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Finessing Portugal. Let's talk about food

Finessing Portugal. Let's talk about food

Old Mar 10th, 2022, 12:28 PM
  #21  
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I love soups too, as long as they're not full of fish, seafood, lamb, meat, eggs...!

Maribel - that cheese platter sounds right up my alley, have made a note.

Curious what COIVD test you used to get into Portugal. We're booked for an antigen the day before we leave and I'm assuming due to the price tag that it's "laboratorial" and will pass muster.

We can't do a PCR as we leave on a Tuesday and can't find a place that offers PCR tests on Saturday and can guarantee they'll be back in time.

Last edited by Melnq8; Mar 10th, 2022 at 12:40 PM.
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Old Mar 10th, 2022, 01:17 PM
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I loved loved loved Incomum in Sintra! All dishes are lovingly and expertly prepared, and they have vegan options.
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Old Mar 10th, 2022, 02:43 PM
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Just looked at the menu. I could eat a few things here. But probably not the Lobster and Shoe Rack Cream (?) and Chestnut Cream w/ Foie Gras Ice Cream



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Old Mar 10th, 2022, 02:52 PM
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Incomun is probably Sintra’s best restaurant.

Mel, I thought of you tonight at dinner! It was raining so we kept close by and dined at Rubro Avenida and enjoyed a vegetarian meal. Rubro is a Spanish/Portuguese hybrid serving small plates meant to be shared and prices are very reasonable for this posh Avenida Liberdade area. We shared fried green peppers (pimientos de Padrón), grilled mushrooms and sauteéd vegetables and a bottle of tinto joven (young wine) Esporão Assobio from Douro, 2019. Bill for 2=40 euros. There are several vegetarian dishes including a delicious paella style rice with mushrooms.
Restaurante Rubroy

About the covid test—-absolutely puzzling thing happened—we took it at the Madrid airport, rapid antigen,15 minute turn around, before checking in with Iberia. Cost=30 euros/p. Upon cecking in at Iberia (Schengen flight), the agent only wanted to see our CDC vax cards (we had the WA state digital ones in our wallet). No problems. But when I tried to present our Covid test results and Portuguese required Passenger Locator Form, she said “we don’t need these”.
So…we expected to present both upon arrival at LIS. But no….Our flight attendant did hand out paper Passenger Locator forms for those who had forgotten to fill them out, but….When we arrived at Terminal 2 at LIS, no one checked either, nor was there any agent, any line there to present them. We collected our checked bags, waltzed out of the airport and caught a taxi. We’re still trying to figure it out.

Furthermore, when we checked into the Britânia, the desk didn’t ask for a covid test, CDC vax card or even our passports (because we’ve stayed there several times and they had our passports on file).

We wasted 60 euros on the rapid antigen covid tests BUT only I suspect because ours was an intra-European flight and most passengers had the EU vax certificate. I’m still mystified. Nonetheless, it gave us peace of mind to have had the rapid antigen test and assume that if ours had been a transatlantic flight from the US to LIS it would have been required and checked carefully.
Go figure!
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Old Mar 10th, 2022, 03:51 PM
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We had lunch in Sintra at Tascantiga. It was a nice stop with outdoor tables for small plates and drinks after walking most of the day. I mainly remember the yummy melted cheese with ham and figs. We stopped at a bakery, Casa Piriquita, for a snack. While trying to make a decision, a family told us we had to try the travesseiro, which made the bakery famous. They even ordered for us to make sure we got the correct item. We weren't disappointed.

Speaking of covid tests, I still need to book that for next month, but the vaccination requirement is starting to confuse me. If I don't have an European vaccination passport, then a negative covid test along with with the passenger locator form is all I need?

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Old Mar 10th, 2022, 04:19 PM
  #26  
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Thanks Maribel, I've loaded that restaurant into my phone.

Weird about the tests. Guess you got lucky. I've found a place where we can get a PCR test for no charge (free in Colorado), and I've made a back up appointment for an antigen test the day before we leave if the PCR test results don't get back in time. The antigen test is $69 each, but an hour turn around.

