Eating Through Portugal, Part 2
My food story
Day 2 of our whirlwind Portugal adventure started at 8:30 am, meeting Paolo, our tour guide for the day. We booked an all-day tour of Sintra, 20 km north of Lisbon, full of castles, history, and the entire city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
As a side note, Paolo was a freaking amazing guide and his prices were super reasonable — especially since it was a private tour for 3 people for over 9 hours! Only 200 euro for all day! He doesn’t have Yelp or anything, but please go check him out at www.particlediscovery.pt.
Breakfast was, of course, pasteis and coffee. Have to start the day off right!
First we went to Palace da Pena, where the monarchs of Portugal lived for hundreds of years. It’s amazingly well-preserved and is a fortress atop a giant hill.
Then it was off to explore and shop in Old Sintra and go to lunch!
Lunch was at a beachside hotel called Arribas Sintra, where the tables overlook both their larger-than-Olympic-size salt water pool and the actual ocean, and is next to a giant cliff.
Arribas Sintra is a hotel built in the 1960s with a very cool ambiance and is also where the movie The State of Things was filmed in 1982.
The suited waiter didn’t even hand us menus and suggested we try the whole bream fish and their Portuguese Bread Stew, which is a hollowed bread bowl, filled with a stew of the bread bits, herbs, onions, shrimp, and more.
The fish was literally caught that morning and the stew is their most popular dish.
It was really good! This meal was accompanied by a white wine made at a local winery.
The afternoon consisted of going to the westernmost point in Europe, visiting Cascais, seeing Hell’s Mouth (Boca do Inferno), another gelato, this time at Santini’s in Cascais (I had strawberry), and getting home around 7 pm.
Dinner that night was at a small restaurant called Dr. Wine in the Alfama neighborhood of Lisbon. While I don’t have any pictures, as we were super hungry, it consisted of sangria, another meat and cheese plate, and various small tapas-style plates. We got a little of everything and shared, including sardines on crostini. Sardines are a big deal in Portugal and I tried them for the first time. They were good — and had no bones!
As an endcap to a lovely day, we swung into a restaurant and bar called Bastardo (I know, ha!) and had after dinner drinks. One of my friends had a cocktail with whiskey in it, the other had a too-spicy number with jalapenos all up in her face, and I had a “magic potion” drink. It seemed to have a lot of grapefruit juice in it, was served in a fancy bottle with something orange and extremely umami on the rim, and came with 3 tiny eye droppers of “magic ingredients” to add to it. It tasted weird on it’s own and I had literally no idea what the 3 tiny bottles were, and the bartender wouldn’t tell me. I think it was supposed to add to the mystique? We all tried all of them and came to the conclusion that one was hot sauce, one was a port wine, and the third was a mystery.
See it for yourself:
Day 2 was in the books. And it was delicious.