Wednesday, 28 November 2018

The Michelin Guide was in Portugal and left us with more stars

The Michelin Stars Gala happened in Sintra and brought additional stars to portuguese restaurants. Alma joined the 2 stars restaurants, which awarded chef Henrique Sá Pessoa's team.

Along with this award, the Michelin Guide gave 1 star to three new restaurants in Portugal:

  • G Restaurante, in Bragança
  • A Cozinha, in Guimarães
  • Midori, on Hotel Penha Longa, in Sintra
With this new (and very well deserved!) distinction for Alma, six restaurants now have 2 Michelin stars. Two of these are right in Lisbon's city center, on the cosmo and trendy Chiado. Portugal thus becomes more important on the Michelin Guide for the Iberian Peninsula. And claiming its place internationally as a destination for foodies - the food lovers who travel in the search of new flavors and restaurants. Also, it starts to be more likely to get a 3rd Michelin star for a portuguese restaurant. This would certainly place Portugal as a food destination!

Photo by Lifecooler

Check here the complete list of Michelin stars' restaurants in Portugal, for 2019.

Two Michelin stars Alma / Henrique Sá Pessoa, Lisboa Belcanto / José Avillez, Lisboa Il Gallo d’Oro / Benoit Sinthon, Funchal Ocean / Hans Neuner, Alporcinhos The Yeatman / Ricardo Costa, Vila Nova de Gaia Vila Joya / Dieter Koschina, Albufeira One Michelin star A Cozinha /António Loureiro, Guimarães Antiqvvm / Vitor Matos, Porto Bon Bon / Louis Anjos, Carvoeiro Casa da Calçada / Tiago Bonito, Amarante Casa de Chá da Boa Nova / Rui Paula, Leça da Palmeira Eleven / Joachim Koerper, Lisboa Feitoria / João Rodrigues, Lisboa Fortaleza do Guincho / Gil Fernandes, Cascais G Restaurante / Óscar Gonçalves, Bragança Gusto by Heinz Beck / Heinz Beck, Almancil Henrique Leis / Henrique Leis, Almancil LAB by Sergi Arola / Sergi Arola, Sintra L’And Vineyards / Miguel Laffan, Montemor-o-Novo Loco / Alexandre Silva, Lisboa Midori / Pedro Almeida, Sintra Pedro Lemos / Pedro Lemos, Porto São Gabriel / Leonel Pereira, Almancil Vista / João Oliveira, Portimão William / Luís Pestana, Funchal Willie’s / Willie Wurger, Vilamoura

Wednesday, 21 November 2018

Medieval town in the center of Portugal - Meet Óbidos, our fairytale place

Take a day off your city tour in Lisbon and Oporto and head to the town of Óbidos. That is the proposal Travel+Leisure offers for your bucket list. It's only a 1h30 away, but it will take you back some centuries...

Óbidos is a fairytale town which even has its own castle

It was built 700 years ago and was offered by a King to His Queen as a wedding present. But the impressive part is that the castle still remains today, as does the wall around the town.

Photo by Zoltan Kovacs on Unsplash

Take a walk on the top of the wall and you will feel as King of the Castle

To sleep as a proper King, spend the night at Pousada Óbidos, an historic hotel. There is even the possibility to sleep on a castle tower. This hotel also has a dining room with two very special tables - the Moon Table and the Sunset Table, where you can enjoy a good meal with a view.

There is also another alternative to spend the night, for book lovers

Stay at The Literary Man and experience sleeping amongst 45.000 books, on an exquisite location. This town is highly known for its medieval ambiance and fantastic views.

However, you won't miss the most fun (and tasty) part of the visit - having a ginjinha at one of the many bars.

Have it straight as a shot or simply sip it - on a chocolate cup. Sounds delicious? That is why it is. Finally, as almost anywhere in Portugal, you can taste many and delicious pastries. Difference here is you will do this while marvelling on the sights and buildings. It is a worth while visit!