I've contacted all of our hotels and apartments and every one of them has said we no longer need to show our vax certificates!

Thanks for the restaurant suggestion wtm. Travesseiro...sounded good until I got to the egg yokes.

Last edited by Melnq8; Mar 10th, 2022 at 04:30 PM.
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Old Mar 10th, 2022, 06:07 PM
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Incomun looks wonderful! I’m already trying to decide what to have.

And speaking of tests… is it easy to get antigen tests in Porto before returning home? And any idea how much they cost? I’m debating whether or not to get the monitored self-tests or just find a place to do it when we’re there. It was easy enough to find a test site when we returned from Naples in the fall.
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Old Mar 10th, 2022, 10:29 PM
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Hi progol,
You can get tested at the airport in Porto, but Helena Andrade will have to tell us about center city Porto labs, if she sees this or you can send her a PM here or on TA (we chat back and forth by PM).
https://www.travelcheck-in.app/.

Our MAD airport rapid antigen tests were incredibly easy. We booked online for 9 am and pre-paid, printed out our confirmation/payment, got an email reminder the day before, and we walked right in and didn't wait. The lab tech was kinder, gentler than the "torturers" we experienced in downtown Madrid (lol), it took seconds and results in 15 minutes. Then we checked in for our flight.

Hi Mel,
At both our restaurants yesterday they didn't ask for our vaccination certificates even though there was a sign at the entrance to JNCQUOI that temp checks and vax certs were required. These restrictions have been happily lifted and they just haven't gotten around to removing the signs. There are lovely coffee kiosks on the Avenida Liberdade and all over the city where one can have an al fresco cafè or other drinks and snacks. The high temp yesterday was 61 degrees, sunny at times, with evening showers. Cobblestone streets in the rain are very slippery, so I was very glad to have worn my comfy Paul Green loafers with thick treads. The young women are all wearing sneakers.

And Mel, do you eat duck? I ask because duck rice (arroz de pato) is a great dish here. We're having it in a few days at O Frade, one of the restaurant's specialties, on our Belem day next week. The chefs hail from Alentejo.

Rubrp Avenida also serves 2 nice meatless salads, gazpacho and a creamy vegetable soup. Again, very reasonable prices. Large wine list.


Last edited by Maribel; Mar 10th, 2022 at 10:42 PM.
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Old Mar 11th, 2022, 03:14 AM
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Thanks, Maribel! you’re getting me hungry and that duck rice sounds very nice! I’ve got to start taking notes soon😁 Sounds like a great start to your Portugal trip.

I’ll contact HelenFatima about the tests in Porto as I get closer to the date if she doesn’t see my question.
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Old Mar 11th, 2022, 05:51 AM
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Maribel - no duck. Even my carnivore spouse won't eat duck, and that's saying something.

You're probably wondering by now what I do eat.

Your suggestions have been very helpful and I'm not worried about finding food. I'll just do what I do everywhere else, look for things on the menu I will eat. Usually works out fine. Besides, I've found many, many Indian restaurants which make both of us very happy.

progol - I asked that very question on TA, (but about Lisbon) and was given a link. Others suggested I just ask our hotel, as some have done that and were referred to a pharmacy down the street. Looks to be pretty easy and about 20 Euro, so we won't be dragging any proctored tests with us this time.

Enjoy your trip Maribel.
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Old Mar 11th, 2022, 07:04 AM
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<<progol - I asked that very question on TA, (but about Lisbon) and was given a link. Others suggested I just ask our hotel, as some have done that and were referred to a pharmacy down the street. Looks to be pretty easy and about 20 Euro, so we won't be dragging any proctored tests with us this time.>>

Good idea, and will do! I was happy not to schlep tests around on our last test - there’s something about carrying them that felt like a constant reminder, and in Italy, we had no problem getting a test. It’s good to know it shouldn’t be a problem in Portugal, either.
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Old Mar 11th, 2022, 09:49 AM
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progol,
I didn't bring our Emed Binax now because American. wouldn't accept the results at SEA when we departed for LHR in Dec. We had them as back up but the ticket counter agent was insistent that they weren't valid. But apparently they are now (rules have changed) as at SEA as they told us that a lab proctored test was ok as long as the emailed results had the address of the lab. But since we're flying back on BA, I didn't want to take the chance so I left them at home.

