For extra spice, a tiny clay jar with a basting brush is available for extra piri piri. Unsanitary? Perhaps… but when in Lisboa… With a half bottle of the vinho tinto de casa, esparregado (spinich, not asparagus), batata frita (french fries), agua com gas, and the usual accompaniments of bread and queijinho sec (a simple, but delicious cheese), the meal comes to just over 20 Euro. We feel as if we’ve just robbed someone, and leaved stuffed and very, very happy!

Bomjardin, Travessa de Santo Antão 12, 1150 LISBOA Lisboa, Portugal. ph. 213 427 424

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3rd February
2010
written by spd
The first round of a generous tasting at ViniPortugal (img: Sean Patrick Doyle)

The first round of a generous tasting at ViniPortugal (img: Sean Patrick Doyle)

I can’t speak highly enough about this incredible initiative to promote Portuguese wines! Grazed over in my guidebook, I wouldn’t know to make a visit to ViniPortugal had it not been for the incessant chatter on Chowhound. Located on the western side of Praca do Comercio, this vaulted showroom gives an incredibly informative introduction to this country’s wines with a four-glass tasting, free of charge! It’s competent staff cannot help you choose specific wines, as all of the vineyards help to fund the initiative, but they guide you by educating you in the three regions that are the current stars of their rotating showcase. David and I fell in love with Lagos, a complex vihno tinto from the surprising region of Algarve. We also sampled the caramely Muscetals of the Setubal region.

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1st February
2010
written by spd

Largo de Sao Domingos is a sight to behold at dusk, and at the center of it all, stands this tiny shoe-box of a bar. Red-faced old men, young couples, and north Africans in colorful garb all stand on this pedestrian street sipping ginjinha com fruto (brandy with fermented sour cherries). A somber portrait of Espinheira, the friar who invented the drink in the 1840s, keeps watch over the locals at Lisbon’s first bar to serve the drink. You’ll either love the stuff, or walk away scraping your tongue, but the event itself is worth taking part in!

The crowds outside of A Ginjinha at dusk (img: Sean Patrick Doyle)

The crowds outside of A Ginjinha at dusk (img: Sean Patrick Doyle)

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1st February
2010
written by spd
This was the view of the Baixa from our bedroom window in

This was the view of the Rossio and the Baixa from our bedroom window in Lisbon. It took my breath away every morning of our trip. Click for a larger view!

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