The Portuguese city is in constant motion. New openings, from Kabuki to the Epic of Francesco Francavilla,
the Lazio chef with great international experiences
Few European capitals show that they have the dynamism or the ability to reinvent themselves and propose new gastronomic experiences as has been the case in Lisbon for several seasons now. The Portuguese capital, despite having experienced the years of the pandemic with considerable difficulty, and having not yet fully resumed the positive trend as a tourist destination among the most sought after in Europe, which it had undertaken before 2020, still keeps a creative spirit alive and a truly commendable desire to get involved, as demonstrated by the new openings that have followed one another in the course of even just the last few months. Thus, addresses of Italian and Asian cuisine appeared in the city, adding to a substantial list of restaurants capable of diversifying the offer of traditional Lusitanian cuisine, and which in many cases also involved important starred chefs. But let’s go in order.
One of the most anticipated and significant openings was that, very recently, of Kabuki, the Portuguese branch of the well-known Spanish brand present in Madrid (with a star) and in Valencia, which has always fielded a mix of cuisines between the East and the Mediterranean where tartare, nigiri, sushi, maki and temaki are the masters. Today, with the address of Lisbon, curated by the expert cook Andrés Pereda, who has been working for the Kabuki group for fifteen years, we go more towards the Atlantic Ocean, with the local raw material timidly peeping through the folds of a high quality menu where supplies, at least at the beginning, still speak a lot of the Spanish language and relations with Iberian producers. Of course, there are the Carabineiro with sushi rice, but also the Tuna with bread and tomato (Pa amb tomaquet) in Spanish fashion, the Galician loin with chimichurri and the Wagyu. In short, excellent raw material, in an environment with Asian rigor divided into three rooms and on three levels.
The large main room, underground, with the counter to observe the movements of the chefs in direct view, the bar on the first floor to take advantage of an exquisite mixology, bento plates and a more agile gastronomic experience and, finally, the dining room second floor intended for full immersion tasting, which often feature a single selected raw material as protagonist, from tuna to cod, passing through eel or prawns. But as mentioned, Italian cuisine is also gaining momentum in Lisbon, with, for example, the brand new restaurant Allora, housed within the Epic Sana Hotel in Marques de Pombal. The cook, Francesco Francavilla, of Lazio origins but a past spent largely in India as manager of hotel restaurants, has arrived a few weeks ago and has already given an imprint of solid Italian cuisine with full taste, with first classic and recognizable dishes but also some intriguing mixes with local products of excellence.
The room, new, with open and open kitchen, is accompanied by a large bar corner and the entire restaurant exudes Mediterranean style, with a wide and fun offer, ranging from excellent pasta to grilled meat and fish dishes, from Italian ice cream with a wide choice of wines. An idea of comfort cuisine with style that in a short time has already received the support of a large group of local admirers who frequent the restaurant, especially in the evening, also thanks to the lively and somewhat international atmosphere.
Finally, it is worth going to the slightly outlying neighborhood of Campo Pequeno to try the cuisine of Fogo, the second restaurant of the starred Portuguese chef Alexandre Silva. As the name suggests, the core business here is cooking over high heat, in the oven or on the grill, without distinction of meat or fish. The formula is, if we want, rather simple, but of great grip and undoubted taste: fire and animal proteins in an idea of ancestral cuisine, direct, without mysteries and making rigorous use of local organic products, with the pleasure of sharing at the table, in somewhat rustic style. Not to be missed, among others, the Algarve prawns, the razor clams and the excellent homemade bread. Here, too, in a now widespread trend, you go through the cocktail choices of a bar at the entrance to the restaurant or fishing from a beautiful wine list. For a couple of seasons now, Fogo has been one of the indisputably most brilliant gastronomic experiences in Lisbon, if you are not a vegetarian …