Food + Drink in Lisbon

Note to self: never listen to French people when discussing the cuisines of other countries. Everyone I spoke to before going to Portugal told me the food was bland, that it was a meat-centric cuisine and that they were incapable of cooking it nicely. This made me worried for Ottilia (vegetarian). But we were surprised and delighted by the number of vegetarian restaurants we saw while strolling around. Sometimes it felt like we were in San Francisco, not Portugal! Many places seemed to be very French-influenced or otherwise global.

While exploring one day, we took note of one place, Planeta Bio, that looked nicer, and returned there on our last night in Lisbon. At 8pm, we were the only diners! (Later on, we walked by and noticed that it was packed and there was now a wait. It’s such a late-night city!) There were only 4 options on the menu, and you chose small or big and 2 or 3 dishes. That’s it.

Planeta Bio

Planeta Bio

Between the two of us we tried everything! There was moussaka, leek lasagna, leek gratin, and seitan korma. It came with a delicious, fresh salad and a choice of couscous or brown rice. Our only complaint was that it was not spicy enough. I suppose we could have asked for some sauce or something…anyways, it’s so nice to get healthy food like this while on vacation!

IMG_1160

One day we did a walking tour to learn a little bit about Lisbon, and afterwards we strolled around the winding cobblestone streets in the older part of town. I saw a sign for 1€ wine so of course I had to stop. We ended up stopping for a small glass of the green wine typical of Portugal and fell in love with the charming, cave-like bar. The woman who worked there was so nice, and there were plenty of lovely local liqueurs, sardines, honey, etc. that would make great gifts.

food and drink in lisbon

Yummy things to buy

ceiling of Enoteca Chafariz do Vinho

The ceiling

Another unique experience was checking out Enoteca Chafariz do Vinho, a nice little wine bar in a converted well-head/fountain space. It was a calm and romantic space, with sort of slow service but very nice people working. I have so much respect for waiters who have to walk up and down stairs, especially with tall bottles and delicate glasses! Anyways, I just really wanted to try some porto and they had several different types. We also got a chocolate mousse to share – it was more of a pot de crème or pudding than a mousse, but whatever the name it was chocolate-y and rich. Come here for very nice wine and a relaxing, chill ambiance – if I went back I would love to do the tasting menu!

wine bar in Lisbon

Looking down from the upper level

Switching gears to a more simple dining experience – we went to the modern area near the airport on the recommendation of someone from our hostel. This area was updated for the Expo ’98 and it looks quite different from all the cobblestone streets and tiled buildings found elsewhere in Lisbon. We rode the Telecabine and had a fun time checking out the view of the water, and when we got hungry we found an unassuming little restaurant that ended up being a great find!

Good views in Lisbon

View of the modern side of Lisbon from the skycrawler

roast chicken at waterfront Lisbon restaurant

Rice, fries, and a little salad were included with more than one meal we had – a strange but oddly satisfying trend in Lisbon

Unlike most other places we’d been to, not much English was spoken but we got by with hand gestures and saying a mix of Spanish and French words. Ottilia’s omelette was 4€ and my roast chicken was fabulous. Nearby diners were eating lots of different fish dishes that looked good for someone who loves seafood. I would 100% eat there again! I can’t find the name of the restaurant, but from some sleuthing on Google maps I believe the address is 103 on the street parallel to Rua Bojador and the waterfront, right around the corner from the north entrance of the Telecabine.

yummy portuguese restaurant

Planeta Bio
R. Francisco Sanches 39,
1170-141 Lisboa, Portugal

O Cantinho da Rute
R. Sao Miguel, 79
Lisboa, Portugal

Enoteca Chafariz do Vinho
Praça da Alegria
1250-000 Lisboa, Portugal

Other Lisbon posts:

Hostel
Cheese shop

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Summer Snippets

Me + no summer job + very little income = staying in Paris the whole summer. At times I’ve felt quite bored, lonely, and homesick, but luckily a lot of my friends stuck around too. There are plenty of events all over the city, so I’ve not had a lack of activities. Beginning in September, I’ll have plenty of work and school to stress me out, so I’ve been enjoying the downtime.