For anyone needing a rapid antigen in Lisbon, there's a free mobile lab at the Praça da Figueira in Baixa (the square just east of Rossio) with results in 15 minutes, but you have to stick around to get the results. They don't email them to you. No reservations, but there wasn't a long line.

I discovered a great new pastéis de nata place, Castro, in Chiado on Rua Garret 38. They´re heavenly and cost 1 euro. It´s a tiny place with 3 tables that serves coffee, tea, natas and port and you can watch the chef make them. Time Out mag says it´s one of the 4 best places for nata. They were amazing but too yolk'y for Mel There´s also one in Porto at Rua Mouzinhos da Silveira 61.

We had lunch today at Taberna Rua das Flores, great comfort food, the chef took our order. Chalkboard menu of about a dozen dishes. Huge portions, I had the cod cakes with a side of beans and rice and my husband had veal in a pepper cream sauce plus a side salad and creme brulee and bread pudding for dessert. One must be at the door 5 or 10 minutes before opening at noon to get in for the first seating. It only seats about 22 people and we were the last to be seated. Those who didn´t make it left their phone numbers for a call when a table came available. No credit cards, cash only.

Mel,
I didn't think the duck would be a go, lol
The Michelin starred chef, José Avillez has a restaurant empire here and one of his moderately priced places we really like in Chiado is Bairro de Avillez and inside it´s divided into several sections including his Pizzaria Lisboa. Take a look and see if it appeals.
https://www.bairrodoavillez.pt/pt/
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Old Mar 11th, 2022, 10:46 AM
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Maribel, I'm getting truly excited about the trip to Portugal! This weekend promises to be a bust in NYC weather-wise, so it might be the perfect day to start taking down lots of notes for our trip. I'm loving all your recommendations for food and dining. I'm all for duck so your earlier recommendation sounded wonderful, and Taberna Rua das Flores sounds right up our alley. Ooh, like I said, I'm getting excited!

Closer to our departure date, I'll make a decision about whether or not to bother with the Emed Binax kit, though if it's cheap and easy to do it in Porto, I'll probably forget about buying the kits to take with us. But it is a good backup, I think.
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Old Mar 11th, 2022, 12:11 PM
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Testing in Porto: I must confess that for the last weeks I'm not so aware of places, as they are almost not needed anymore. But anyway I leave here those I remember (if they are not operating anymore i will come here tomorrow and inform):

- End of Rua das Flores (in front of São Bento train station).
- At Ribeira, in front of the square Infante D. Henrique.
- Next door to Livraria Lello

(these are very touristic places. Not hard to find)

Progol, soups: every restaurant has a vegetable soup of the day. When they say vegetable, they are talking about vegetables, nothing else there. Usually menus offer two soups: soup of the day (only vegetables) and one of the other 3: canja de galinha (chicken soup), caldo verde (cabbage soup with a slice of "chouriço") and papas de sarrabulho (well, this last one is a strong thing, I love it!, made of corn flour, pork, chicken and maily the pork's blood. Yeah. It is what it is. Maybe should not be called a soup). Usually soup of the day has potatos as base, and then other thing used as base, like carrots, onions, etc., and then it can have green beans, or french garlic, spinach, etc. And of course a drisdle of olive oil. They are usually very healthy and tasty.

I'd like to mention a dish that is really good. Not exactly vegetarian, because there are eggs in it, but it is known (who knows if it's true or not!) as the first "tempura", the name is "peixinhos da horta", and it's green beans fried in a cape of flour and eggs, and the company is tomato rice, or something similar. Very good. And very tradicional. But not in restaurants, it's something you eat at home.
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Old Mar 11th, 2022, 01:53 PM
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Pork blood..yum.