Tuesday, 13 November 2018

20 reasons why to come to Portugal and eat

To eat well is part of Portugal's DNA. However, our cuisine is not easy to internationalize, thus why there aren't many portuguese restaurants throughout the world. The main reason why this happens, according to CNN Travel, is the difficulty to have the freshest local ingredients. And this is the secret to portuguese cuisine.

So if you're a foodie, always looking for the next big thing in restaurants, you should come to Portugal

Dine in our "tascas" (a very small restaurant with an informal way of serving, where you taste real food) is just one example. Here's 20 more!


Portugal has fish and seafood like nowhere else in Europe. There are inumerous ways to do it, but definitely you need to visit a market and see the fish for yourself. You will be amazed with the diversity and freshness. In many restaurants, you get to pick your fish and the chef will cook the one you chose.

Olive oil

Olive oil is used in most of portuguese cuisine, both in the kitchen and at the table. Also, it has a strong economic value in Alentejo, Beira and Trás-os-Montes regions, as many families own olive groves and take income from its produce. It is called liquid gold for a reason.
Photo by Roberta Sorge on Unsplash

National dish

Portuguese food varies from North to South. Upnorth the food is robust, with lots of meat. In the South, there is more fish, seafood and cooked bread. However, there is one national dish, which is offered in almost all traditional restaurants, on sundays - the cozido à portuguesa. It consists of beef and pork, boiled with blood sausage and chorizo, and different vegetables and beans cooked in the same water. So there's different ingredients but everything tastes the same! You need to have this at lunch and you will skip every meal until the next day.

Gourmet offer

Recently portuguese chefs have awakened themselves to experiment modern techniques and approaches to portuguese cooking. Chefs like José Avillez, who has a 2 michelin stars restaurant (Belcanto) and Henrique Sá Pessoa, with several projects in Lisbon.

Our beloved codfish

It is said Portugal has a recipe to cook codfish for every day of the year. Probably there are even more! And you will find always an offer with codfish in every restaurant.

Smelly cheese

French and dutch cheeses are known all over the world, Portuguese cheeses are great; we just don't have the right communication skills! You can have cheese before a meal, with some bread, or after, with marmalade or a glass of Port wine.
Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Porto's finest

Portugal's second city has two very famous dishes. However, please be warned that you need a very strong stomach for both. That said, have no fear and taste away! Tripas à moda do Porto is a stew of several types of meat, with the star ingredient being the tripe - the white lining of the cow stomach. The other one is francesinha - or little french girl - and is basically a big sandwich made of beef, egg, cheese, a special sauce and some other things you probably don't need to know about.

Everything with rice

There are a lot of dishes made with rice - seafood, octopus, duck and also desserts, similar to rice pudding (but better!). They are not known all over the world, as risotto and paella are, but they are so so much better.

Black is the pig

These pigs grow in the wild in the plains of Alentejo. They have a different taste and texture and provide for the best cured ham Portugal has to offer.

Have lunch at school

There are a lot of old primary schools, all over the territory, which now serve as restaurants. You find many different concepts in unusual locations.

Pour the wine

There is wine for everyone here. And award-winning too! Green wine you can only find in the North of Portugal. The same with Port, one of our best sellers abroad.

The explorers' food

Portugal was a colonizing country, with territories from Africa, to Brasil and India. These flavours are now part of our cuisine. And also, part of our offer on its own, since you can taste food from old colonies in many dedicated restaurants.

We love little pigs

Suckling pig is a delicacy at the middle of the territory, in a town called Mealhada. You can taste it elsewhere, but the real thing is there.

Local fruit

Our mild climate, together with singularities with mountain or island climate, turn Portugal in a fantastic home to many tasty seasoned fruits. We eat it plain and make jams or desserts with it.

Little as the sardine

Sardines are only available in the Summer, on which you can have it at Lisbon's street festival. Grilled of course.
Photo by Elle Hughes on Unsplash

Weird but tasty

A blood-sucking snake-shaped fish. Goose-necked barnacles. Or a sugared blood sausage. Don't ask. Just taste.

Visit the local market

To see all you can taste in its original form, visit a local market. There is one in each town, even in the smallest.
Photo by Stefan Pflaum on Unsplash

We are so sweet

Come and bring a larger pair of trousers. You will need it. Portuguese pastry is very diverse and unique on its own. Our pastel de nata is famous everywhere but you need to dig further and try other options. You won't regret it.

