Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Solar dos Presuntos: Regional Portuguese Cuisine

Located in Lisbon's bustling Restauradores area, Solar dos Presuntos has been a local family-run seafood institution for 40 years, specializing in the great regional cuisine of Minho from northern Portugal. Since 1974, the Cardoso family has served authentic cuisine from Portugal where fish and other seafood reign supreme. Walking past the fully stocked window of Solar dos Presuntos — 'the House of Ham' — piled high with lobsters, clams, and of course the obligatory legs of glistening ham which is made from black bigs, we arrived for our eagerly anticipated lunch reservation. 

The star-studded walls of Solar dos Presuntos

An large aquarium greets guts as they enter the restaurant

The meals starts with plates of green olives, crusty bread with garlic butter, sheep's cheese and salami and the pièce de résistance, pale thin slices of Presunto pata negra, the cured mountain ham from which the restaurant takes its name. A popular favourite among Lisboetas, Presuntos's mouthwatering menu features traditional northern Portuguese dishes and seafood specialities, such as their signature Arroz de Marisco, a delicious lobster, prawns and rice dish and their sinful Seafood Paella for two, which we saw one man sit down and devour all by himself. The main floor of the restaurant is festooned with photographs and caricatures of famous artists, actors and celebrities who are dining devotées of Presuntos, as we became after a tremendous 2-hour lunch. Maybe we'll get our photo on the wall next time.

Slices of Presunto pata negra, the cured mountain ham from which the restaurant takes its name, plus house made Paio cured pork sausage and local cheese

Lovely plump local olives

Queijo de Azeitao cheese is a gastronomic delight - the top of the cheese round is cut off and using a small blunt spoon, the runny gooey middle is scooped out with a spoon

Obviously Queijo de Azeitao is pretty hard to resist

The menu at Solar dos Presuntos has earned the restaurant accolades around Lisbon

Wanting to drink only Portuguese wines while we're in Lisbon, we selected a Gaudio Alvarinho white wine from the Alentejo region

Set on ice, the wine was delicious on its own as well as with our meal

The Solar de Presuntos logo is on everything from the wine glasses to the server's shirts

Octopus á Lagareiro - grilled - with roasted potatoes “a murro” and sautéed vegetables

The Roast Goat à Monção is served at the table

Roast Goat à Monção with roast potatoes and baked rice

A small floral token from our server after our lovely lunch - I love Lisbon!

After our lunch we went up the Lavra Funicular which runs from beside Solar dos Presuntos up to the top of the hill at Travessa do Forno do Torel

Inaugurated in 1884, the Lavra funicular was the first transportation of this typed to defy the gravity laws and to provide one of Lisbon's most steep areas, linking the Largo da Anunciada and the Travessa do Forno do Torel. It runs from the eastern side of the Avenida da Liberdade, near Restauradores Square, at a 25% gradient for 180 metres. At a cost of just a few Euros, they're one of Lisbon's most popular attractions, and also one of our favourite modes of transportation.

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