I've seen many references to fried green beans, must be a popular dish in Portugal.

I've added Pizzeria Lisboa to my phone and while googling noticed there's also a Jamie Oliver Pizzeria Lisboa. That guy gets around.

Maribel - sounds like Lisbon is a food paradise. Might have to roll me home.
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Old Mar 11th, 2022, 05:07 PM
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HelenFatima,
Thanks so much for the detailed description of the soups - they sound like very traditional meals, though I think I’m with Melnq8 and the idea of pork blood…maybe I shouldn’t know too many details!😉

Thank you for the locations of the test sites. I’ll ask the hotel about the best place to go for the test and see if he knows how much they cost.

Less than 2 months to go!


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Old Mar 11th, 2022, 10:34 PM
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Thanks Helena!

Mel and progol,
For me Portugal is a food paradise. I love the caldo verde, both here and the version in Galicia, caldo gallego, but it does have chunks of choriço, so not exactly vegetarian.

We went to a funky, cute, friendly, playful rooftop terrace last night for a light dinner of petiscos and wine with magnificent skyline views of the castle, Sé and all off Lisbon, since it was a beautiful night (much needed rain in coming all day tomorrow).
It's part of the Decadente hostel with separate entrance up to the rooftop terrace and restaurant called Insólito, with an Alice in Wonderland theme. It's on Rua de Sao Pedro de Alcántara 83, above the Miradouro.

We dropped in w/o reservations at 8:30 but on weekends it's probably best to arrive at 8.
To get up there one takes the smallest lift in all of Lisbon and probably one of Lisbon's first--no larger than a tiny W.C.--there's a friendly attendant there to give you instructions. The reward, once up there, is great, creative food, small plates style, a large wine list of Portuguese only wines or cocktails or cocktails, chill out music and fabulous vistas.

They have a new chef who trained with Nuno Mendes and was the sous chef of the 5-star Bairro Alto hotel. We had once again the utterly delicious, creamy Azeitão cheese (like a Spanish torta del Casar), Algarve prawns, terrific sour dough bread with Azores smoked butter, and a "compressed cucumber, black pepper merengue lime and vanilla granita" dessert (yes, cucumber---our waitress highly recommended it, and it was actually really sweet and memorable.
I highly recommend Insòliito for the unique experience. We were the oldest couple there!, our cool night on the town in PRíncipe Real, then we walked down through the Bairro Alto party central to our old apartment and the joint was jumping!

Every day we explore or re-explore a different neighborhood. Today it's Campo do Ourique and Estrela (in the rain).

Last edited by Maribel; Mar 11th, 2022 at 11:10 PM.
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Old Mar 12th, 2022, 06:17 AM
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Sounds heavenly, Maribel! I can’t wait!
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Old Mar 12th, 2022, 06:37 AM
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Sounds lovely Maribel and the bread with homemade butter and Tarta de Chocolate looks right up my alley.
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Old Mar 12th, 2022, 08:09 AM
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Hi ladies,
It indeed was lovely. I was actually amazed.

The Portuguese bake much better bread than the Spaniards. Even my late husband, a very proud Spaniard from Madrid, admitted that the Portuguese do bread, coffee, sweets and beer (?? this was before the craft beer days) better here.

Speaking of sweets, there's a new cake shop in the Cais do Sodré area, The Cakery. They serve breakfast, lunch and brunch. Chocolate cakes here Mel!
The Cakery.


Mel,
Yes, Jamie Oliver has his "Jamie's Italian" here and it also has views!
While walking through the Bairro Alto yesterday, I realized that it was the land of the pizzerias. If you like pizza you might check these out-Casa Nostra Bairro Alto

Ristorante Casanostra.

Valdo Gatti Bairro Alto

https://valdogatti.com

M Arrecreo Bairro Alto

https://www.marrecreo.com/en/home/.
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