Thursday, 7 June 2018

Fish and Shellfish: The best Portuguese restaurants

According to, Portugal has the best fish and shellfish in the world. So, if you are already mouthwatering about these wonderful delights you must know what the Portuguese typical dishes are and where to go to taste them.

With a coastline that covers half of its outlines, an endless assortment of restaurants, a handful of rivers and a vast stretch of ocean and fishing activities, Portugal doesn´t lack fish and seafood. Fish and seafood live on two apparent nonsense: it is not food for lazy people and it's consider a "luxurious" dish. 

Fisherman at Armação de Pêra
Typical fish market

As in Portugal the art of good cooking is shaped by the "preparations" and supermarkets are dictating that for those who cook more than half of the work is already done, the seafood and what is for so many people the best fish in the world has of standing up against winds and tides, so to speak. It is true that the Portuguese have cod as the fish of choice (which is not even caught in our waters), but the variety and quantity that is given by our rivers and the delights of the Atlantic should be settled and at a reasonable price. But they are not...

Moreover… we have the tendency to make the confection uncomplicated. Even with the foreign advent of sushi restaurants, we do not eat raw fish. We cook it in many different ways: grilled, fried, boiled, roasted, "dressed" with butter, a pinch of salt, a few drops of lemon. We do not fill it with adornments, which is enough to have to catch it, scaly it, unravel it and make it the perfect fillets leaving out everything that is skeleton and spine. That after so much work (and even out of respect for the product) we tend not to complicate the making of the dish. After all, not all the fish have the generosity of the little "jaquinzinhos" (miniature mackerels) while eating a whole fish in a single breath.

Bacalhau assado (baked codfish)
Bacalhau à brás (crumbled cod with garlic, oil and eggs)
Cataplana de peixe (fish "cataplana")
Mariscada (seafood)

Whether it be river or sea fish, going out to eat the delights that the waters give is always an event. Cyclically popular festivals celebrate sardines, but the whole country has many fish and seafood restaurants to choose from. Due to the nature of the obvious need for the absolute freshness of the product that arrives on the plate, the whole restaurant of seafood and fish should be good and of guaranteed quality. They gain their fame through years of immaculate reputation, which allows many to glorify themselves for their shellfish even while away from the sea, or to receive fidelity evidence from the fish eater even though the ocean is out of sight.

It is clear that the favorites (for the Portuguese and, compulsively, for tourists) are the restaurants where fish and seafood are eaten with a view of the sea or the waterfront. It is as if the landscape represents a seal of quality. And then the tradition shows how things may very well continue to be as they were but with the twist of today's times: the auctions and squares where one can buy the product from the wise fishmongers, the occasional cane wand on the head or bucket in the old and new markets, and, above all, the restaurants and seafood restaurants where time does not pass and cooks as usual, taking care of seafood and fish, to the 'fashionable' and the taste of the new national chefs for Portugal's fish and seafood, such as cooking with a personal touch, how to 'turn around' and bring them to the table in a more appealing way.

Then comes the shock of reality, which is when the "embellishment" is over. Most of the fish and seafood caught in Portugal is for export. We export half the quantity that we import and what comes from outside hardly compares in quality to what our waters give. But the prices are not comparable. For more campaigns that are made to the virtues of the national seafood and fish, the scenario remains. Of the 200 species we fish in our exclusive zone, we should not consume more than 15. Some say that the case has both community laws and a lazy dictatorship of consumer tastes. And we are at the point where, adoring the fish or revering the shellfish, we stopped asking about the origin of the species.

But with a modern touch or letting the product speak for itself with a hint of seasoning, skipping in all our waters or coming free from foreign waters, there is no lack in Lisbon and its surroundings of quality restaurants for those who do not cook fish at home nor does he deliver the shellfish to the laws of steam. See the list of the best fish and seafood restaurants in Lisbon and Cascais and, for that international touch, take a peek at the suggestions of the best sushi restaurants.

Restaurants known for the best fish:
Restaurants known for the best shellfish:
Restaurants known for the best sushi:
Source: | See the original article here.

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