LISBON / Taberna Moderna

29.11.16





The idea behind Taberna Modern is all about sharing -- both dishes, and a fusion of Portuguese and Spanish cuisine.  Each dish is designed to be shared between 2 people and with about 30 dishes on the menu, it's really hard to choose.  Set in a traditional 'Lisbon' old tavern, the restaurant is modern and cheerful with a hand-selection of mismatched chairs, tables, banquettes and lighting.  You can also select from a vast array of more than 80 herb-infused varieties of gin.

Taberna Moderna
Rua dos Bacalhoeiros 18A
1100-187 Lisboa, Portugal
+351 21 886 5039 




PORTO / Camafeu Restaurant

23.11.16


Camafeu is as unique as it gets.  Much like going to a friend's place for dinner (who might also be a top, up-and-coming chef with an eclectic aesthetic eye), this restaurant is located on the 2nd floor of a walk-up building, accessible via a discrete street-level door entrance and stairway that leads to a large unmarked door.  On the other side: a friendly greeter, who opens the door, but only after you have knock on it.  Très familial.

Indeed, the interior of the restaurant builds upon this felling, with French windows looking out on the bustling Carlos Alberto Square, paintings on the walls and carefully mismatched chairs next to a handful of tables, and no music. None.  Literally.

The dishes are inventive yet simple, and accompanied by an interesting wine list followed by an unforgettable selection of home-made desserts.

Camafeu
Praca Carlos Alberto 83
Porto 4050-158, Portugal

PORTO / INNVICT Guest House

21.11.16





The 'Guest House' format of hotel living is fast becoming the new alternative to AirBnB.  Caught somewhere between an apartment and a hotel, InnVict offers the best of both worlds: a sophisticated, sexy, slick urban décor, and a semi-concierge service with optional cleaning services and no expectation for you to clean the apartment before you leave (which we did, anyways, of course). 

All 9 of their rooms carry the same dark, minimalist design sense with pops of velvety yellows and lots of black & white.  However no two rooms are the same, each with their own configuration and unique name which we believe derive from the house's history.  Ours, for example, was called "Admiral" and had three double-storm-shutter windows overlooking the Douro river.  We felt very admiral indeed.  Maybe I am just being overly romantic.

But what really makes InnVict special is its location in the heart of Porto's historic district, Infante, a stone's throw away from, well, everything: wine bars; a bevvy of sophisticated cafés, boutiques and restaurants; a taxi stand (very important); the gondola to cross the river, where all of the wineries live; and, again... lots of wine bars.  Lots of wine, really. Wine.

7 Rua de Sao Francisco
Porto 4050-430 Portugal
innvict.com 
Book The Admiral Here: airbnb.com











 

LISBON / x-rated at PENSAO AMOR

19.11.16





Initially when you enter Pensão Amor form the high street of  Rua do Alecrim (which leads to the prestigious area of Chiado), you immediately think that this is a throw-back to 20th century Paris: red velvet sofas, chandeliers, a cornucopia of small framed paintings and photographs, blue velvet curtains, mis-matched Bohemian furniture, and servers wearing All-Black with a crazy hat.  But when you look out of the windows of this 'highest of streets' you will notice that, Dang, you are in the heart of the Red Light District (note: in Lisbon, they paint the streets of this district in pink).

The Pensão Amor has many rooms each with their separate vibes that all somehow culminate into a space that is inclusive, open, happy and gay.  My kinda place.

Rua do Alecrim nº 19
1200-292
Lisbon, Portugal
pensaoamor.pt







 

OBSESSED / star eye lashes

LISBON / Solar do Castelo Hotel

17.11.16





We quite literally stumbled upon this heritage hotel in the center of Lisbon's historic Castelo district while, go figure, we were aimlessly wandering around the grounds of the majestic Castelo, which are adjacent to this very special boutique hotel.  So adjacent, in fact, that I remarked how easy it would be to hop the fence that separated the Castelo and the street leading to what we would later discover to be the Solar do Castelo.

Listed as the only hotel within the walls of the Castelo, the Solar de Costelo is like a mini mansion that is self-sustained -- with a lounge, outside terrace, water fountain, and shuttle buses to anywhere you want to go, and a few peacocks who make an appearance now and again (see, I told you it was easy to go to and from the Castelo).

Rua das Cozinhas, 2
Lisbon 1100-181
Portugal
+351 218 806 050
reservations@heritage.pt






 

MOMENT OF / Mystery Hair Cream?

LISBON / Time Out Market

14.11.16




Time Out magazine has somehow created this market in the center of Lisbon where local butchers, grocers, curators, and vendors of all stuff artistic can come together and offer their services and products under one good looking and well designed roof, called "Time Out" market.  It's a giant building next to the Tagus river which has, in its center, a modern eating forum where people can eat after shopping a dizzying array of  food & cuisines.  It's like the St Lawrence Market (in Toronto) but with more variety and a modern design aesthetic.

Mercado da Ribeira
24 Avenida da Julho
1200-470 Lisbon
timeoutmarket.com

LISBON / Champanheria Do Largo

11.11.16





There are far too many places to eat in Lisbon, and eat well at that.  It makes it truly difficult to discern and commit to a restaurant, on a daily basis, because even though you know you will eat well -- the possibility of eating even better always gets to you.  One afternoon we were bitten by this bug in the area known as "Restaurados" which we took, initially, to come from 'restoration' given the abundance of antique stores in this area.  After some of the research I undertook to write this post, I learned that it actually comes from the nearby Restaurados Square which was built in 1640 when Portugal was able to 'restore' its independence from Portugal. 

(NOTE: I realize it might seem silly that I had to do research in order to make an association between the nearby square and this area's name.  It is simply because most people couldn't really name the area properly, and that even once they did suggest it was the Restaurados area, they weren't sure of the name's origin.  Lisbon is very secretive.  Shhhhh.)

This little-but-big restaurant nestled quietly on the quiet street of Largo da Anunciada is a pleasant surprise.  With vibrant floor tiles, an eclectic mix of chairs & tables, painted plates on the wall, and several different rooms where you can hang out, you instantly feel as if you were at home at your friend's house who has this amazing taste that you can not define.  But the best part is the food.  The menu is very creative -- duck breast salad, octopus tartar, and duck breast sliders -- and the wine selection perfect, which we sampled on their simple yet elegant terrace.  Obrigado.

Champanheria Do Largo
Largo da Annunciado, 20
Lisbon 1150-321
Portgual
+ 213 470 392
facebook.com/ChampanheriaLisboa/