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THINGS TO DO IN AND AROUND LISBON PART II (Inc Portugal)

THINGS TO DO IN AND AROUND LISBON PART II (Inc Portugal)

Old Apr 9th, 2006, 05:04 PM
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THINGS TO DO IN AND AROUND LISBON PART II (Inc Portugal)

So welcome to this second instalment of the Lisbon and Portugal thread/blog - the obvious reason for this second thread is the original is now very large and takes forever to get through: it can be found by clicking on the below link.

http://fodors.com/forums/threadselec...2&tid=34740328

It is incredible just how popular it has become and I'd like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has contributed - Lobo and I have made some good friends and are pleased to announce the continuing success of the Lisbon dining club. So I guess without further ado I declare this thread open and look foward to many more posts and dinners and fun.

Matt
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Old Apr 9th, 2006, 05:19 PM
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Hmnn - HenryandCasper: I'll have to think of some kind of prize to award you for being the 500th poster...

Hello Lobo, Sher, Michi, HenryandCasper, barb65, namaka, nancy1652, sue, robertsmyth, kptravels and everyone else who contributed to the old thread.

So I suppose all I have to say now is -
"Let's get this party started!" ;-)

Matt
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Old Apr 9th, 2006, 05:23 PM
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Lisbon Dining Club report to follow in the morning, I really am tired now but as a taster I can say that it was a complete success. Lobo made an excellent choice, the food was wonderful, company perfect - thankyou Patrick and Les from San Diego for joining us, and being the first foreign members, and we look foward to the next get together.

I'll see you all later - get posting and together let's make this thread a continuing success.

Matt
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Old Apr 9th, 2006, 05:25 PM
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Matt, I think you should cut and paste the useful information from the old thread.
What time do you plan to post the meeting minutes? I ask this to know if I should do my beauty spleep before or after reading it
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Old Apr 9th, 2006, 05:28 PM
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Lobo, think in real terms tomorrow - and you need your beauty sleep: whereas Gertrude on the other hand needs none: she looked radiant this evening.

I'll cut and paste a little at a time, otherwise we'll hit 500 posts in the next few days ;-)

Thanks for a great evening BTW.
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Old Apr 9th, 2006, 05:29 PM
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ok, see you soon! até já!!!
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Old Apr 9th, 2006, 05:31 PM
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Congratulations Matt and Lobo!

Party on - may Lisbon be the number one tourist destination thanks to you!

I can not wait to arrive.
Barbara
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Old Apr 9th, 2006, 06:39 PM
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Matt, I'm not worthy of a prize. I'm still mortified that I usurped your moment. Looking forward to your next report.
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Old Apr 9th, 2006, 06:56 PM
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HenryandCasper, don't fret; it was just as much my fault as yours. I didn't even think that someone else might me posting while I was and the thing is that I was just bringing to the top and not even posting anything good. Well, what's done, is done and so we move on to a new, and exciting thread!!Can't wait!
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Old Apr 10th, 2006, 10:08 AM
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Okay, I've uploaded images to photobucket but have not had time to prepare the report - yet. I'll try and get it up sometime before midnight I promise. And I still haven't packed anything for tomorrow...

Easter with my parents
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Old Apr 10th, 2006, 11:41 AM
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Hi Matt: Thanks for the new thread. I'm sure we'll get to 500 in no time!

We have a question I wonder if anyone can help us with. We're renting a car for 3 days in Portugal. We received information from ICEP Portugal Comercio e Turismo that says, among other things, we must have a "green card" that has to do with insurance. We can't find anyone here in the U.S. that knows how to get one of these cards. Anyone have any experience with this? Thanks.
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Old Apr 10th, 2006, 11:53 AM
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Unless the green card is something new, we rented last year and did not have one.
Let me know if you find out what it is.

We did take International Drivers Licenses just in case we needed them out in the country where we might have difficulty finding people who speak fluent English. It isn't required, though.
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Old Apr 10th, 2006, 01:14 PM
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ADEGA DAS GRAVATAS review.

