In Odeceixe beach you will learn that being a surfer means being part of a minority religion. You will discover that standing apart and watching their daily liturgies you can enjoy a sheer spectacle and realize that each place our friends in Casa da Dinà suggested we should visit are worth the long journey necessary to reach them. Bar da Praia, folk and eclectic eatery, with a view on the ocean.
After having collected fresh eggs in the henhouse, Dinà starts preparing the strawberry tart that her guests will taste while it is still warm. Baskets full of bread and croissant, tasty squeezed fruit juices, seasonal fruit salads and mocha coffee will also be ready soon. In the meantime Philippe will serve every single dish with an innate old-fashioned elegance. Just a few rooms are available, all exceptionally tastefully furnished with just the essentials: a bed, a desk, a lamp, a bench, a rug and a vase of fresh flowers. Plus a painting of the artist of the house. Do not leave Casa da Dinà before having visited Philippe’s atelier and having listened to his inspiring tales.
Whitewashed ranches surrounded by golden fields and filled with black and white souvenirs have seen a family passing the baton to the next generation for two centuries. Here, old tools and yellowed boxes are upgraded to decorations. Every morning (freshly roasted) boiling coffee is served in flagons made of iron and glass. Handmade ceramic sets are painted in the perfect tone of light blue and the small bazar can be compared to our favourite concept stores in Paris…
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…
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.