Meat sandwiches

We already referred to our tascas. There you can either eat a bifana (a sandwich made with fried pork) or a prego (same concept, but with beef). Or both.

Many many meat

Portugal is more known for its fish and seafood. But we have meat too - and good one.

Hope you have (even) more will to come to Portugal - and eat!

What is the best time to travel to Portugal?

The weather in Portugal is mild all year round, so it is always a great time to visit! There are, however, the best times of the year to enjoy the sun and have less chance of rain.

Recommended Season
From April to September
Summer - maximum:  35°C [95°F]; minimum: 16°[60.8°F].
Winter - maximum: 16°[60.8°F]; minimum: 8°C [46.4°F].
From May to September
Summer – maximum: 25°[77°F]; minimum: 15° C [59°F];
Winter – maximum: 13°[55.4°F]; minimum: 5°C  [41°F].
From May to September
Summer – maximum: 25°[77°F]; minimum:  14°C [57.2°F];
Winter – maximum: 15°[59°F]; minimum: 5°C [41°F].
From May to September
Summer – maximum: 29°[84.2°F]; minimum: 15°C [59°F];
Winter – maximum: 13° [55.4°F]; minimum: 5°C [41°F].
From April to June / in September to October
Summer – maximum: 30°[86°F]; minimum: 16° C [60.8°F];
Winter – maximum: 12°[53.6°F]; minimum: 5°C [41°F].
From May to September
Summer – maximum: 25°[77°F]; minimum: 15°C [59°F];
Winter – maximum: 13° [55.4°F]; minimum: 5°C [41°F].
Spring and Autumn
Summer – maximum: 29°[84.2°F]; minimum:  15°C [59°F];
Winter – maximum: 18° [64.4°F]; minimum: 8°C [46.4°F].
From May to September
Summer – maximum: 25°[77°F]; minimum:  18°C [64.4°F];
Winter – maximum: 17°[62.6°F]; minimum: 11°C [51.8°F].
Spring and Summer
Summer – maximum: 25°[77°F]; minimum:  19°C [66.2°F];
Winter – maximum: 19°[66.2°F]; minimum: 13°C  [55.4°F].
Porto Santo
All year
Summer – maximum: 25°[77°F]; minimum:  20°C [68°F];
Winter – maximum: 18°[64.4°F]; minimum: 13°C  [55.4°F].

Tuesday, 6 November 2018

Best destinations for November - and Lisbon is one of them

November has arrived and is usually a quiet month to travel. After the summer holidays and before Christmas' break, it is not a regular time to travel. But that is just another reason to come to Lisbon, Portugal, at this time of year. It is also less crowdy, the temperatures are lower (but even so, pleasant) and by the end of the month, you will feel a sense of Christmas, with all the lights and Christmas' trees.

Lisbon is on Travel+Leisure list of destinations for November, along with other great destinations

And it also gives some ideas on what one should do in our great city.

Our capital Lisbon is known as the city of seven hills

If you climb each one of them, you will get a wonderful sight of the city and of the Tagus river, along with its southern margin. It mentions Alfama, one of the historic districts, where you can listen to fado music on many restaurants and wonder through the narrow streets. Our marvelous cuisine is never unnoticed, and the online magazine refers to seafood and fish, namely bacalhau (cod fish), which we cook in more than 100 different ways.

Photo by Tom Byrom on Unsplash

November is also a month of several cultural and business events

Vodafone Mexefest brings music to Lisbon's downtown, offering concerts in different locations, such as churches and train stations. Also, Lisbon and Sintra Film Festival brings to town many people related to the movies' industry, such as directors, writers and actors. On a business note, the Web Summit is in Lisbon for the 3rd year in a row, bringing Lisbon many entrepeneurs and techies. Travel+Leisure didn't forget our "São Martinho" celebration, on which we eat roasted chestnusts and drink Jeropiga (a delicious sweet wine). Check out the other destinations for November by Travel+Leisure.