Sunday 9th April 2006 marks an important date in the history of the recently formed “Lisbon Dining Club.” Following on from two previous succesful evenings where the membership grew from two to four, (with the addition of Elisabete and Gertrude) we were able to welcome our first foreign members, Patrick and Les from San Diego, California. Having spoken with Patrick on the phone, (so both were asured to some small extent that neither of us were crazed axe murderers) we arranged to meet at Cais do Sodre Metro Station. To get there of course I took the ferry across the Tagus river:

http://i50.photobucket.com/albums/f3...nd/LDCweb1.jpg

And as always lapped up the best view of Lisbon city:
Towards Alfama:

http://i50.photobucket.com/albums/f3...nd/LDCweb2.jpg

And Castelo St. Jorge:

http://i50.photobucket.com/albums/f3...nd/LDCweb3.jpg

‘I’ll be wearing my New York Yankee's cap.’ I told him, and he told me to look out for a tall skinny guy with a goatee. Knowing that there aren't many tall skinny portuguese men with Goatees I felt assured I'd recognise Patrick easily. However the NY emblem has become such a watered down trademark that seemingly everyone owns a Yankees cap, without knowing a thing about baseball or the fact that the interlocked symbol was designed by Tiffany. (Of course I knew both facts having been to the house that Ruth built…) So having probably called out to a few hundred Portuguese Yankee cap wearing people who weren’t me – ‘Hi, I’m Patrick.' - ‘Como?’ with odd looks we eventually hooked up and delved down into the darkened tunnels of Lisbon’s Metro system.

Adega Das Gravatas can be found at the following address:

Trav. do Pregoeiro, 15 - Carnide, Lisboa (Tel 21 714 36 22).

I can assure you that unless with someone who knows the area, or better still João and I you will never find this popular restaurant. The nearest stop is Carnide on the blue line, one stop north from Colegio Militar/Luz. A pleasant walk through the old town square which has retained its 19th century buildings and intimate streets leads you there and as João said to me in some ways it is a little like Alfama though without the hills.

Here are Les and Patrick trying to look inconspicuous:

http://i50.photobucket.com/albums/f3...nd/LDCweb4.jpg

After a few minutes in which Lobo talked a little of the area’s history we stopped for photo opp’s at the restaurant’s entrance:

http://i50.photobucket.com/albums/f3...nd/LDCweb5.jpg

(From left to right - Les, Patrick, Gertrude and Lobo.)

On entering you pass through a small coffee shop area, then into the smaller dining room which houses a considerable wine cellar and open plan kitchen. Lobo had previously booked a table for six (unfortunately Elisabete couldn't come) so we were seated in the larger dining room:

http://i50.photobucket.com/albums/f3...nd/LDCweb6.jpg

Adega das Gravatas roughly translated means “Wine Cellar of ties.” and you have to look up as you are seated:

http://i50.photobucket.com/albums/f3...nd/LDCweb7.jpg

It is estimated that there are over 1500 different ties which have been donated by patrons, some famous, some not:

http://i50.photobucket.com/albums/f3...nd/LDCweb8.jpg

We arrived early at 7.15 ish and this appears an excellent time to arrive unless you make a prior reservation. Lobo and his wife discuss our guests in Portuguese so they couldn’t understand what was being said about them:

http://i50.photobucket.com/albums/f3...nd/LDCweb9.jpg

Whilst Patrick was convinced to eat the Octopus salad as a starter:

http://i50.photobucket.com/albums/f3...d/LDCweb10.jpg

The starters consisted of olives garlic and parsley drizzled in olive oil, fava bean salad, large prawns, the octopus salad and the usual suspects of bread rolls, butter, cheese and pate. Important as the food was more so was the wine and we chose a Periquita 2003:

http://i50.photobucket.com/albums/f3...d/LDCweb17.jpg

Which was served at a nice temperature giving it a smooth texture with a very fruity flavour. Of course much toasting took place as we celebrated the third dining club evening. ‘Cheers Lobo!’:

http://i50.photobucket.com/albums/f3...d/LDCweb11.jpg

Instead of each ordering a main meal Lobo ordered four different dishes comprising of – Açorda das Gambas, (Alentejanan bread stew with prawns):

