Lisbon is: white churches, steep steps, chipped colourful tiles, tropical gardens and fruit, the smell of cream and cinnamon, terraces over the Tago, generous portions of bacalhau with onions and potatoes, delicate people, sunlight, small yellow trams, daring taxi drivers, the sound of bells, homemade lemonade and the smell of fresh laundry…
From the airport it’s only a short ride to the Baixa district, downtown Lisbon. Along the orthogonal streets of the neighbourhood are vintage hat shops, pastelerias (patisseries) and small yellow trams. You can smell the ocean and hear the sound of the cathedral’s bells in the background. We stop in front of a shiny green door and look up to see this VIII century building all covered in blue azulejos. The Baixa House entrance hall is fresh and dominated by a wooden spiral staircase that goes up five floors interrupted only by white landings and multicolour windows. Our apartment, 4b Campo Grande, is inundated by the day light. The whole white rooms are warmed up by the light brown wooden floor and the pops of colour: industrial lamps, fresh flowers, the folk patterns of cushions, artisanal rugs and ceramics. The apartment overlooks the derelict roofs of the neighbourhood and the blue sky over Lisbon…
You will fall in love with Villa Extramuros. As you approach it, it appears like a magic white cube against the green countryside in Arraiolos. François and Jean-Cristophe have chosen a land surrounded only by olive fields, orange orchards and meadows where sheep flock grow as the ideal setting for their contemporary villa. Rooms combine locally sourced materials (marble, cork, white limestone), traditional colourful rugs from Monsaraz (Mizette’s mantas alentajanas) and views over the medieval castle and the infinity pool with crafted details and furniture from a modern and stylish Parisian house. Breakfast is served in terracotta plates and is a divine blend of traditional French, Mediterranean and Portuguese specialities…
by Jean-Christophe Lalanne
Born in 1964 in Marmande (near Bordeaux), a former tennis teacher, Jean-Christophe started his career in the fashion industry in Paris in 1992 and he is still in the fashion management. A few years ago he (together with François) bought a big peaceful land in Portugal and built Villa Extramuros, a modern haven in the Alentejo countryside. Jean-Christophe and François are sublimely taking care of it and of their four awesome in-house 4 cats, Mr Toto, Ms Lulu, Mr Riri e Ms Mila.
We were told that no matter what we’d ordered it would have been delicious. If you travel to Antelajo, this restaurant and gourmet supermarket is a culinary stop not to be missed. The journey to get here takes you through meadows tinted of violet and yellow where cows graze freely, olive fields and oak forests and lands populated by storks until you get to the beautiful and timeless city of Estremoz, another gem of inland Portugal. Gadanha’s kitchen uses the same ingredients you will have so often tasted in this country: fava beans, aged ham, prawns, potatoes, fresh mushrooms, salted codfish, garlic, coriander, rice, tangerine, extra virgin olive oil and herbs. Yet the combinations are so refined the food here is an authentic work of art, modern and delicious at the same time. There is something traditional yet fresh in the decor of the terrace and the dining room. You leave Estremoz and Gadanh with your heart full of beautiful landscapes, villages and flavours that belong to Portugal’s most intimate tradition.
In the narrow and quieter streets of the famous Evora ask the locals for Luar de Janeiro and they will point you in the right direction. The restaurant glass door opens onto a small square room with a glass door fridge full of typical homemade desserts, one big round table and a long bar separating from the open kitchen where the chefs cook traditional chicken pies and other local specialities. The main room is very quiet and the elegant people at the tables look like regular customers. After you’ve taken your seat they bring you some mixed antipasti to start with: aged goat cheese, olives beans and tuna salad, mushrooms with coriander, bread baked in the wooden oven, white melon and Iberico ham. The menu is a triumph of grilled meat and fish, prepared according to ancient local recipes and served in abundant portions. Lisbon is not short of juicy tropical fruit (mango, pineapple and melon), which give this typically continental meal the exotic taste of far away islands.
We were told we would have loved it. We were told of a simple stretch of coast behind the pine trees, gravel cycling paths, a happy hippy atmosphere and two restaurants, one sophisticated and one more relaxed. Now that we’ve been to Bungenäs, we can guarantee that you will be up for a special summer. An inspiring and eccentric place, a promontory where to eat with new friends, a beach with metal sun loungers to fall asleep under the trees, a name you will want to reveal only to those people you know will be able to appreciate its magic. To get here you walk through the woods, open a gate and carefully close it behind you, then keep walking along a path surrounded by oak trees, pine trees, hedges and bushes. The air smells of mountains and the light filters through the branches…
We are in the Haut Marais, it’s breakfast time and we walk along a narrow street toward one of our favourite cafés (Café Pinson). We get to a corner shop with a turquoise façade; stop at the smell, fresh and aromatic, of what seems rice with oriental herbs (lemongrass, jasmine, perhaps sesame). We have a look through the window and discover people carefully preparing delicious Parisian bento. No matter where the day will take us, we will come back here for lunch later today and then again and again…
by Adam, Emily and Colette Harteau
We are Adam & Emily and we became parents to Colette Nova, aka “the ambassador of love and joy”, in January 2011. We have traveled through places like Southern Africa, Southeast Asia, Polynesia, New Zealand, Japan and even circumnavigated North America in our VW Westfalia. Currently we are on a grand adventure in our Westy, driving through the Americas. Our Open Road will serve as a modern family portrait, as we shed our robes of comfort to reexamine the American Dream, we hope to inspire others to create, eat well, spend quality time together, and adventure into their own great backyards.
Being the curious passionate foodies and insatiable gastro-scouts we are, we couldn’t but become regulars at Noodle & Hot Dogs Bar. The proximity to home, the easy and relaxed atmosphere and our respect for the two founder chefs, Beniamino and Eugenio, have certainly helped to make this love grow. Noodle & Hot Dogs Bar is a modern diner, a narrow room with high ceilings, where you can try (sometimes for the very first time) traditional street food from all around the world…
Luxembourg City, Luxembourg
Our answer to the fifth question of our new Meraviglia interview (“A dish that recently surprised you”) today would be: “Anything from Happ’s daily menu”. It’s a restaurant take away (and home delivery) in a residential neighbourhood of Luxembourg City serving delicious simple food. All our vegetarian wishes were fully satisfied. That’s why every time we look for a light, fresh, colourful, healthy and yummy meal, we miss Happ…
A few blocks away from the Louvre the inebriating smell of Asian food reaches you and takes you to the little Parisian Tokyo on Rue Saint-Anne. Many of these restaurants offer quick and tasty meals. Stop at 2, Rue Villedo if you are looking for the perfect spot for a relaxed lunch with someone special. The room is long and narrow, the antique clock hanging on the wall, the wood panels and the mirrors remind of an elegant restaurant carriage on a train from the start of the century. Try the delicate salmon onigiri: black seaweed, white rice and pink fish presented with all the elegance and attention to details that are so typical of Japanese culture. Or order a hot pot of traditional Japanese spaghetti stretched by hand. This is the temple of udon. Yet, every single dish is a delight, including the peach sorbet.
For us, breakfast is a daily ritual. Whether you have it in the comfort of your home or choose to go out, this is a meal that deserves to be enjoyed. For a special breakfast, head to Café Pinson and order homemade pistachio madeleine, accompanied by a fruit smoothie or a tall glass of almond milk. This is the temple of detox: super food (kale, spirulin, sprouts), raw food (raw cacao), organic food and homemade food. The decor is the same that you would find in a contemporary bar in Copenhagen with wifi, comfortable sofas and trendy music. Sit back and relax.