Eat, drink, and be merry, Lisbon
Antonio arranged a wine tasting at VINI PORTUGAL located in the area of Praca do Comercio, on Sala Ogival. We had the pleasure of tasting three different area wines - a red - a white and a green.
I really enjoyed the white wine.
The folks at Vini Portugal were very accommodating and explained each wine as presented.
Vini Portugal is the official association of Portuguese wine producers and the State. There is considerable focus to promote Portuguese wines abroad, so they offer tourists to sample for free, wines from different areas. There is a large map on the wall, depicting the wine growing areas of Portugal.
Portugal produces some very nice beers. Sagres and Superbock are the most popular brands and you'll be able to get at least one of these in almost all bars and restaurants in Lisbon. Beer is very good value and you can get a copa (20 cl) for about a Euro. The standard size is Imperial (33 cl) though in touristy bars they will sometimes bring you a caneca (50 cl) if you don’t specify what size you want. Not that I was complaining when it happened.
Well worth trying is the darker version (preta) of these beers. My favourite was Sagres Bohemia, which you can get in a good number of bars (or for about 50 cents in the supermarket). I'd love to have tried more of Portugal’s beers and indeed I probably would have...except the wine was equally good and even cheaper than the beer.
Favorite thing: It is a Portuguese egg tart pastry. They are common in Portugal , Brazil, Angola, Mozambique,Macao....It is belived that pasttry was credted before 18th century by catholic nuns at the Jeronimos Monastery. The Casa Pasteis de Belem in Lisbon was the first place outside the convent selling the original creamy desert, after the monstery was closed in 1820.
Favorite thing: Rua Das Portas De Santo Antao is a pedestrian street near Rossio where you find a big choice of restaurants, some guesthouses, several shops, and a small bar where you can have a glass of Ginjinha. This is a drink made by infusing sour cherries in alcohol; adding sugar and other ingredients. Ginjinha is a typical drink in Lisbon, Alcobaca and Obidos.
I was in shape, but barely. Back then, the lambada was the craze. There was plenty of lights and plenty of music, rather like the Virgilina Summerfest. José, Dulce, Joaquina and I stopped at this cafe for escargot. I expected them to be like the ones I had at the Capuccine Restaurant in Paris almost exactly 4 years earlier. However, these were small and almost flavourless.
That night, I slept well out of sheer exhaustion. I don't think I even heard the chicken. On waking up on Sunday, 8 July, I felt a little better, but not back to the way I was when I went to bed on 6 July 1990. José's Mama packed me a big lunch to take on the train- plenty of bread and chorizo. I got back to Madrid all right, I slept very well that night, and by the time I woke up for class on Monday, 9 July, there was almost no trace of the cold.
Favorite thing: As you stroll along between the monastery and Belem Tower and the Monument to the Discoveries, and really all over historic Lisbon, you will find little shops and refreshment stands strategically placed to sell their wares to the visiting tourists. Usually you will welcome the opportunity to purchase a coca-cola or pastry or chocolate bar and relax for a minute or two between sights. After all, this is southwestern Europe and the sun probably is shining and a little shade and a little rest go a long way towards keeping your energy levels optimum for the day’s excursions.
Fondest memory: The food is very good in Lisbon. There are lots of fresh salads and vegetables, but if you’re watching the calories be careful as everything is swimming in olive oil. The soups are always delicious but the temperature varies from boiling hot to luke warm depending how long ago it was cooked. Perhaps that has changed with the popularity of microwave ovens.
The brand new square, Martim Moniz, faces the Hotel Mundial. It has underground parking space.
The end stop of that magnificent old tram number 28 is at this square, but if you want to start the tour you will have to cross the square and go to the opposite site of it.
There is the start stop of the tram.
You cannot just stay on it while it makes the 100 meter tour around the square from end to start. That was funny.
Fondest memory: One evening we took a bottle of Porto with us and sat at the square.
An aged local came walking by... bit tipsy, and we shared the bottle with him.
He only knew Portuguese and we didn't, but still we had a lot of fun.
It was full moon over the Castelo de Sao Jorge and we sang together of When the moon struck your eye like a big pizza pie.
It just was fun.
Favorite thing: Tap water is safe to drink, even in spouts and fountains. If you notice a different taste from the water you have back home, probably it’s because the water is a bit more calcarious. You can always buy bottled water which is available everywhere should you so wish.
Try the coffee Portuguese style. Just add sugar (don't try it without) and maybe a small piece of bitter chocolate. I loved it in the morning but, not after 4pm otherwise I couldn't sleep properly.
Fondest memory: When a street football game was suspended for long enough to let us walk through with our son (7 months) in safety and then the owner of the restaurant who carried him around for 20 minutes while we ate our food.
IF YOU WANT TO HAVE A MEAL SEEING THE BRIDGE AND THE JESUS CHRIST YOU CAN GO TO "DOCAS" THAT IS A PLACE JUST BEASIDE THE RIVER AND YOU CAN FIND THERE SEVERAL RESTAURANTS AND CAFÉS. IT IS REAL NICE! IT IS IN ALCÂNTARA AND NOT FAR FROM BELÉM.
NEAR THE CASTLE, YOU WILL FIND GOOD RESTAURANTS AND SOMEONES WITH NICE VIEWS. AND TAKE A WALK IN ALFAMA. ENJOY YUUR STAY!
Okay, this might not be the FIRST place I would take someone to in Lisbon, but for sure I would take them if the like a good meal or even better BEER.
This one time monastary, or was it convent??, is being put to better use these days, it is a micro-brewery making several beers for its taps.
Antonio of VT fame took the VT meet there for lunch and drinks and from what I could gather most everyone enjoyed thoroughly.
They are located in the Baxia District of Lisbon, not too far from the Elevador de Santa Justa.
Hope that title caught your eye. If you are on your way to Lisbon and want to spend some time sampling Port, Portugal's internationally famous export, look no further than SOLAR DO VINHO DO PORTO. From the comfort of your armchair you can choose from 300 types by the bottle or the glass. Prices start from as little as €1.30 per glass.
You will find the Port Wine Institute - Rua de São Pedro de Alcântara 45 (that's at the top of Elevador da Gloria) Open Mon - Fri 11am - midnight, Saturday 2pm - midnight
If you want an English pub in Lisbon then the Pump House is a good place to go. We used this as our meeting point before all England’s games during Euro 2004 (only the ones in Lisbon obviously). They have a big screen where they show live sports and there is a reasonable bar menu including a Full English Breakfast – a must for every Englishman (or woman) abroad.
Directions: From Cais do Sodre, walk down Rua dos Morales past O’Gillins. Rua da Moeda is 5th street on the right on junction with a small post office
Everyone knows "Porto wine", but there are many others good wines in Portugal (I should say better wines, because I'm not a very big "Porto's" fan!).
So, one thing you can’t miss is to try a Portuguese wine.
It goes with everything! Take it with your meal or on the end of it, or only with a piece of the finest cheese.
I prefer wines from "Alentejo", like "cartuxa", "Alandra", "Borba". But I would not refuse a wine from the "Dão" or "Palmela". Or even, as an apetiyser, a "madeira".
Take my advice and (if you're not going to drive!...) give Portuguese wines a shot!!!