http://i50.photobucket.com/albums/f3...d/LDCweb13.jpg

Bacalhau asada, (Codfish grilled over charcoal) which came with small jacketed potatoes and turnip greens in a hot olive oil and garlic dressing:

http://i50.photobucket.com/albums/f3...d/LDCweb14.jpg

Plumas de Porco preto (Black pig cutlets) grilled over charcoal served with chips rice and a braized red green and yellow pepper salad:

http://i50.photobucket.com/albums/f3...d/LDCweb15.jpg

And Olho de beef (type of steak) again charcoal grilled served with the same accompaniments:

http://i50.photobucket.com/albums/f3...d/LDCweb16.jpg

This is med - rarely cooked so to lock in the flavour and moisture.

Lobo did a great job in serving us:

http://i50.photobucket.com/albums/f3...d/LDCweb12.jpg

As we talked and ate (and perhaps the alcohol began warming my veins) I realised that Les who was sat to my right was in fact a dead ringer for Ernest Hemingway, one of my favourite authors:

http://i50.photobucket.com/albums/f3...d/LDCweb20.jpg

With another bottle of Periquita so we went onto deserts which consisted of Quente e frio (hot and cold chocolate pie?)

http://i50.photobucket.com/albums/f3...d/LDCweb18.jpg

and Sericaia

http://i50.photobucket.com/albums/f3...d/LDCweb19.jpg

which is very sweet drizzled in plum syrup/treacle and sprinkled with cinnamon. After bicas, essential so we didn’t all fall asleep at the table I presented a tie to Les so he could offer it to the restaurant manager:

http://i50.photobucket.com/albums/f3...d/LDCweb21.jpg

And likewise Lobo did the same for Patrick:

http://i50.photobucket.com/albums/f3...d/LDCweb22.jpg

In fact Lobo’s was quite horrendous with its paisley print but I think Patrick liked it so much he thought to take it back to the states:

http://i50.photobucket.com/albums/f3...d/LDCweb23.jpg

And when Les put mine on he assumed even more an air of Hemingway:

http://i50.photobucket.com/albums/f3...d/LDCweb24.jpg

Ties were offered to the manager in turn:

http://i50.photobucket.com/albums/f3...d/LDCweb25.jpg

and

http://i50.photobucket.com/albums/f3...d/LDCweb26.jpg

we thanked the manager, Luís CALEIRO for his fine hospitality:

http://i50.photobucket.com/albums/f3...d/LDCweb27.jpg

And likewise with the Patrick handshake:

http://i50.photobucket.com/albums/f3...d/LDCweb28.jpg

Obviously so stunned by the fact that two tourists from San Diego had even found his restaurant he asked Patrick:

http://i50.photobucket.com/albums/f3...d/LDCweb30.jpg

and Les:

http://i50.photobucket.com/albums/f3...d/LDCweb29.jpg

to sign the ties. I wanted assurances that he would indeed hang them up and insisted he would though I was suspicious that he would want to keep and wear that which had belonged to Lobo!

Next part: over all impressions and ratings and the Lisbon Dining Club’s thumbs up award!
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Old Apr 10th, 2006, 01:16 PM
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The info on the Portugal tourist web site says:

Compulsory papers:
- Personal ID
- Driving licence
- Motor insurance certificate
- Vehicle registration or equivalent
- Vehicle logbook (livrete)or equivalent

We do plan to get the international permit. Since US car insurance means nothing out of the country I guess the car rental papers, and credit card agreement are what covers the insurance certificate.

That is a whole other thread somewhere!
Barbara
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Old Apr 10th, 2006, 01:26 PM
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Wow Matt - you snuck in there. great as usual. And good choice in ties to leave there! LOL

Have a wonderful time with your family. You don't sound excited but family is important - enjoy it.

Barbara
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Old Apr 10th, 2006, 01:55 PM
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ADEGA DAS GRAVATAS - to sum up...

So in total the bill came to 99.90 euros including tip but between us we stumped up an extra five and it can be broken down thus:

Açorda – 10 E
Bacalhau – 10 E
Olho bife – 9.50 E
Plumas – 9.60 E
2 bottles Periquita – 18.60 E
Olives – 2 E
Fava bean salad – 3 E
Octopus – 4.95 E
Prawns – 10.50 E
3 x Quente e frio – 6.90 E
2 x Sericaia – 5.40 E
Water, bread butter coffees etc make up the rest.

