Spain/Portugal/Gibraltar - Lisbon
Dec 20, 10, 11:18 am
I have booked a whirlwind two week trip for my mother's 65th birthday next year, but couldn't get a flight back to the states for the last leg, so instead, opted to jump over to Lisbon for our last night in Europe. I figured we had more than enough time in Barcelona and there were upgrades available from Lisbon that I couldn't get from Barcelona.
So..... with only 24 hours in Lisbon, where would be a good place to have her birthday dinner? Not looking for expensive, but more a mom and pop family cooking type place. My mom is a huge foodie. Also need suggestions for a decent one night stay in an area with atmosphere. I am renting an apartment in Barcelona with a kitchen and laundry about a 15 min walk from Las Ramblas to get a nicer type of hotel.
Dec 20, 10, 4:13 pm
Last time we visited Lisbon was about 1 year ago. I chose a nice hotel: Hotel Aviz - small, charming. Very clean, quiet, large comfortable room and bed. Good sized bathroom with bidet and shower/tub. Close to the buslines/HOHO/metro and easy ride to airport. The hotel has a featured restaurant. --We paid about 99euro with an included breakfast buffet hot & cold items.
Half way down the hill on the Ave. Libertad, we had stayed at the Sofitel Lisboa (a few years earlier) and it was a larger property, modern look (black/white/grey) with an active bar/lobby area. Restaurant on-site,too. There was a metro stop almost in front. This location is closer to shopping, Hard Rock restaurant. I felt the rates had climbed much higher than I was willing to pay for which is why we found the H. Aviz.
The Aviz has a history of past celebrity guests. The restaurant is portuguese fine dining. Across the street from the hotel are also nice looking sit down restaurants. The area is part residential and close to the Eduardo Parc.
i have a few times been to a restaurant from a friend's friend (now a distant friend of mine). but is hard without a car. do let me know if contacts are wanted. (its towards the south inland, an hour's drive. ~40 E/head wine inclusive)
Dec 21, 10, 11:20 am
As 8dimsum mentioned, the Sofitel is in a great location. Neighborhood itself is nice, short walk or metro ride to just about anywhere else.
I don't really know what a "foodie" is but you should know that your average Mom and Pop Portuguese cooking is relatively simple in nature. Grilled meats and fish, soups, breads, cheeses, and vegetables. Interesting variations though (and I HIGHLY recommend trying the cream of carrot soup. Awesome once you get past the color.)
For a meal you might want to try Marisqueira Guarda Rio. It's right around the corner from the main metro stop (Cais do Sodre) but it's right on the water (overlooking the water) near the ferry terminal. Very good Portuguese food (I thought, we had a work luncheon there) in a nice location. Can't go wrong with Portuguese wine either.
Dec 21, 10, 1:25 pm
Thanks for the recommendation - I'll check them out.
BTW... a foodie is like an amateur gourmand. A person who is just really into food, but not especially haute cuisine. Everywhere we go, it is all about the food along with the history and culture. It doesn't have to be expensive or gourmet food, just good food and experiencing the culture. I can't wait to get to Spain/Portugal/Italy and try all the regional dishes, seafood, etc.
Dec 21, 10, 8:57 pm
I stayed at this hotel twice and really enjoyed it;
great breakfast included and it is close to subway, taxi stands or the bus stop for the bus from the airport; it is walking distance to the waterfront.
This is a great restaurant with typical Portuguese food; not expensive and great service; a "foodie" would enjoy it.
As I was googling the name of the restaurant I just found out that the NYTimes gave it a nice review.
It is around the block from the hotel I recommended; We just happen to walk into the restaurant but were very pleasently surprised.
If you want to spend more there is a one Michelin star restaurant called Eleven (and no it is not one third the price of restaurant 33, it is actually triple to four times the price). It was good but I did not see it as a "good value" for the price I paid
You will know that it's a family-run place if it has maximum 2 languages on the menu and if it has blue tiles and a simple interior :). I could recomend a number of simple places, but they would be a bit hard to find.
Dec 25, 10, 4:57 pm
To get the maximum Lisbon atmosphere out of one night, stay at the York House, a former convent, then a longstay pension, now a classy hotel in a central historical district called Lapa. However, for the central historical quarter with the most interesting shops, cafes, trams, cathedrals concentrated into a small upscale busy square, stay at a hotel in Chiado where you'll have the most right at your doorstep. Taxis are relatively inexpensive in Lisbon so with only one day, take a taxi to the top of Alfama to the Castelo St. George, then walk down the narrow winding cobble streets past tiny groceries and shops, very modest doorways with laundry hanging and birdcages hanging. Alfama is the oldest quarter of Lisbon to survive the earthquake, dating from Moorish times, where the seafolk lived. At the bottom of Alfama hill, eat at Estrela do Se, meaning "restuarant by the cathedral." It doesn't get more character filled, and the food is authentic, very tasty and not expensive. Squeeze into a tiny booth in the back. Then you might taxi over to Belem where several important museums are clustered together with the Jeronimos Monastery, or you might go to the Gulbekian Museum. Finish up with a taxi over to Pastelleria Versailles for dinner, meanwhile having seen a lot of Lisbon by taxi. Pastelleria sounds like a bakery, and there are glass cases of baked treats, but they are also full menu cafes.
The Versailles is a Lisbon institution, elegant in a cozy coffee house way, not to be missed. Take a little box of cookies back to your hotel, then if you feel like it go out again. There will be plenty of life in the streets at night in Chiado, and you can get a recommendation for a fado show from your concierge if you don't mind staying up late. My first trip to Lisbon, I had only one night like you, stayed at the York House and taxi hopped like I recommend.
Dec 29, 10, 10:41 am
I've been looking this up online and on the map and it looks like a great itinerary. I even found the restaurant at the bottom of the hill on google maps.
Estrela do Se
That means Star of the Cathedral.