Lunch was at a little neighborhood restaurant – Solar dos Nunes, listed in the Michelin guide, which serves traditional Portuguese food. We had asked Kiko to take us to an authentic place and his choice was spot on. Specializing in cuisine from the Alentejo region of Portugal, the place was homey with wooden tables and chairs, white tablecloths and more importantly, lots of locals having long boozy lunches.
While we were perusing the menu, our drink order was taken and several traditional cold appetizers were laid on the table with a basket of home-made bread. There was a chunk of queijo da serra (fresh white goat’s cheese) a small round cheese with the top rind cut-off to reveal the creamy interior, some flavoured olives, some ham from porco preto (black pig) the Portuguese equivalent of the Spanish Iberian pigs. Served last were two warm appetizers – a small bowl of warm sausage-looking things and the bolinhos de bacalhau (cod croquettes). Three items stood out – the melting queijinho de azeitao (sheep’s-milk cheese) was ripe and perfect to spread on chunks of bread, the crunchy outside yet creamy inside cod croquettes and the farinheirinhas de serpa (crunchy sausages) were delicious and something completely new. These distinct sausages are traditionally made from pork, wine, garlic, orange juice, and flour which explains why they are sweet, salty and crispy at the same time.
We slowly made our way through the selection of little appetizers while waiting for the main courses to arrive. I let Kiko decide and he had ordered some fish for me – battered cherne (sea bass) served with a soupy shrimp rice while A had the traditional bacalhau (cod) “Tia Narcisa style” topped with onions and potatoes. Kiko had the cherne com molho de camarao (sea bass) in a creamy shrimp-flavoured sauce and Maria chose the Tornedo a Principe de Galles (a tournedos or beef fillet) served in a creamy sauce and surprisingly, a fried egg on the side. The portions are large and were hard to finish as we had already stuffed ourselves with the many different appetizers beforehand but we managed pretty well.
Strong espressos to end the meal
As we couldn’t leave without having a bit of dessert to complete our Portuguese meal, we opted for a selection to share and were served six different desserts – 5 cakes and 1 portion of rice pudding which we somehow managed to finish anyway. Espressos were needed after all that food to end our lunch. Kiko and Maria then dropped us back in Belem where we had left our car and we said our goodbyes from there before setting off back into town to walk off our lunch in the center of Lisbon.
Solar dos Nunes
Rua dos Lusiadas, 68-72, Lisboa
Tel: +35 21 364 73 59
Open for lunch and dinner, Closed on Sundays, Valet parking available