Zé Carioca: Brasilian cuisine in tasteful environment
It is Brazilian cuisine in a nicely renovated building with some art-deco accents. We ate one of the menu's, for two persons, with three. It starters was thin meat with smokes salmon. Then we got pineapple rice with shrimps boiled (?) in a pine apple cut open. Next we had different dishes with different types of meat, almost as much as you could eat. Very good. The desert was a kind of vanille custard with cherry liquor.
We liked the atmosphere, the quality and quantiy of the food and the white house wine. It is not cheap, but also not very expensive. Good quality to price ratio. We paid about 80 euro for three persons.
Favorite Dish: The shrimps in pineapple got most of the votes, also because it was served inside a pineapple.
Cafe Santa Cruz.: Nice cafe in a historical setting.
Cafe Santa Cruz isset in a former church and is one of the nicest cafes in Coimbra.
It´s quite a large cafe that serves both coffee and cakes aswell as food.
The place also have fado music from time to time and when they do then it is usually free, so pop by to see if there is fado on when you are in Coimbra.
The place also has free wifi so you can pop by there with your laptop if you feel like and check your mail while sipping coffee.
- Food and Dining
- Wine Tasting
Restaurante o Trovadore: Excellent place for lunch
Facing the steps to the old Cathedral, so very well placed for lunch when the Cathedral’s closed - I think 1.30-2.30. And extremely good food, I thought. The menu gives you a short list of the what the chef suggests for the day (when I went there were only two things on it) and you choose, or you do as I did and cock an eyebrow at the waiter and he says what he advises. I ended up having an EXCELLENT dorado (type of fish) with EXCELLENT wine (also on the head waiter’s advice). A slightly old-world atmosphere, with a high ceiling, a gallery, etc – several other people eating there looked as if they might be university teachers - but not ruinously expensive.
- Arts and Culture
- Castles and Palaces
The Serenata: Good food on large plates
A very good dinner there, which cost much less than I’d have expected to pay for a meal of that quality anywhere else. There were plenty of other people eating there, including students (which means it isn't ruinously expensive). A happy atmosphere for the evening.
- Arts and Culture
- Historical Travel
- Business Travel
Café Santa Cruz: A national monument
It is not common a coffee shop being recognized as a national monument, but that is the case of this one. Using the same building of an old abandoned church, right beside Santa Cruz church, this shop, in neo-Manueline style seems to be part of the monastery. It is not, but, though severily aleterd, some signs of the old church of St John of Santa Cruz are still visible.
- Arts and Culture
- Historical Travel
Pizza Hut: The best things with the portugese food-culture
I will probably be killed by all the gourmets out there, but I can't resist to say that the best part of the portugese food-culture is the part that has been taken from abroad.
And best of it all is the american "Pizza hut". In Sweden I more or less never eat there since the pizzas are small and expensive, but since the food in Portugal was so bad we ended up in this kind of restaurants 5-6 times during two weeks there.
But specially in Coimbra and Porto this place was really nice! The service was good, the pizza were amazing and the beer was... oh soo good...
Favorite Dish: The bacon and ananas-pizza.... Yammi!! :)
Cafe Santa Cruz: Nice Setting, cheap eats!
We strolled to the end of Pr. 8 de Maio and stumbled into this cafe. There are tables outside where you can watch everyone, but the vaulted church-like interior seemed to be more beautiful. The waiters were helpful, though they didn't speak English. As with the rest of Portugal they were in no hurry to get us out, even if it was busy. It was a fun place to people watch. The patrons seemed to be mainly students and older gents looking over architectural diagrams.
Favorite Dish: We had some spicy ham sandwiches and a plate of parma ham and cheese. Nice simple lunch.
- Study Abroad
Pastelaria Toledo: Custard Tarts!
Several places in Spain and Portugal serve the little custard tarts and all we tried were quite tasty. The best were in Belem outside of Lisbon, but the ones here were very good as well. I can't tell you why this is called Pastelaria Toledo but it is a good place for a stop right on Largo da Portagem. Nice pick me up after wandering the pedestrian street in front, the Rua Ferreira Borges.
Favorite Dish: Wonderful little tarts and coffee for about $4 for both of us.
Montanha Cafe: A little gem at the Portagem
This may be part of a chain of Nicola restaurants and is not haute cuisine, but is a nice spot for snacks and refreshment which are simple and basic but very good. We stopped here a couple of times as it is located in the sort of crossroads of the old city right on the Largo da Portagem which makes it a good people watching spot as well.
Favorite Dish: After a frustrating and fruitless search for a place we wanted to go one evening, we stopped here for a late bit to eat we had pizza Bologanese, a simple cheese and minced beef one that was quite tasty and inexpensive. A small but decent glass of wine is only 1.25 Euros
Cafe Santa Cruz: Eat in a church!
