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.
In rua do Alacrim, in the busy Chiado neighbourhood, Saturday lunch is at Kaffeehaus. The atmosphere is of a bright café from the Haut Marais with an unusual Viennese menu and a choice of vegetarian options. After that, spend some time at A Vida Portoguesa, a traditional gift shop that embodies the city’s folk and vintage soul. At sunset, wait until the light gets soft, then go up to the seventh floor of a parking building now turned into a bar: Park is a secret garden terrace with breeze from the ocean and flocks of swallows flying close to the city roofs and the river. For dinner, get a table at Sea Me – Peixaria Moderna. It’s like being in a modern fishmonger. You choose your fish; they weight it, price it and send it to the open kitchen. Service and food presentation are from an elegant neo bistro: roasted octopus and salted codfish served in big portions and a delicate pineapple carpaccio with lavender ice cream. Alternatively, go to the newly open Casa de Pasto (from the same management of Pensaõ Amor) at Cais do Sodré. It’s Sunday morning and the day starts with a traditional pastel de nata with cream filling and a sprinkle of cinnamon served warm, in the historical patisserie Pastéis de Belém on one of the main streets of Belem. For lunch go up the Miradouro de Caterina, to Restaurante Pharmacia (located in the old Pharmacy Museum). You will eat in a bright room with aqua marina sideboards, white cupboards and pastel plates. All local dishes are served in versatile petiscos, small plates to share: cannolicchi bean risotto with oil, lemon and wild fennel, aubergine rolls with cheese, dates and mint, shrimps á bras with stew onions and eggs, chickpea salad and crème brulée.
On a road trip from Lisbon through inland Portugal right to the border with Spain you will fall in love with the small white villages of Alentejo (Arraiolos, Évora, Estremoz, Monsaraz), the summer light and the enchanting rural landscape. Our secret spots: Alentejana Mizette Factory, Mercearia Gadanha, Luar do Janueiro, Villa Extramuros. Words and pictures Meraviglia Paper.