Our Lisbon stop was short but with sufficient time to sample some great fare and a couple of ice cream shops as well. Traveling through central Portugal, the Portugese Coast and parts of Spain with a 5-year-old and 11-month-old, we decided that it was easier on this trip to eat lunches out and cook dinners back at our rental apartments. This worked out perfectly in Lisbon.
We arrived Tuesday in time to drop our stuff at the hotel (we used airline miles to book a suite with a tiny but sufficient kitchen) and head out for a stroll followed by lunch. In our search for restaurant recommendations, we stumbled across a great blog called The Purple Foodie. Based on its review of Taberna da Rua das Flores, we decided to check it out.
Taberna da Rua das Flores (Rua das Flores 103) isn’t exactly kid catering as it’s pretty tiny, the menu is limited and they don’t have a high chair. That said we didn’t feel unwelcome at all, quite the contrary. The owners were very nice and even offered to puree the soup I ordered for the little guy.
The tables were small but sufficient and had an eclectic mix of chairs and stools for seating. Our daughter loved the stools and thought it was really cool to sit on one for lunch. The food was simple but excellent. We started with the cheese, which reminded me somewhat of a fresh goat ricotta. The little guy had the spinach soup, which I sampled … just to make sure it was ok, of course. It was delicious!
For our mains, I had the traditional Portugese cod and chickpea salad and my husband and daughter shared the tuna bolognese pasta. Both dishes were excellent. We opted to skip dessert and set our sights on locating some ice cream. We succeeded and enjoyed some delicious scoops of good quality gelato at Artisani, a gelato chain.
Wednesday morning we headed out to do a little bit of exploring followed by lunch at Cantinho Do Avillez, the casual restaurant by famous Portugese chef José Avillez. Again, not exactly a kid catering restaurant. But, they were very accommodating and there was enough room to keep our son in his stroller to eat.
The food and wine list were great. We started with cheese, again – something we just can’t ever seem to pass up. This time, the cheese was baked and spreadable on the three different types of freshly baked breads they served us.
We then shared a prego no pao, Portugal’s traditional and delicious steak sandwich. And, by “shared” I mean I ate a bite, my husband ate two bites and our daughter inhaled the rest. Fortunately, she wasn’t as excited about the scallops or the cod that we ordered for our seconds so we actually got to eat them ourselves. Yum!
We did not have a reservation and although they seated us the tables completely filled up and we saw people later turned away. We probably got lucky because we were there when they opened. OK, well, we actually showed up before they opened and walked around the block a bit (read: stalked the front door) until they let us in.
After lunch, we again passed on dessert and headed this time to Santini to try another gelato shop – purely for research for the blog, of course! Santini is super popular and gets lines out the door. They change their flavors seasonally and have a cheery red and white interior.
The gelatos were good and the flavors were definitely more interesting that those at Artisani though they seemed a little less creamy. Family consensus was that the gelato at Artisani was a little bit better.
Of course, I can’t sign off without mentioning the delicious pasteis de nata. These are traditional and very popular cream tartlets. While we were stalking, um, I mean waiting for Cantinho Do Avillez to open my husband happened upon Tartine, a pastry shop and cafe. He picked up three of the little pastries (one for each of us and one for our daughter) to enjoy after dinner back at our room that evening.
Creamy but not cloying with perfectly flaky crust, these pasteis de nata were delicious! Our daughter may have fallen asleep without eating hers so we may have eaten it ourselves (and so greedily we forgot to snap a picture). Oops! Don’t worry, she more than made up for it in ice cream consumption the rest of the trip.
Next up, Galicia! The northeast outpost of Spain with gorgeous coastlines and seafood to die for. Yep, more eating on the way! I hope you’re hungry.