/ The Lisbon Guide
Lisbon — By Alexandre Kühl Oliveira on February 21, 2010 at 12:53 pm
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Review: Classic Dining at Casa da Comida

I’m not a fan of Classic style atmosphere, still, I have to say Casa da Comida got it just right.  Recently under the guidance of top Portuguese chef, Bertílio Gomes, this elegant classic restaurant has some great contemporary details and outstanding Portuguese food (with a personal touch from the chef).

Arriving at Casa da Comida is half the fun, so try to turn up earlier than your reservation.  This restaurant stands on one of the prettiest and off-the-beaten-track places in Lisbon — at the romantic Jardim das Amoreiras (map), a quiet garden set aside from the city chaos.

Inside the atmosphere is just as romantic and beautiful, with the walls featuring recessed stands showing off displays of china.   The whole restaurant is designed around a beautiful, cosy patio where you can sit during the summer.

Once you get into the restaurant, you will be shown  into one of their marvellous sitting areas, with classic chairs and couches.   Here you can have a drink and choose your meal from the menu.  While I found this an interesting idea, I’d advise you not to arrive starving, since you tend to sit for some 15 minutes before heading to your table.  It was already around 9pm when my company arrived and I do have to say I was starting to miss the starters.

I soon understood that this is a restaurant where you should spend some time.  There is no rushing and you soon find out that it’s just the way of the house.  When the delicious bread, butter and olive oil arrived at the table, it made me forget what I had been waiting for – the  amuse bouche made of beetroot soup, marinated salmon with fresh cheese and Portuguese blood sausage that I had just photographed early in the evening in the kitchen.

Yes, the old traditional Portuguese food has changed at Casa da Comida.  In search of an obvious evolution, the chef has made sharp adaptations of our traditional national dishes, giving the restaurant a fresh approach that makes a wonderful contrast to the setting.

Their fabulous starter Smoked Macquerel with Black Eye-Bean Salad (€9) is just a fine example of that – Macquerel filets smoked on a Cataplana (a sort of covered copper pan), on top of a stone, with aromatic herbs, served with traditional “feijão frade”, black eye-bean salad. Our other starter was another favourite, Crab Puff in a Saffron Broth (€15).

At Casa da Comida they will recommend  fish as much as meat. We went for an excellent soft Baked Octopus with Sweet Potato (€20) that brought a new taste to this traditional dish.  Still, I thing that I prefered the White Sea-Bream Cataplana with Sea Heads, Mussels and Clams (€26). Although somewhat similar to the Macquerel starter, the sea heads gave a strong delicious taste of the  sea that combined wonderfully  with pasta served with clams and mussels.

As for desserts, we chose a “Honey Boiled Pear, It’s Cake and Cinnamon Ice Cream” and a “Santa Clara Convent Nuns Traditional Receipt”.  Alhough the desserts are good, I found them not to be the strongest asset of the restaurant.

The wine menu, on the other hand, matches perfectly with the excellent quality of the food served.  It is available by the bottle and the glass.

Casa da Comida is definitely a top choice in Lisbon.   Being chosen as one of the four best restaurants by the national Gastronomic Competition “Lisboa à Prova” just proves that.  Also, the chef Bertílio Gomes recently won the Chef de l’Avenir award.  The atmosphere is charming, inviting you to linger and and take your time.  The restaurant promises not only delicious, but also an exception overall experience.

Opened: Tuesday to Friday from 1pm to 3pm and from 8pm to 11pm; Monday and Saturday from 8pm to 11pm

Where: Travessa das Amoreiras, Nº 1

How much: 40€ without drinks

Reservations recommended through 21 388 53 76, 21 386 08 89 or geral@casadacomida.pt

www.casadacomida.pt (Portuguese only)

Photo Credits: Alexandre Kühl Oliveira

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