I had heard so many great things about the Portuguese food scene before travelling to Lisbon. From the little cafes to the finest Michelin starred restaurants, there is something so inviting and unique about the restaurants of the Portuguese capital. However, I feel like it is often overlooked for its offerings when overshadowed by nearby countries such as Italy, Spain and France.
During our time in Lisbon, we tried to experience some of the finest offerings Lisbon had to offer, starting with a lunch at 1 Michelin starred ALMA.
Directed down a small alley by Google Maps, we approached a big, old school wooden teal door that resembled someone’s house with a small sign next to it reading ‘ALMA’. If you were not aware the restaurant was there, it would have been so easy to pass by – but that’s what makes it extremely exclusive.
We had to ring a door bell in order to have someone come and open the door for us, before we proceed into a high ceiling restaurant with a small kitchen do the side and a long L-shaped seating area. Stone flooring spanned the restaurant with the most beautiful and simplistic decor.
We kicked things off with a glass of sparkling Portuguese wine, called Blanc De Blancs made by Luis Pato. It made for the perfect aperitif with fresh citrus notes.
Our meal started with a few snacks to get us warmed up for the main courses. The first snack was crispy seaweed tapioca, which was salty but extremely flavoursome.
The next dish was a seared tuna with coriander puree and orange. We had explained to our waiter at the beginning that we weren’t huge fans of fish, but he said I would really enjoy this snack. He was right, it wasn’t fishy at all and completely flavoursome.
The next snack was a ‘Bulhao Pato’ clam with coriander puree. I wasn’t a huge fan of this dish and it was rather fishy for my liking and had a squishy texture.
The final snack was my favourite. Charcoaled Red pepper tempura with a red pepper coulee and smoked vinegar, I could have easily eaten a few more of these.
We started our first wine pairing of Fita Preta by Antonio Macanita, produced in Alentejano. Antonio is one of the leading winemakers of his generation, so it was a real treat to try some of his wine.
This light wine was accompanied by our starter, which was glazed baby carrots served with goats cheese, dried fruit bulgur and cumin oil. The dish had lovely sweet and savoury flavours of from the honey glaze and bulgur but was balanced out with the goat’s cheese and coriander sauce.
For our main courses, the choice one wine was Lapa Dos Gaivōes from Joāo M Barbosa, another wine from the Alentejano region of Portugal. A fruity and smooth red wine with blackberry notes, which paired perfectly with our meat dish.
Our main of lamb loin with green peas, bread ‘gnocchi’ and minted jus was served.
The flavours of this dish were just incredible, seasoned extremely well with various kind of herbs. The peas were slightly sweet which complimented the savoury bread gnocchi brilliantly. The meat was cooked to perfection, it just melted in your mouth. So, so good!
Even though we were super full, the dessert selection was just too tempting not to try. My sister ordered the chocolate bomb with salted caramel and hazelnut sorbet.
It was every chocolate lovers delight. The inside had a lovely smooth, mousse style outer before an oozy chocolate middle with piped salted caramel cream.
I on the other hand was craving something a little more refreshing after a heavy main course, so I ordered the ‘Mango’ which was made with mango puree balls, passionfruit sorbet, coconut and black sesame seed clusters.
We couldn’t leave without taking a picture with the talented chef behind all these wonderful creations and dishes served at ALMA. Thank you Henrique Sá Pessoa for feeding us your incredible food.
It was one of the best meals I had in a while and it was so worth it. The service is extremely attentive and they will go out of their way to make sure you have a wonderful meal. If you are in Lisbon and looking for a fine dining experience, I would definitely recommend trying out ALMA, you won’t be disappointed.
Until next time…