For our last dinner in Porto we decided to eat at Cantinho do Avillez, the more casual and relaxed restaurant of Chef José Avillez. Chef José Avillez is the most famous chef in Portugal and is most famous for his restaurant Belcanto, currently ranked #75 best restaurant in the world. Whereas Belcanto is pure Portuguese cooking, Cantinho do Avillez is Portuguese with inspiration from trips abroad. The cherry gazpacho and green bean tempura were the best!
Koen and I love gastronomic tourism – you really are able to get a sense of the city and culture by eating the food. While in Porto, we couldn’t pass up the chance to eat at The Yeatman, one of only two 2 star Michelin restaurants in Portugal (the other being Belcanto in Lisbon). Most notable is the wine cellar at The Yeatman. Maybe the name sounds familiar if you’ve been reading my posts – it comes from the port house Taylor, Fladgate, & Yeatman, more commonly just called Taylor’s Port.
When we decided to visit Porto, Portugal, one of the first things I looked into were visits to the port houses! I love a glass of tawny port after dinner with some cheese and was interesting in learning (and tasting!) more.
One of the largest and oldest of the founding port wine houses is Taylor, Fladgate, & Yeatman – more commonly known as Taylor’s – founded in 1692. This was recommended to me by a client who had just been to Porto. So we made a reservation for the tour and lunch at their restaurant Barão Fladgate.
The Azores are really famous for being one of the best places to go for whale watching. Unfortunately we were visiting during the off-season, but we wanted to out to sea anyway. Luckily dolphins can be spotted year-round!
When looking up the best restaurants for seafood in Lisbon, you’ll find SEA ME – a Portuguese/Japanese fusion restaurant in Chiado. Because we love Japanese food, we really wanted to visit SEA ME! We discovered the restaurant a bit late in the trip, but luckily were able to secure a reservation our last night in Lisbon. I knew already a bit about the Portuguese-Japanese connection, because I watched a documentary about tempura in Japan, that it was introduced in the 16th century by the Portuguese living in Nagasaki.
Canned fish has gone gourmet in Portugal. There are many speciality shops throughout Lisbon and Porto and you can’t help but be drawn to all of the colorful packaging! We bought quite a few to take with us to enjoy back in Belgium!
Marisqueira Cervejaria Ramiro was one of our must-visit restaurants in Lisbon! We first heard about on Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations when he was in Lisbon to taste an array of local seafood ending with a prego, or steak sandwich, for “dessert”. It was so delicious we went back again – normally we never repeat restaurants on vacation! But we just had to have those scarlet shrimp again!!
Portugal is famous for its seafood and Sintra is no exception. So to conclude our day trip, after researching and asking friends, we decided on Azenhas do Mar. To our surprise this is the name of both the restaurant and the city! So when we asked our Tuk Tuk driver to take us here he looked at us very weirdly and said it’s two towns away. But luckily he lives closeby and we negotiated a price and off we went! He happily let us know that after dropping us off he could just go home and not work the evening shift.
Sometimes things just work out. While planning for our trip to Portugal, it can get overwhelming try to decide on where to stay in each city. For Lisbon I had debated between Alfama – the eastern part of the city – or a central neighborhood like Chiado or Baixa. Luckily in the end I chose Alfama! What a romantic, beautiful neighborhood!