So an incredible meal at 20 euros a head – indeed could have been less without the prawns and a second bottle of wine.

A few notes made at the time:

The restaurant is comprised of 1 large open plan dining room which hás a vaulted ceiling and beams from where the 1500 ties hang. Tables are spilt into groups and this is not an intimate place but as Les siad it is authentic, the only foreign voices were ours and conversations circulate and you feel you are a part of the fun. I think being a Sunday and close to a church one mass had finished many families came here for dinner. The large room in which we were felt airy and spacious and though there is no division of smoking non smoking not once did I notice the smell of cigarettes. Like many Portuguese restaurants the kitchen is open plan and there are large displays of the meat and fish which rapidly decline so again another good reason to arrive early. I wouldn't worry about parking but take the metro as previously discussed.

This is not a tourists restaurant and therefore is perfect in my opinion. The food served is in large portions for a very resonable price and on this night the clientele was mostly families from the local área.

Service was excellent, and the waitress very knowledgable about the fish and meat and spoke English and smiled politely at my poor Portuguese! The wine was served at the right temperature and you will always be allowed to taste the wine before accepting it.


So to tally up (out of ten): voted for by all of us…

Surroundings - 8
Ambience - 8
Company - 10
Wine – 8.5
Starter - 9
Main – 9 (with Patrick and Les giving the Porco Preto 10 and I have to agree)
Dessert - 8
Service - 10

In terms of value for money this was unequalled in my opinion - we paid 20 euros each, and that included two excellent bottles of red wine. Lobo stated that each dining club night gets better in terms of quantity quality and value for money and I heartily agree: I love trying out new places but this (for a great dinner) hás become my favourite so far and I will understand should those who follow in Patrick and Les’s footsteps want to come here with us.

So, in summing up Adega das Gravatas receives the Lisbon Dining Club's thumbs up award and I cannot commend it highly enough. Well off the beaten track but worth the effort. Just remember to bring an old tie and call Lobo and myself to accompany you there!
(And best of all not listed in the Rick Steeve’s Guidebook ;-))
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Old Apr 10th, 2006, 01:57 PM
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Sorry I meant to say...

1 large open plan dining room and a smaller dining area though I felt the larger one to be better as the smaller was squeezed between the toilets and kitchen.

Matt.
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Old Apr 10th, 2006, 02:00 PM
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AND I forgot to add...

So, that is me done for the moment. I have to leave the appartment at +/- 6.oo am in the morning to check in for my flight which leaves at 10 am. So it is unlikely for the next two weeks I'll be posting but I'll leave you in the capable hands of Lobo and Sher, (oh all right, you can all be my assistant editors...) and let me wish you all a HAPPY EASTER. I will enjoy my holiday but two weeks with my mother is stressful, I can assure you!

Be good and stay safe,

Matt
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Old Apr 10th, 2006, 02:20 PM
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Each dining club night gets better and Matt's reports are getting better too.
A few notes:
1 - Sunday night is not a good day to go out for dinner, because many restaurants are closed. In fact this finding required a lot of scouting
2 - Adega das Gravatas is closed on Mondays, and Sundays have a smaller number of food choices as assumed by the manager. As an example, the pig feet were not in the menu
3 - I think we did a good selection of food, within the available options, but now I'd ask for a 2nd dose of Plumas of black pig, instead of Olho de beef
4 - For readers who are less familiar with the British sense of humour , I'd like to assure that Matt's comment about Lobo and Loba speaking in Portuguese to avoid being understood is not to be taken literally
5 - Matt, don't worry because we hold the castle for you with a little help of our friends
6 - Have a nice time together with your loved ones. Tell mummy that Big Bad Wolf sends his best regards to her (and she thinks: "What straaaange friends my little Matthew has down there" ;-)
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Old Apr 10th, 2006, 03:20 PM
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A final note to Patrick and Les. After a few minutes we were already as family and this was only possible due to the human quality of our guests.
Patrick and Les, have a safe flight home and make sure you return soon.
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