Portuguese cuisine is hearty, honest and delicious, with the principal ingredients being pork, bread, rice, olive oil and, of course, seafood. Set aside any worries about overdosing on bacalhau (salt cod), however. The restaurants in Lisbon offer an impressively sophisticated variety of dishes, cooked with finesse. On a recent trip I had a number of dining experiences worth sharing, both firmly local and globally inspired, upscale and down-to-earth.
A much-buzzed-about Peruvian spot in Príncipe Real, A Cevicheria opened its doors in 2014. The space — a white-tiled cube with a blue patterned floor and an enormous octopus sculpture hanging from the ceiling — isn’t quite large enough to keep up with demand, so there is often a wait. But the food, prepared by Portuguese chef Kiko Martins and a small army of young cooks, is confident and flavorful. Meals start with cornbread, crackers blackened with squid ink, and seaweed butter. The Puro ceviche was a standout — meaty hunks of pinkish-white croaker fish bathed in a spicy leche de tigre marinade, along with sweet-potato chips, red onion and seaweed. A hearty roasted octopus came with barbecue sauce, puréed black potatoes, burst cherry tomatoes and pork crackling “popcorn.” The wine list is fairly limited — stick with a pisco sour.
Rua Dom Pedro V 129. Tel. (351) 218-038-815