4th of July

Last summer I left Paris on July 5, so I didn’t celebrate either the 4th of July or 14 juillet. I made up for it this year! My friend Kat had a little party at her apt, complete with hot dogs (that came with fake grill marks) and beer and apple pie. We drank mostly Heineken and Leffe, but we did have a few really expensive Budweisers for authenticity’s sake. €5 for 4 buds! Ugh!

Photo courtesy of Kat

Photo courtesy of Kat

14 Juillet

For some reason, non-French people call this day Bastille Day, but French people refer to it as 14 Juillet (ka-torz zhwee-ay). On the 13th I attended a bal de pompier (Fireman’s Ball) in the 13th arrondissement. Each arrondissement’s fire department throws a big party around 14 juillet to raise money. It was a club atmosphere in the courtyard of a fire department, and with plenty of men in uniform (firemen and some marins, navy, too). Super unique and fun.

Le bal des pompiers, 13ème

Le bal des pompiers, 13ème

I also hosted a friend of mine from TAPIF. We met on the plane from DC almost two years ago and have kept in touch, even though she lived in Caen. It was fun to catch up and see the fireworks together! We joined a huge crowd of people set up on the street next to the Seine looking at the Eiffel Tower. We thought we had a perfect view, but when the fireworks started, everyone started running down the street – they were actually to our right and only visible between two giant patches of trees. Oops! Despite only having a view of 1/3 of the display, it was still really cool.

Ashley and I waiting for the fireworks

Ashley and I waiting for the fireworks

Fireworks through the trees

Fireworks through the trees

Free Concerts

The Place de la République has been under construction and recently opened up. To celebrate, the quartier had several free concerts there in early July. I went one night with friends and discovered some new bands I liked (Tété had a song just for me). I also checked out a free concert at Hôtel de Ville. The headliner, Lilly Wood and the Prick, was great! The singer had a lot of stage presence, and towards the end of the show she got the entire crowd to crouch down on the ground, and then we all jumped up at the same moment and danced wildly. So fun!

Ashley and I in front of the concert at Hôtel de Ville

Ashley and I in front of the concert at Hôtel de Ville

Le Tour de France

This year was the 100th Tour de France! I was tired and hot that day, but since I live right next to the finish line, and Ashley was still in town, I had to go see a little bit of the action. There were so many people lined up along the Champs-Élysées that I couldn’t see the street or the bikes. Luckily there were huge tvs set up so I watched parts of the race that way. It was a fun ambiance and cool to be there in reality, but I think big events like this are better enjoyed chez soi (at home).

Blurry pic of the big screen

Blurry pic of the big screen

Guitar

I invested in a guitar and a friend of mine has been giving me free lessons. I practice every day and I’m improving a lot! My forearm muscles are in pain but getting stronger by the day, and my fingers have gone from raw and sore, to peeling, to what I hope are permanent callouses. I love singing in choir, but I need a way to make music on my own. I’m lucky that I’ve had so much downtime to practice.

My Fender

My Fender

I’ve also been indulging in many a bottle of rosé to beat the heat with friends and I’m looking forward to a camping trip down south next week, so I can’t complain!

Nice, France

My parents finally were able to take the opportunity to come visit me in Paris! It’s been almost two years since I’ve moved here and they hadn’t come to visit yet. We had a wonderful time together – it felt more like I was hanging out with really good friends (albeit, rich ones who buy everything for you, haha) than my parents. I guess that means I’m a grown-up and have an adult relationship with them?! Scary! Let’s move on…

My dad and I playing tourist

My dad and I playing tourist

So in Paris, we did plenty of things in sometimes rainy, sometimes boiling hot weather. June in Paris, it turns out, is not always the best. But, it didn’t matter because we were together. It’s so fun to see Paris through the eyes of someone who doesn’t live here. We found a Holocaust monument that was right in my old quartier that I never noticed! Plus, we went up the Arc de Triomphe and checked out the Jewish Museum, two things I hadn’t had a chance to do yet.

