So, as you (hopefully) already read the first part, I´ll jump in and welcome you to the second part of our Lisboan culinary adventure without further ado. This time I’ll write about our experiences with ceviche and fado music.
As I explored different culinary blogs about Lisbon, one of the must-visit places is the restaurant “A Cevicheria” ran by Chef Kiko Martins. The restaurant is located in the Rua Dom Pedro V 129 and it isn’t that noticeable from the street. The restaurant doesn’t take reservations so you will have to walk in and try your luck – if they are not able to seat you at the moment, you can give them your contact so that they can put you on their waiting list. In the meantime you can take a walk or even drink something from their street bar (try their pisco sour – it’s a pretty interesting and refreshing cocktail).
As we got there pretty early (they open at 12:00 am), we were seated immediately. The restaurant inside is pretty modern, with a big open kitchen which is enclosed by a beautiful counter/bar. You have a giant octopus hanging from the ceiling and a total of about 8 tables (if my memory serves me well).
And from the start, I’ll tell you – even that I am really happy about eating here, ceviche isn’t my type of food. After all, as I only am a dude who grew up in the continental south-east Europe, 5 courses of raw fish is too much for me. But don’t get me wrong – the food was super fresh and beautifully prepared, I was just overwhelmed with the new consistencies and new tastes in one dish. One thing Chef Kiko does phenomenally is educating you in new tastes.
The service is phenomenal: the waiters are all young good looking guys (the bartender was some sunbathed Portuguese version of Dave Franco, whilst one of the cooks looked like he came in from a photo shooting), who take their time to counsel you in what to choose, what you are eating and how to eat it. A tasting menu costs 43.80€ per person (without drinks) and I would recommend A Cevicheria to everyone who has time to visit it – I can’t promise you will like it but I can promise you will further your taste palette.
Fado music is native to Lisbon (it is said it started around there in the 1820), characterized by sad lyrics and melodies which should evoke the feelings of longing, resignation and melancholy or how Portuguese call it: “saudade”. Lisbon, especially Alfama is flooded with Fado restaurants. As we didn’t book a table in some on the most popular locals on TripAdvisor in advance, we had to try our luck in finding a good fado place.
And as fortune favors the brave, we stumbled upon Tasca do Jaime d’Alfama (translation: Jaime from Alfama’s steak-house – correct me if I am wrong). The small restaurant located in R. de São Pedro 40, seats about 25-30 people and looks a little come down. As the name says this is Jaime’s restaurant – and it truly is. It’s a one-man-show (with a little help from what I think his wife is) where the owner is a server, waiter, barkeeper, singer and actor at the same time. He is a living example of someone who is burning for his idea and exactly knows how to realize it – he does it his way and no other.
The food was also really good – D took a sea bass with grilled vegetables (which was amazing, the best fish I ever tried) whilst I took a traditional dish: bacalhau. If you ever wanted something fatty after a long night out to soak up all the alcohol in you – this is exactly what you want. The service was also really good as the woman who was serving us really cared about our meals (one moment at a time I felt like I was being fed by some overfriendly grandma who wants nothing more than to feed us).
Don’t expect printed receipts here: if you want a rough, authentic local atmosphere this is where you want to be. Singers are coming in from the streets to share their saudade and their songs with you. You are going to see the raw beauty of the Lisboans. You are going to be fed. You are going to be sucked into the atmosphere. You are going to have an experience – ours was positive.
The next, and final part of this trilogy is going to be dedicated to the Lisboan food market “Time Out Mercado da Ribeira” and the restaurant “Wine Not”. See you next time!