Our finale dinner was at Attla, and we were delighted to find such an intimate, personable place to say farewell to the city. Owner and Chef André Fernandes has worked at an array of Michelin restaurants, then took off to explore corners far and wide. This is all reflected in his dishes, which feature local Portuguese ingredients (mostly fish and vegetables) but with a wild streak. To me, this type of restaurant is the jewel in the crown: it’s a combination of a talented chef with a personal vision offered in a simple, small, unencumbered space to enjoy the food—so you feel like you are part of the scene and end up engaging with fellow foodies. There is a great warmth and genuine hospitality that leaves you feeling full and full of joy.
The menu was on the unusual end of the spectrum, so we did need a little assistance in ordering, and awaited our selections with anticipation. A few arrived as completely new and bizarre, but all were terrific. The space, like lots of other high-end spots in Lisbon was clean and sparse, light wood and white walls, almost Scandinavian in mood and approach.
The night we went there were a lot of Americans in the house, and it was fun to trade tips of each others’ hot spots. Though, when I asked the staff if it was mostly tourists who came to the restaurant, I was told that it was just a fluke that night.
Here’s what we had that night.
The meal started with a Puffed Olive Oil Dough glazed with ponzu, spider crab, and fresh herbs. Quite extraordinary. Right, we sat in the corner near the glass divider, which was cozy.
I always love a cleverly designed wine label. This bottle of Somnium White 2017, from Douro, Portugal was a treat, and nicely complex. Right, the Sourdough Bread came with two spreads: confit garlic and goat butter and chili. What’s not to like?
We were not sure what to make of this when it arrived, so just dug in. Fried Polenta, bonito tartar, chinotto, under an avocado pilpil—styled like the ultimate energy bar. Right, a closer look shows the polenta on the bottom, bonito on top, smothered in that wonderful avocado sauce. Not sure how the chinotto (a type of orange) figured in, but the dish was fantastic. (Chinotto oranges are best suited for flavoring and are not typically consumed raw due to their sour, bitter nature. The fruit is used in marmalade, jams, and syrups because of their high pectin content and the essential oils are used to flavor cocktails.)
I’m a bit worn out from all the running around on our last day. We spent the day walking around Belem to the museums and the monastery, and made our way to the Alcântara neighborhood. We certainly earned this meal after all those hours on our feet. Right, the Grilled Boletos Mushroom, with ajo bianco, cockles, and lardo. I could eat this right off the screen.
I like that the Portuguese refer to a crab claw as a “tweezer,” it’s quite accurate. This Spider Crab Tweezer was served in a super interesting miso beurre blanc sauce, a total hit. Unfortunately, the crab itself was not that meaty. Right, a view from the entrance to the open kitchen and tiny bar.
Our server Leo with another offering for us: a natural wine Menina d’uva. Right, John Dory cured in seaweed, in another great sauce, ponzu, cucumber, smoked tomato oil.
For the purists: a perfectly done stalk of Cauliflower glazed with elderflower vinegar, spinach satay, and sorrel sauce. Right, we lingered a bit and were the last people to leave on this Tuesday night, which is why the tables are empty next to where we sat.
A minimalist wall statement. Right, a fantastic dessert of Smoked Ice Cream with almond tree wood, almond milk, fig from Algarve, carob crumble, fig leaf oil, is what was stated on the menu. Though, that fruit looks a lot like a pear.
I just had to meet the chef and give him my compliments. André Fernandes really puts a lot of love and creativity into the food. Right, our lovely server, who also took the photo of the chef and I. Thanks, we had a great time!
Attla, R. Gilberto Rola 65, 1350-111 Lisboa, open Tuesday to Saturday, from 7:30pm – midnight.
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