While exploring Lisbon, you will run into many buildings that have intricately painted tiled exteriors. This is especially true of the many churches dotting the city.
The use of tiles dates back to the 15th where the use of tiles was used as both part of the construction process, as well as decoration.
The use of tiles became less popular during the early 20th century, but has had a revival in the past 50 years or so.
There are buildings sprinkled throughout the city that have tile work. Some look very old as there are cracked and very faded tiles, but that adds a rustic feel and you can see the history of tile work throughout the city on those building.
Carvoeiro de Palma is kind of off the beaten path. Located down an unlit dirt road, its “parking lot” is immediately surrounded by small apartments. The dirt road is short, but in the dark can be somewhat imposing.
I was wandering the streets in the neighborhood looking for something to eat. Staying at the Lisbon Marriott has somewhat limited options in the immediate area. Making a right after exiting the hotel is a hospital. Just past that are some office buildings, but they appear to close around 5 PM and are not open on the weekends, as the office buildings are closed.
Turning left after exiting the hotel and walking past the bus stop will reward you with some local eateries that seem to have a steady stream of business by neighborhood residents. My plan was to eat at one of the those.
Upon looking at the dirt road, I saw some bright lights and a few cars were visible. I stumbled upon Carvoerio de Palma, and initially turned around in search of somewhere else to eat.
Then it hit me. The smell of grilled meat. I followed my nose and glad for it.
The restaurant is small with tables crammed next to each other. There is another small dining room, also with close quarters seating.
As in most restaurants, a bread service will be brought to your table. If you eat any of it, you will incur a charge, but if you don’t touch any of it no charge will appear on your bill.
The bread service included bread, butter, cheese, octopus salad and olives.
The Naco de Picanha na Padra (€9.90), are two small sirloin steaks covered in garlic, and two ramekins, one being filled with the salt, the other a type of sauce. The meat is brought to your raw, but sits on a hot stone. You then cook the steak to your liking.
The meal came with a side of boiled potatoes, and spinach with garlic.
I finished off the meal with “The World’s Best Chocolate Cake” (€4). The cake appeared and tasted as if you cut the crunchy top off of brownies then layered them with chocolate ganache. It was good. Better than Landeau Chocolate’s chocolate cake? Nowhere close.
The food was so good we came back the following day.
The Garlic Prawns (€9.80) was a generous portion of plum prawns cooked in a butter and wine sauce, along with whole cloves of garlic.
The Bife de Vazia Grelhado no Carvao (€9.30) was steak grilled on coal. The steak was fairly big, was tender and juicy, and had a good beef flavor.
For some odd reason, this was served with French fries and rice. Talk about carb overload. The fries could have been crisper, and tasted similar to In-N-Out’s French fries.
This is a great little neighborhood restaurant, and I would gladly eat here again in the future.
Cervejaria Ramiro has always been a popular seafood restaurant, but became more so after it was featured in an Anthony Bourdain “No Reservations” episode in April 2012.
The restaurant is quite unassuming from the outside. The only thing that would suggest something special presided inside is the usually long lines outside of the restaurant.
Our wait time was about 30-40 minutes. Unfortunately, the line was not very organized during our visit and several people cut in line. When you enter the front door, the “lobby” is a small box about 12 feet by 6 feet.
Several display cases of seafood can be seen while in the “lobby”.
Once finally seated, we were given iPads that contained the menu in English. The menu also contained pictures, which made ordering a little bit easier.
Garlic bread was served without being asked. The bread looked like it had been made haphazardly, as some pieces had a lot of butter, while others had almost none. The bread was good, and provided a good vehicle to sop up butter and other sauces with some of the other dishes.
The Garlic Shrimp came in a metal dish straight out of the over. The shrimp were plump and juicy. A ton of garlic and butter accompanied the shrimp, which was nice and zesty. Only having the shrimp de-veined would have improved the dish.
The Giant Tiger Prawns are expensive at about $15 each, but they are huge nearly measuring a foot long. They are grilled to perfection, being tender but almost lobster like in texture as well due to their sheer size.
