São Miguel: Restaurante da Associação Agrícola

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Restaurante da Associação Agrícola

 

When researching the best restaurants on São Miguel, all lists include Restaurante da Associação Agrícola. Every list proclaimed you must try the “Bife à Regional” – steak topped with a fried egg, garlic and local peppers. Of course only Azorean beef is served in the restaurant. We were surprised to learn while on the island that cows outnumber humans in the Azores! That helps explain the abundance of delicious cheese! Because São Miguel is so green, there is a vast amount of fertile land and grass for the cows to eat. This results in rich, marbled beef for everyone on the island! As you may have gathered from the name of the restaurant, Restaurante da Associação Agrícola belongs to an association of farmers. Everyone on the island knows this is where you go for the highest quality beef – even the woman sitting next to me on my flight from Lisbon to Ponta Delgada recommended we go here!

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Lisbon: SEA ME

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SEA ME

 

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.

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Lisbon: Wine Bar do Castelo

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Wine Bar do Castelo

 

Of course being in Portugal, we really wanted to spend some time doing wine tastings. Because Lisbon is a big tourist destination, we wanted to do some research to really find the best place and discovered Wine Bar do Castelo. If we didn’t know about it, based on its appearance and proximity to the São Jorge Castle, we most likely wouldn’t have gone inside – but what a mistake that would have been! Wine Bar do Castelo has an amazing wine selection and a really enthusiastic, knowledgeable staff. Before ordering a glass you’re able to have a discussion about what you’re looking for and receive a bit of history lesson from the sommelier. You’re also able to taste a few bottles before making your choice which we really appreciated! Definitely recommend if you’re in Lisbon!

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Lisbon: LXFactory

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Arriving at LXFactory

 

Sunday we headed to the neighborhood of Alcântara to check out the LXFactory, a creative island in a factory setting with cool shops, restaurants, and galleries. Because it was Sunday, we were also able to see the weekly flea market. We loved walking around the photogenic LXFactory and enjoying all of the art.

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Lisbon: Canned Fish

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Our Portuguese canned fish bounty

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!

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Lisbon: A Day in Belém

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Koen and me in front of the Belém Tower

 

One the biggest attractions in Lisbon is the district of Belém, situated west of the city center. We were staying in Alfama, and although we like to walk every where, Belém is more than hour away. So we took an Uber! There is not so much to do in Belém – it’s more things to see, so you only need to plan in a half day.

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Lisbon: Marisqueira Cervejaria Ramiro

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Marisqueira Cervejaria Ramiro on Wednesday night

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!!

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Sintra Part V: Azenhas do Mar

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View of the city of Azenhas do Mar – taken by our Tuk Tuk driver 🙂

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.

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Lisbon: Belcanto

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Belcanto by José Avillez

Koen and I are married 10 years today! Where better to celebrate than the 75th Best Restaurant in the World, Belcanto by Chef José Avillez? We really had such a wonderful evening discovering Portuguese cuisine. The food and service were outstanding. We also loved how the food was served in riddles and poems!

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Lisbon: Time Out Market

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The Time Out Market in Lisbon

I don’t think anyone goes to Lisbon without visiting the Time Out Market. To quote their site:

Have you ever heard of curated burgers? Curated nigiri? Curated pizzas, sandwiches or even curated cod? Probably not. After all, Time Out Market is the first market in the world where everything has been chosen, tasted and tested (with four or five stars, and not one star less) by an independent panel of city experts: Time Out’s own journalists and critics. More than 40 spaces with the leading representatives in all the food categories that help make Lisbon what it is – and tastes – all together under one roof. Find out everything you need to taste – and what Time Out had to say about it.

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