20 May Lisbon: enjoy the tasty life
Portugal reopens terraces, bars and restaurants
It’s clear that Portugal performed well and these days is moving towards de-escalation. The country earned international respect for its calm but strong response to Covid-19 sanitary emergency. The stability of the case numbers led the Government to go for the second phase of deflation, which happened yesterday.
Terraces, restaurants, cafes and pastry shops reopen doors, being able to serve clients inside their beautiful spaces with safety standards and maximum capacity reduced to half. Delicious pastries, fantastic wine, tradicional flavours and the sound of fado are back. #cityjobbers living in Lisbon love wandering around and getting lost in it’s many narrow and colorful streets. Come with us!
What to eat
Until yesterday, restaurants and bars could only operate as a take-away or with deliveries, but now everything is ready to get great food and local wines at the shops. And perhaps there will be even more terraces than before the Covid-19 lockdown, with tax exemption for the installation of esplanades until the end of the year as a sign of support to the restoration in this phase of reopening.
Influenced by Mediterranean cuisine, Portuguese cuisine relies on seafood. With the best products from the Atlantic Ocean (ask for a whole octopus to share with your friends), spices and olive oil they create wonderful and healthy plates. In Lisbon, the cobblestone corners overflow with shops hawking bacalhau. A platter of smoky sardines is another must: they are roasted whole on an open-fire grill and simply seasoned with coarse sea salt. They even celebrate a kind of “sardine festival” with the Feast of St Anthony, an annual event where cooks sell charred sardines tucked into springy buns during the city’s biggest event.
Do not worry, if you are not a fish person, there is much more typical food in Portugal. What to try then? Cozido à portuguesa. It’s a stew of slowly boiled meats, sausages and vegetables. The essential comfort food is feijoada, a bean casserole tossed with beef and pork. Pata negra ham comes from black Iberian pigs raised on a special diet of acorns, do not miss some paper-thin slices of this cured treat.
A great white-wine country
From the simplest, such as freshly caught fish, to Michelin-star restaurants, there is a huge variety to eat, and there are also many great spots to enjoy wine in Lisbon. In a country where the wine is world-renowned, enjoying a few glasses is mandatory. Of course, in Portugal’s capital superb wine bars are cropping up all over the city. Somo of them are located on quiet rooftops, and they are the best spot to admire the sunset sipping with a glass of a wonderful natural white.
Up and down this wine-country, producers are making great wines from grapes you’re probably not familiar with. In Lisbon and regions like Vinho Verde, Douro, Dão, Beira Atlântico and Bairrada, winemakers are using native grape varieties like Alvarinho (widely recognized for its quality), Encruzado and Arinto, remember their names to ask for a refreshing and full-bodied wine. You can also enjoy a white blend of Viosinho and Rabigato and you fill find a strong mineral character, tight acidity and rich textures.
Your “wow” moment comes when you try a wood-aged Bical, with perfumed fruits and a generous structure, it is full of apricot and red apple notes.
Portugal is famous for its egg based pastries, starting with Pastel de Nata, which was invented by monks in the 18th century. At that time, egg whites were used to starch the nun’s habits, leaving a large amount of extra egg yolks…until they had the great idea of using them to make custard tarts!
If you are in search of the favorite spot in Lisbon for the egg cake, it could be Pasteis de Belem. They started in 1837 so we are happy to tell you that this tradition is back: yesterday they reopened the cafetería. The secret recipe is recreated every day to bake their hand made pastries that have the unique flavour of time-honoured Portuguese sweet making. Soft and creamy.
For those who are already tempted to enjoy Lisbon tasty life, our Top Job of the week is a position over there for a famous global app of food delivery services. If you have an international mindset, native level Dutch and you are happy to move to sunny Portugal, this is your chance to relocate to Lisbon and explore your foodie side: with this job offer you will be an expert on the city’s dining scene. Opportunities appear! You just need to open up and be ready to make your dream job come true.