It seemed that I had planned well. This was our third evening in Lisbon and we had pretty much seen and done all we wanted to do. We were itching to move on. We loved Lisbon's vibe, relaxed, yet a large city. we adored the history, the colors, the great mass transit system, but it was definitely time.
Our last evening was a Sunday and from what I had read, it can be rather slim pickins' on Sunday in the very Catholic city. So I had planned ahead. Hearing good things about a restaurant located in the tangled maze of streets that is historic Alfama, I made reservation for dinner at Santo Antonio de Alfama.
We'd already wandered through the winding, tangled streets of Alfama the day before, so we decided to leave early, just in case we unable to find our restaurant. Amazingly, I followed the graffiti and we found the place....waaaay too early. So we circled back and took the opportunity to visit the Sé, or Cathedral of Lisbon, which is a rather imposing structure originally built in 1150 on the site of a former Mosque. We arrived to late to visit the Gothic Cloister which lead to current excavations of Roman ruins. So we just walked around the large interior. I was really taken by the rose window on the west side of the cathedral.
After a short visit we decided to walk on back to the restaurant and just wait. The streets can indeed be confusing. The restaurant we had reservations at, Santo Antonio de Alfama is located at number 7 Beco de Sao Miguel. It's easy enough to confuse that with Restaurant San Miguel d'Alfama, which is also located at number 7 Rua de Sao Miguel. Yikes!
The restaurant is located right across from São Miguel Church, which was under going some construction at the time of our visit. We sat on the stairs leading down to the church and watched kids playing soccer in the streets. It was a nice relaxing moment in time.
The restaurant itself features a small and charming courtyard, though it was still a bit too cold to be eating outside.
When the doors opened we entered. The interior is dark and warm, with pictures of actors, actresses, and other celebrities lining the walls. We were given an excellent table....well, for us it was perfect as it faced the window of the courtyard.
We were glad to have made reservations. Every table in view was reserved. We'd watch as folks walked up to the menu in the courtyard, then enter and try to get a table and were turned away. Even though the place was still half empty when we left, we found this typical of Portugal and even Rome. Folks are never rushed. Dinner is something to be enjoyed and savored.
As mentioned before, there's the selection of "appetizers" delivered. If you eat, you pay....and this being our last evening in Lisbon, we ate.
I'm not sure if you've noticed in my cooking posts, but the Missus minimizes gluten intake....I think it actually makes Her even more sensitive to it when She does have it, but whatever. On this evening She did enjoy the bread. Personally, I loved the fried potato skins. I'm not sure what they use as fertilizer for their spuds, and maybe I don't want to know, but these were really delicious.....yes, basically fried thick potato peels. A crunch on the exterior, meeting a moist potato interior, with just the right amount of salt. Sadly, this was second best item of the entire evening.
The best were the wimple roasted Padron Peppers.
Sweet, thin skinned, tender to the point of nearly melting in your mouth, with just the right amount of salt, this was very nice.
The Fried Runner Beans on the other hand were not so well prepared.
Greasy with mushy batter ruined the dish for us. This also lacked a proper amount of seasoning for our tastes.
The Missus did enjoy the Red and Yellow Pepper Soup with Prawn.
Which She said was lovely. The flavor of the yellow pepper puree and the red pepper puree were completely different, thus really keeper Her interest in the dish.
What didn't keep Her interest was the Pork Black Sausage with Sauteed Turnip Tops and Potatoes.
To me, the blood sausage was on the mushy side and veyr mild in terms of seasoning. It was also quite large, making for monotonous eating after a few bites. The turnip tops were ok, but really tasted like something I'd make at home. The potatoes were deep fried before being added to the greens and were delish.
I went with the Roasted Salt Cod with Roasted Potatoes and Sauteed Turnip Tops.
So, if you're keeping score, it's been four bacalhau dishes in three days, pretty good I think. The bacalhau was a bit too salty for me, the garlic almost burnt and bitter. The potatoes were good, though it could have done with a bit more olive oil and salt. The turnip tops were the same as the Missus.
The service was good, hitting a nice balance of being there at our table and leaving us alone to have a nice dinner. Figuring that dinner, with wine was over 70 Euros, I'm not sure this was really worth it. Still, it was Lisbon on a Sunday night.
Santo Antonio de Alfama
Beco de Sao Miguel 7
Funny, as we walked back....yes, now tram for us, we walked to and from Alfama. The Missus and I talked about how much we really enjoyed Lisbon the city, but maybe not the food. By far, my favorite two meals was a simple Bifana and a beer for breakfast and roasted suckling pig and a beer, also for breakfast. All our other meals were decent to good, but nothing really great. Our eating fortunes would soon change as we were headed to Evora in the morning!
Thanks for reading!