As we rang the door bell, dressed up and jolly nervous, I remember repeating to myself to stay cool and look normal – s t a y c o o l – relax and pretend this is not your first time. Welcome, an elegant and smiling waiter said, and as he took our coats and accompanied us to our pristine table, I couldn’t help but feel like Titanic’s Jack Dawson with his pal Molly Brown at his “first class” dinner, except I was with my buddy-buddy husband and we weren’t going to be bullied but pampered at one of the most exclusive restaurants in Lisbon, Belcanto Restaurant.
Without a doubt, Portugal offers exquisite food and wine. I had heard from friends and acquaintances good reviews on the Portuguese cuisine, but I wasn’t expecting it to be as high quality as that of Italy. Food in Portugal is delicious, inexpensive, and varied. Belcanto Restaurant, though, is at a completely different level and offers extraordinary food. Awarded with 2 Michelin stars, this exclusive restaurant made our palates dance, scream, surrender, die and come back to life rejuvenated.
José Avilla, one of the top Portuguese chefs and the mastermind of Belcanto, took us on a journey through revisited Portuguese food: the Lisbon menu, six dishes that talk about Portugal’s past and future. Here, a picture of all six.
We have had fine dinners at very nice restaurants, but never one like this. A Michelin star restaurant really means dining like you have never dined before, and at least once in a lifetime one must forget about the check and simply eat art.
I choose not to describe in detail the ambience, the simple yet beautiful table setting, the surprisingly superb Portuguese wine we tasted or to talk about not the one but the five waiters that served us, the totally cozy restroom, the bread, butter and starters we loved (one was hidden in a flower bouquet carefully brought to our table) because part of the fun is not knowing what’s going to happen or what to expect…except, not just taste but all five senses will be delighted.
As we thanked our main waiter for the third time, put our coats back on and walked out the door, we realized we had left all words at Belcanto. Yes, we had been deprived of words and speech and were left with nothing but feelings. Good ones, though. Memorable ones.