If you are looking for something unusual and creative, Prado is your go-to. I have to say, they have one of the most unusual menus I have ever seen, and that’s saying a lot, as I go out to eat all the time and love to be experimental. The kitchen is run by Chef António Galapito, who worked with El Bulli-trained Chef Nuno Mendes in London, so you know you can expect some out-of-the-box thinking. To demonstrate, here are some items from their menus: Beaten black pork fat, garlic and bay leaf; Black swordfish, nasturtiums and radishes; Fish, ink and leek squid; Big eye tuna, bordelaise, raspberry and coriander.
Prado, which means “meadow” in Portuguese, is another Lisbon restaurant that celebrates Portugal’s best seasonal ingredients. And their wine list is exclusively organic, biodynamic and natural. The restaurant is located up a steep hill, at the foothills of Alfama, just a few streets away from the main square (Praça do Comércio) and tourist area.
The space was carved out of the hill, with the front entrance level to the street, while the right side of the restaurant sunk below the steep incline. The ceilings were soaring, and there was a full-wall-wine-cellar at the back. Service was extremely friendly and we were assisted in choosing dishes from the strange offerings.
It happened that we got to the restaurant a little early for our reservation, thinking we could be accommodated but they were fully booked, and did not have a bar. Instead, they did have an affiliated, cute little provisions shop around the corner, which offered wine, cheese, and fresh produce, and various packaged foodie goodies. So we went there first (see those photos below).
Here’s how the night went down.
The front entrance to Prado. I wish I would have pulled back a little more to show you the steepness of the street. Right, the Courgette, with sheeps’ requeijäo cheese and sorrel. Nice start.
The John Dorys’ collar, served with leek mayo, and vinegar powder. This had a salty, satisfying taste, (think pork rind), but not much flesh to the fish, as you could imagine. Right, the wine room situated at the rear of the restaurant, includes part of the rockbed, for a natural effect. (Actually, I did a little research on this, and discovered the stones are, in fact, Roman ruins.)
I love octopus, but thought this particular tendril was especially weird. Octopus from the Algarve sits in a spinach sauce, topped with thinly-cut red peppers and with what they called pig’s head—referring to the strange-looking clear membrane. Right, the windows at the top of the space are just at street level from the outside.
Really enjoyed this, though perhaps it was not as adventurous as other choices on the menu: Free-range chicken thigh, eryngil (a mushroom), and toasted rice. Right, the check presented in a mug.
Off the large dining room was another, more cozy and colorful room. Love the mural.
Pre-dinner at the Prado Mercearia around the corner with a glass of Rufia Rose.
Showcasing local producer’s wares, as seen in this pear-shaped pumpkin. Right, we ordered a trio of cheeses, the circular one in the back was very creamy and stinky, like a super-ripe brie (Queijo da Serra da Estrela). I loved the white one in the front (a queso fresco).
This fig cookie was sitting in a jar on the counter. I thought it was a fig flattened when I ordered it to go with the cheeses. Woops! It’s called a Bolacha Figo, and it did complement the cheeses nicely. Right, the counter behind Bob showing the local Portuguese fare.
Prado, Travessa das Pedras Negras, 2 1100-404 Lisbon, open Wednesday – Saturday 12:00 to 3:30 for lunch, then 7:00 – 11:00 pm. Sunday noon to 5pm.
Want to see more Lisbon dining picks, click here.