Menu matters: where to take out of town guests for dinner

Food — By Paul Bernhardt on October 27, 2011 at 4:22 pm

Depending on the type of meal you want to savour, and the desired neighbourhood in which to enjoy it, Lisbon offers visitors a veritable platter of restaurants to suit all tastes and budgets.

But if you’re not familiar with the city, the choice can be daunting. And the chances are your out of town guests will want to sample local Portuguese gastronomy, or perhaps traditional fare but with a modern, cosmopolitan twist, given the fact that you’re inviting them to eat in the country’s capital. Here are three places to consider.

For good old down-to-earth cuisine in one of the city’s most lively and eclectic neighbourhoods, it doesn’t get much better than at Antigo 1 de Maio. This unpretentious, family-run eatery in Bairro Alto offers up an inexpensive menu of home cooked meat and fish dishes in an inviting and delightfully rustic atmosphere. The locals love it so arrive early to be sure of a table.

Lisbon’s contemporary restaurant scene has garnered well-deserved plaudits for its daring and innovative menus and if you’re a serious foodie into creative cuisine then Manifesto won’t disappoint.

Located in Santos, Lisbon’s trendy “Design District”, this restaurant dazzles with its cutting-edge interior design. Portuguese firebrand Luís Baena, a chef whose mission it is to reinvent the recipe book, directs the kitchen in his own idiosyncratic way. The result is a memorable international culinary experience and one that will surely surprise out-of-towners who might not be aware of just how audacious some Lisbon restaurateurs are becoming.

Faz Gostos

Image: Nileguide

Upholding the middle ground and fusing tradition with modernity is Faz Gostos Lx, in upscale Chiado. Built into the foundations of a former 14th-century convent building, the emphasis here is indeed to blend the historic with the fashionable. It’s the perfect choice for those seeking a restaurant with cultural credentials and a sophisticated menu. The wine list is superb; so too are the cocktails served at a bar decorated with original azulejo (tile) panelling.

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