One of the recommendations inside the “mailbag” at the Memmo hotel was for a little restaurant called Chapito, just a short walk from the Castle and the perfect spot for lunch on our last day in Lisbon. I was interested to read that Chapito is in fact not just a restaurant, but is also home to a circus school and performing arts centre, and guests are often treated to performances from the students in the evenings during term time, something I was sorry to have missed as I’m sure it would have been great fun!
Chef Bertílio Gomes has been in charge of the kitchens since 2011 and whether you choose to dine from the main menu inside the more formal dining room or from their lighter snack and Petiscos menu on their beautiful outdoor terrace you are sure to be wowed not only by the classic Portuguese cuisine but by the stunning views across the City (just take sunscreen as I got a little pink!)
We started by sharing two Petiscos between us, salt cod and mixed meat croquetas which were served quickly and helped stave off our hunger pangs until the rest of our dishes were served. The croquetas were definitely some of the better ones we tried in Lisbon, generously filled and perfectly fried so as to be light and crisp as opposed to oily and stodgy which can often be the case.
We chose two salads from the main course menu, mine was “Alentejana” style with raddichio, cured black pork loin, a poached egg, croutons and a serpa cheese sauce whilst my father chose a salad with watercress, boiled egg, boquerones and anchoives. My salad was absolutely fantastic, I love salads with different flavours and textures and the salty fried pork loin, crunchy croutons, runny egg yolk and slightly spicy, bitter sheep’s milk serpa meant that this ticked all the boxes.
My sister decided to have the sautéed prawns with garlic, lime and basil. There is just something so perfect about the way the Portuguese prepare prawns and these were no exception, juicy, succulent and piping hot with all the delicious cooking juices ready to be mopped up with crusty Portuguese bread at the end. Her other dish was a portion of Chapitos own style fried potatoes where they almost seem to use the potato skins as opposed to the flesh which made for a really crunchy, crisp like chip which were so good I may have sneaked more than my fair share of over the course of lunch!
My Mother is a big fan of fresh sardines but these are not something you seem to see much of in the UK so she took the opportunity to do so as much as possible in Portugal. Here at Chapito they had done all of the hard work by filleting the sardines already and then serving them on top of a big slice of crusty local bread with some roasted peppers, perfect for cutting through the oiliness of the fish.
Lunch for the 4 of us came to around 80 Euros with a carafe of local wine, water and a couple of beers making Chapito a very decently priced lunch spot indeed, especially when you take the gorgeous views into consideration and I cannot think of a better restaurant to take a rest in during your sight seeing around Alfama.