We finished off the meal with a mango. It was good but could have been sweeter. It was served at room temperature, but I would have preferred it being served ice cold due to the hot weather and my preference.
Cervejaria Ramiro does serve up some tasty seafood. Service can be a little scattered due to the place being packed from opening until close. It’s worth a visit if you’re a seafood lover.
Mercado de Campo de Ourique is a market and food hall within easy walking distance of the end of the Tram 28 line and Cemeterio dos Prazeres.
It is about one third the size of the monstrous Mercado da Ribeira, but seems to cater more to the local neighborhood rather than being a destination unto itself.
We went on a Sunday, and unfortunately about 30% of the stalls were closed. There is a large variety of vendors and food choices, include hamburgers, empanadas, Japanese, seafood, steaks/meat, gelato and a bar among others.
At the Carne stall, we got a ribeye plate. The steak was very tender, juicy and had great flavor. It was served with a side of French fries and a side salad. The fries could have been crisper, and the salad was served with very little dressing and had almost no flavor to the salad except for the inherent flavor of the vegetables.
The Lamb Chops came four to an order. They had nice grill marks, and were slightly overcooked. Would have been preferred medium rare, but these were more in the range of medium. The lamb remained tender and had a slight gamey flavor, but was an overall good dish.
From the Marisqueira, the Grilled Sea Bass was a decent sized portion. The fish was cooked nicely, and remained tender and flaky. It came with a lot of garlic and a grilled lemon wedge. Roasted potatoes and a small salad finished off the dish.
The Garlic Prawns were somewhat of a disaster. The girl who took our order spoke little to no English. She called over another girl assist, but she acted like she couldn’t speak English either. I even pointed to the first girl what I wanted by pointing to the Portuguese side of the menu. When our order was ready, out came garlic clams. I told the second girl that this wasn’t what we had ordered, and all of a sudden she magically spoke English and said that it would be corrected. It looked like they just removed the clams from the dish and threw some prawns on top, as the original dish looked exactly like this except there were prawns instead of clams. The prawns were slightly overcooked, but there was a strong garlic punch.
I am somewhat torn at the Marisqueira. The fish was excellent, but the service and seeming refusal to speak English put a damper on their food.
At the Empadaria, the ham and cheese quiche was just okay. The crust was flaky and the filling was fine. The dish was served at room temperature, and could have been improved if served hot. The chorizo empanada was also somewhat disappointing. The crust was a little oily, and there was plenty of cheese inside the empanada. The chorizo was very sweet, and almost tasted like the Chinese sausage lap chong.
To finish off the meal, we went to the fruit stand and asked them if they could cut up some mangoes if we bought them, and they agreed. The mangoes were sweet and juicy. I like my mangoes really cold, which was the only thing that could have improved the taste.
As Mercado de Campo de Ourique is more of a neighborhood market/food hall, seating was much easier to find. The atmosphere was also more relaxed and less frenetic.
Rui Dos Pregos is a small café that overlooks the docks on the Rio Trajo.
There is indoor and outdoor seating. The restaurant is very casual, and on a nice day I would definitely sit outdoors and soak up the nice weather and great views.
The Prego no Prato com Ovo is a steak with sunny side up egg, and a side of French fries. It can somewhat be considered the “low carb” version of the prego (steak sandwich) if one was able to avoid the fries. The steak is pounded thin, but was tender and had good flavor. The egg added some richness, and combining the yolk and meat juices made for a wonderful sauce.
At the waiter’s suggestion, we tried a prego that was not on the menu. The sandwich included steak, a fried egg, bacon and cheese. Although this was good, it was probably fat and cholesterol overload thanks to the foursome of goodness.
The Prawn dish came served with a blanket of cheese and olives. The prawnswere butterflied, and thankfully de-veined. The prawns remained tender, but the subtle flavor and sweetness of prawn was overpowered by the vast amount of cheese.
Rui dos Pregos is by no means a gourmet restaurant, but serves good food at a reasonable price. The view overlooking the harbor and river doesn’t hurt either.