Lisbon’s A Travessa Restaurant Review – Excellent Choice for Wine and Dine Unwind

The rich woods of the table and ceiling feel warm

 

A Travessa is a top recommendation on where to unwind in Lisbon, and especially if you need some downtime on a hectic tour…

 

A Travessa is in a historic neighborhood where Fado was born and in a building that is a former convent

 

All told, we had a bit longer in Lisbon than the 3-day Stopover that TAP Portugal airline is now promoting for all US visitors to Europe. 

 

Even before we sat down though, it was quite apparent that A Travessa was an excellent choice by TAP Airlines to include in this travel incentive program.

 

You are in a one-time convent in a historic neighborhood where Fado was born, before it migrated to more acceptable Fado houses in other parts of town.   It is said to be the former home of the first theater group to incorporate Fado into its theatrical performances.

 

The many objet d'arts you see throughout the restaurant were found at auctions. They combine to give you a very historic Lisbon feel

 

The A Travessa entrance foyer décor is a little museum of Portuguese antiques that are worth a long linger—and an hors d’oeuvres of sorts for more and more objet’s d’art you see as you walk from one dining room to another-- all found at auctions. 

 

The antique marionettes in the lobby foyer are thee in tribute to the puppet museum on the other side of the building

 

Beautiful antique marionettes on display grabbed our eye, though we only learned later in the meal that they are there in homage to the puppet museum on the other side of the building.

 

If you want to get the feel of Lisbon quickly, A Travessa’s décor feels authentic and very, very Portuguese.   More, the friendly welcoming makes you feel that you’ve come to dine with a Portuguese family. 

 

Our first server, Diego, is actually Brazilian and from Sao Paolo, but has worked at A Travessa for a year

 

We had never been there before, but we quickly felt like regulars.  

 

Cream of smoked pork with olive bread and toasts--one of the starters

 

Escabech- a small salted sardine fish, coupled with carrots with onion and vinegar- -another starter. The freshness of the sardine shouted for notice and the accompanying carrot dish was a welcome sweet counterpoint

 

Couscous with salad vegetables, feta and pinenuts with olive oil-- yet another starter. The minty freshness of this dish was very appealing. It was very light, with the feta adding just a spark. This dish changed from mouthful to mouthful-- sometimes mint, sometimes onion, etc.

 

Scrambled eggs with mushrooms, which added the predominant taste of being earthy. These eggs were much soupier than the scrambled eggs we are used to at home

 

Yet another appetizer- -black pork, grilled with salt, cooked expertly . This was a true appetizer

 

More than a little tired from a hard day of touring, it was easy to appreciate the A Travessa formula of choosing your appetizers for you—and in our case also the wine as we were sampling the “free” wine TAP Stopover customers get when they dine at A Travessa.   Personable servers came up to us with the offerings of the day, letting us re-fuel and also unwind with a glass of wine before we tackled choosing from the menu.  

 

Diego, the sommelier, is from Lisbon and had started with A Travessa as a shuttle driver. Interspersed with explaining the origin and characteristics of the wines we were sampling, we had a fascinating discussion about US electoral politics, where he proved better informed that the lion's share of Americans with whom we've had such discussions

 

It’s quite a winning formula, and used also with all the side dishes for entrees.  Our experience was made all the more enjoyable by the cheerful sommelier and waitstaff who happily talked about what they were serving.

 

Tiago, who served us our egg appetizer, is from Lisbon

 

While we visited there was a large party of British tourists on the other side of the dining room.   The space was such that we were both aware of the festivities but not bothered by it.   Other areas of the restaurant seemed to have more alcoves for intimate gatherings, but we weren’t put out, even in the wide open.

 

Partridge pie, with an extra side of potato chips

 

The sides-- ever so green spinach, well-cooked green beans, potatoes, and turnips

 

Our first entree- John Dory fish- was exquisitely prepared, neither over or under cooked

 

Most importantly, the food was simply excellent.  One warning—two people do not need two entrees.  The appetizer course itself could be a meal for some, and certainly when you add the sides you are talking about a large amount of food even when compared to the supersized American standard.

 

A very light dessert was much appreciated-- raspberry with a cheese mousse, tasting of lemon and sugar

 

Tip:  A Travessa has a shuttle bus service that picks up guests from throughout the city.

 

Highly recommended--- A Travessa is on the short list of restaurants we would like to re-visit when we next get to Lisbon

 

For more information visit the A Travessa website.

 

A Travessa

Tv. do Convento das Bernardas 12

 1200-638 Lisboa

 Portugal

 

 

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