Right next door to the Church of Santa Cruz is the Cafe Santa Cruz where we stopped for a light lunch. Like much of Portuguese food, it was very simple, but they somehow always seem to manage to make even taste wonderful. I found again that my lack of adequate preparation made me miss something. The outdoor eating area is wonderful for people watching so we did not go inside at all. I understand that it was formerly a church and that the ladies room is in a confessional. Wish my wife could have checked it out. The cafe is also said to be the hangout for intellectuals in the 19th Century. Maybe I could have absorbed some intelligence if I had gone inside.
Favorite Dish: We had toasted ham and cheese sandwiches. My wife had what she said was good lemonade and I had a refreshing Super Bock beer. Very good and very inexpensive.
Astoria Hotel's Amphitryon Restaurant: Elegant dining
This is an elegant old restaurant reminiscent of bygone days and has wonderful Portuguese, as well as continental, cuisine. The walls are wood paneled which gives it a formal but relaxed feel. As the hotel is one of 5 Alexandre de Almeida hotels in Portugal, it has exclusive rights to serve Bussaco wine from the Almeida estate which purports to the be last hunting grounds of Portuguese kings.
Favorite Dish: We both had the gespacho which was nice but a little thin and shared appetizers of tuna, carrots, olives with toast rounds and herb butter. The roast Iberian pig was very succulent and accompanied by an unusual but good spinach puree and a combination of rice and wild rice. My wife had the grouper in a nice light sauce with a vegetable medley of zuchinni, carrots, rosemary olives mushrooms, etc. Simple but light and tasty. The desserts were also very good - one ice cream surrounded by cooked apples and one with a nice raspberry sauce on top. Always important to me, the coffee was excellent as well.
This is an upscale restaurant so is certainly not on any budget list. However, if you are in the mood for a fine meal in a grand old hotel, this would be hard to beat.
Cafe Diligencia: Good Food, Great Fado
Maybe the Fado is done for tourists here, but it sure doesn't appear to be as there were 6 or 8 guys, all of whom knew each other, who played the guitar and sang the poignant and soulful songs. It was a wonderful evening, sitting at the table just across from the singers and having a simple but delicious meal. The meal starte with an appetizer plate featuring a nice hard cheese, bread, butter and a sardine pate. I had never seen this before and gave it a try. It was okay but I am not much of a seafood eater so didn't eat much of it.
The Fado show doesn't start until 9:30 or 10:00 p.m. We left around midnight and they were still going strong. I think the scheduled end is 2:00 a.m.
Favorite Dish: For our entrees we had a grilled pork chop and Steak Diligencia which was very tasty and topped with a fried egg. The salads were simple but very tasty - lettuce, tomatoes, carrots, onion and olives dressed with oil and vinegar. Both dishes were also accompanied by fried potatoes. Nothing fancy, but all delicious. We met a Lituanian couple at the next table who were just having coffee and dessert. Their chocolate mousse looked so delicious we had one for dessert. Nice sweet, creamy chocolate - can't beat that. I highly recommend this place for both the music and the food.
A Cozinha: A Cozinha
It's not the cheapest place but it is definitely one where for about 10 Euros you'll eat great, local food.
They speak english.
The surrounding area is not beautiful.
Favorite Dish: "Bacalhau com batata a murro" - It's a must! Cod fish with boiled potatoes with olive oil. For cod fish lovers.
"Massada de tamboril" - For fish lovers.
- Budget Travel
Restaurante Democratica: Homestyle food, family atmosphere
We had a hearty meal at this family-run place and we have a little old man to thank. We were just strolling down the road when this guy motions for us to come and eat in his restaurant. His smile was so genuine that we had to give it a try. There's nothing fancy about the interior. Two rooms divided by a low wall are simply decorated. A television perched up high in a corner was showing the news and it appeared to be full of all locals, except for us. We were surprised when the waitress brought us a menu in Portuguese and another in English. Normally, I try to avoid places that have an English menu, but this place had great food.
Favorite Dish: I had Caldo Verde, a traditional Portuguese soup that I've even made at home (I love to cook too- there's more to life than just traveling - ha, ha). This soup is made from a potato based broth with kale and sausage. It was great. For the main course, I had the dish in the picture. I can't remember the name of it, but it was made of a chicken broth, with noodles and chunks of chicken, bay leaf, carrots and lots of other hearty stuff. Yum.
Zé Manel dos Ossos: Zé Manel dos Ossos
Ze Manel dos Ossos (downtown, near Coimbra's railway station.
Quim dos Ossos (near Avenida Sa da Bandeira).
The employees humor. Absolutly fantastic.
The walls are full of pieces of paper towels. When people go there they use to write something on the towel and fix it on the walls. There are texts written in several languages: portuguese (the majority), spanish, english, chinese...
On a wall there is a placard with a picture of a fat man eating and a sentence written on the top: 'Eat sh*t! 487 billion flies can't be wrong.'
Favorite Dish: Javali with beans at Zé Manel dos Ossos (around 7 Euros per person).
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