We had an excellent meal at Le Florimond for my mom’s birthday. We split a bottle of champagne to toast her, all of our dishes were amazingly prepared, and the waiters even sang her happy birthday! I had the best confit de canard I’ve had yet, plus I tried lobster in a ravioli dish for the first time (not obsessed but I didn’t hate it)! My mom got a beef stew-type thing that came in a mini dutch oven – very cute, and the best beef stew I’ve ever tasted! I don’t remember what my dad got. I definitely recommend this restaurant if you find yourself in Paris for a special occasion. It’s very cozy and intimate, they are more than happy to answer questions or translate any of the French, and they have English menus too if you need it.

My mom and I at BNI - it was interesting to attend a French networking event!

My mom and I at BNI – it was interesting to attend a French networking event!

Beach in Nice

Beach in Nice

My favorite part of their stay was our trip to the south of France. We spent three days in Nice and also visited Antibes (our favorite), Monaco (meh), and Cannes (meh). We stayed at the Hotel du Suède which I’d recommend – it’s clean and nice but most importantly, it’s located about two seconds from the beach! The surrounding streets are pretty touristy, but I have to admit that it was useful to shop in the souvenir shops – we got some cheap mats to lie on the sand in and I found a cheap bikini to tan in!

At the beach in Nice

At the beach in Nice

We were about a ten minute walk away from Old Nice – little winding streets with tons of restaurants and bars. We had one so-so meal and one fabulous one there. Chez Juliette had beautiful table decorations, great service, and lovely food. If we had stayed another day we would have gone back, it was that good. It was located next to a gay bar, complete with a cross-dresser (transvestite? what is the politically correct term for a man who dresses like a woman?) in a pink wig who was going around flirting with everyone, and mimicking the capoeira performers that started doing crazy backflips on the street. We got gelato a few times at Fenocchio’s – they have tons of flavors and all the ones we tried were great.

Walking off our gelato just a few streets above the crowded Old section of Nice

Walking off our gelato just a few streets above the crowded Old section of Nice

Chez Juliette

Chez Juliette

We didn’t spend the whole time eating and beach-ing. We managed to hit up 3 different museums – the Matisse museum in Nice, the Picasso museum in Antibes, and the Chagall museum in Nice. My favorite by far was the Chagall museum – they had lots of his paintings, including many early ones I have never seen before. There was also a great 40-minute film that included interviews with him as an old man and footage of him painting. He had a great personality! It made me wish that I could see similar interviews with all my favorite artists throughout history. The Matisse museum had a smaller volume of works, but I think there was an exhibit traveling elsewhere that was due back at the museum in July. The Picasso museum had a beautiful interior and a lovely back garden with ocean views.

My parents right outside the Picasso Museum

My parents right outside the Picasso Museum

On our last full day in the south, we drove over to Monaco. It was cool to check off the list, and to visit the second-smallest country in the world, but overall we were underwhelmed. It might have been the clouds, or perhaps the commercialism that glints off every yacht and high-rise building. It’s basically a giant luxury shopping mall-turned-city. We were also dismayed to watch a yacht turn on it’s engines and run them for 30 minutes while docked – way to respect the environment, guys! We did have some great cocktails and people-watching in front of the Casino.

The waterfront in Monaco

The waterfront in Monaco

My dad and I at the bar in front of the Casino

My dad and I at the bar in front of the Casino

€50 for 3 drinks!

€50 for 3 drinks!

My dad was stoked

My dad was stoked

My mom was less stoked

My mom was less stoked

I was happy!

Cheers to a great trip!

We really loved the Nice area. If you rent a car, it’s so easy to get out and explore the nearby towns. I think if we had stayed in Nice for 3 days straight it would have gotten old, but with all the exploring we did it was hard to leave by the end!

Overall, my parents’ visit was fabulous. We made some great new memories – some good (so much time to talk face-to-face, my mom and I making fun of my dad’s attempts at French – people kept responding to him in Spanish or Italian! although by the end of two weeks he was pas mal, cocktails and wine all the time since they were on vacation and I’m, well, I live in Europe), some bad (my dad getting yelled at by a crazy street cleaner, and simply not having enough time). It’s so fun to see Paris through the eyes of someone who doesn’t live here. We found a Holocaust monument that was right in my old quartier that I never noticed! Plus, we went up the Arc de Triomphe and checked out the Jewish Museum, two things I hadn’t had a chance to do yet.