fter a calm and restful train ride back to Lisbon from Sintra (45 mins or so) we made it back to the Rossio train station just off of Rossio square, go figure. we had decided that instead of walking all the way back to our hostel and then essentially coming all the way back for dinner that we would attempt to find our place for dinner first.
We had decided to give the lonely planet book one last chance to find us a place to eat so we went looking for A Licorista. It was highly recommended in the LP book and so we figured it couldn’t be all bad. Lindsay looked on the map and figured out what street intersections it should be near and we headed off down into the Baixa to find it. After turning right down the street and not seeing it we decided we should have went left and sure enough at the end of the smallish street were two small white signs above some doors. One sign was for the place we were looking for and another almost identical sign was for a place next door called Licorista, the licorice place as Lindsay came to call it. The place we were trying to go to was quite full, so we got in line outside to wait for spot.
After a few minutes of waiting in line it became apparent, by watching the activity inside, that the two restaurants were essentially the same place and shared a kitchen. Outside we could also read the menus, which were more or less identical. Seeing that the Licorista was slightly larger and had less people waiting we moved over to that line to find a table.
The waiter, which there seemed to be only one of for the entire 30 person place, was quick on his feet and always moving around waiting tables and talking to guests at the door finding out how many seats they needed. We ended up only having to wait about 10 mins before a super small little table opened up near the back against the wall. This restaurant is obviously popular and as such they have filled it full of little tables much past the level of comfort of most people who go out to dine. We had to squeeze past two separate tables of 2 people each to get into our spot and when we were seated were essentially sitting right beside them. It was more like we had the wall end of a picnic table with 4 other people. This was a tad tricky with camera bag and tripod, but we got ourselves in there.
Moments later all the token appetizer food was brought to the table, bread, olives, something else I can’t remember and I can only wonder how long they had been sitting around not being eaten. Lindsay and I were both starving so we decided to splurge on the bread and eat that. Turns out in the end they didn’t charge for the bread like everywhere else. The dishes being served around us were looking quite good and hearty so we were hopeful for our meals tonight. Lindsay ordered a beef steak with mushrooms and I, knowing that Portugal is famous for their Cod, ordered a cod fillet for a much to large chunk of money, 12+ Euros I think. Along with food I decided to get some of the house wine since it only cost 2.50 E for a half litre.
The house wine was surprisingly good and put me in a much better mood to say the least as I was the only person drinking it. The food came and Lindsay’s was more edible compared to past places so she enjoyed that. My cod surprised me a bit. I was expecting there to be some sort of healthy vegetable with the cod, but only had a few potatoes instead. Instead it was a giant piece of fish that took up the whole plate and was at least 3 inches thick, (the picture does not do it justice) drenched in olive oil and salt with a few little potatoes, and strands of cut up onion. Once you got over the amount of olive oil used on it the taste was actually quite good. I slowly ate the whole thing while drinking the wine and in the end was quite full. On the downside once again no other food groups were taken in except for a whole lot of fish. Lindsay’s steak was once again flattened, this is proving to be a strange way of serving ‘steak’. It came with some not very tasty canned mushrooms on top of it and a side of rice and to really class it up some French fries (sarcasm intended). Her meal wasn’t very good, mine would prove to be what can be considered “the best” offerings of Portuguese dining.
Once we finished our meal, we paid the waiter who managed to drop on by quickly in between shooting around to all the little tables in the place. We felt kind of bad for the guy, he must be exhausted after the night is over. Overall it was our first good dining experience in Portugal, which Lindsay says I may have chalked up to the amount of wine I had, but I’ll take it.
We walked back to the hostel all fed and tired and pretty much crashed into bed somewhere around 10 pm. Tomorrow we are heading out to a suburb of Lisbon called Belem to see the Monastery and Tower.
— Faas-Track Travel