Tuesday, 13 March 2012
Lisbon: recommended restaurants (part two: Maré Viva)
View from the restaurant northwards across the Tagus towards Bélem
Strictly speaking I suppose Porto Brandão isn't part of Lisbon as it is across the Tagus. Whatever we often take the short ferry ride ferry across from Bélem on the northside to Porto Brandão on a Sunday to have lunch at Maré Viva, just a short step from the little ferry terminal and one of a clutch of four restaurants.
We have tried one or two of the others but Maré Viva is certainly better and is always far more popular than the others. The front of the restaurant faces out across the Tagus giving a view of Bélem and, in particular, the jewel-like Torre de Bélem.
Torre de Bélem
Your own mini-barbecue and fondues are among the specialities of these Porto Brandão restaurants – fondues in particular at Maré Viva. I have to say that I have never understood the attraction of cooking your own meal when you go out to a restaurant. If I want to cook I'll stay at home – when I go out to restaurants I want someone to cook for me. So at Maré Viva we prefer to concentrate on the shellfish. Our first course is often clams (Ameijoas a Bulhão Pato – clams cooked in oil and white wine with garlic and chili) as well as prawns with garlic.
For main courses we tend to go for Arroz de Marisco (shellfish rice) or Arroz à Castela (Marisco e Tamboril – shellfish and monkfish). The portions are generous so an Arroz for two should comfortably do three people. Winewise we often choose the Muralhas de Monção, Vinho Verde, which is crisp and fresh and works well with the shellfish.
Muralhas de Moncão – simple, fresh Vinho Verde from Alvarinho and Trajadura
Porto Brandão feels like a little rural village on the river but this is largely illusionary as the thin strip of undeveloped land that runs along the south side of the Tagus is surrounded by the suburbs of Greater Lisbon. Apart from the restaurants the village itself is rather run down as these photos show:
Tiled picture above a front door