São Bento / 20 €
pork cheeks, pica-pau, fried codfish cakes
Bank card, Cash
Do you know what “petiscos” are? If you don’t, you should and “Cantinho Lusitano” is the place to find out. If you do, give these a try anyway and you won’t regret it.
“Petiscos” are the Portuguese equivalent of tapas - small portions of certain remarkable dishes - and here, in a small street in São Bento, you can find some of the best ones the Portuguese capital has to offer, especially when you consider the price/quality relationship.
“Cantinho Lusitano” may not be very well known amongst the locals (their loss!) but it has plenty of credibility on Trip Advisor, making it extremely popular with tourists. Since the restaurant is not very big and foreigners are in the habit of booking early, you should do the same if you want to ensure a spot.
Owned by a couple that complete each other perfectly - he shows off in the kitchen while she keeps the dining room alive - this is a cozy space where one feels compelled to share a conversation, affection, emotions and, most importantly, the food. There are plenty of choices with flavors that navigate between the traditional (Portuguese) and its reinvention, with the occasional crossing into other cultures.
Recommending just one dish is nearly impossible but I’m going to (reluctantly) narrow it down to 4 for you: veal pica-pau with fried sweet potatoes; goat’s cheese gratin with honey and rosemary; pork cheeks; cod-fish cakes with bean rice. For those with a sweet tooth, there’s also a fantastic chocolate cake with ice cream to finish off your meal. A classic in the making.