Monday, May 19, 2014

Travessa: A Culinary Gem in a 17th-Century Convent

Set in a former 17th-century converted convent in the peaceful Lisbon quarter of Lapa, many consider A Travessa to be one of Lisbon's best restaurants. From the creative Portuguese-Belgian cuisine, elegant surroundings, attentive service and charming ambiance, Travessa's quiet location in the historical neighborhood of Madragoa in the Convent of the Bernardas, makes this restaurant also one of the city's most beautiful dining destinations. There are three dining areas: the main room with it's spectacular vaulted ceiling, centuries old tile flooring and period furniture; a small private dining room and picturesque terrace overlooking A Travessa's cloistered courtyard — the ideal location for lunch on a warm summer day — but the warm amber hued lighting, elegant tables and roaring fireplace in the main dining room is the picture spot for a romantic evening for two. The lunch and dinner menu, which changes every day, features a selection of sensational Portuguese-Belgian entrées preceded by seven or eight delicious prix-fixe appetizers, in addition to a wine list that features many of Portugal's best including an extensive selection of Douro reds. A hidden gem in the leafy Lapa quarter of Lisbon, Travessa is both a culinary and historical treasure well worth discovering on any journey to this exceptional city.

Tucked away through a secret doorway and down a small set of step, is Travessa's small lobby

A beautiful bouquet of roses sit on the vestibule

Tavessa's menu and the elegant interior of Travessa

We decided to start with a glass of Portuguese sparkling wine before deciding on our main course

Fresh baked bread is prepared in house each day

Olive oil for our bread

Grilled peppers

A couscous and mixed pepper soup

Smoked Wild Boar

Sizzling cooked black pork arrives at the table on a wooden board, to be carved to served to each guest

Fluffy scrambled eggs with wild mushrooms

Exquisitely perfect scrambled eggs

A light mixed salad with tomatoes, pecorino and balsamic drizzle

Prawn Dumplings with Mango Sauce

Fresh Lisbon oysters with a 'thimble' of lemon juice

We ordered a gorgeous bottle of Duoro wine to enjoy with our dinner

The sommelier decanting our wine

The sommelier places the decanter on a napkin he has folded in the shape of a chrysanthemum

Roast Lamb with Mint Sauce and Mushroom Risotto 

Filet of Wild Bull with Mushrooms

An array of side dishes arrive as part of Travessa's nightly offerings, like this silky smooth Spinach Purée

Mashed Celeriac

Lovely Little Roast Potatoes

Warm house made crisps!

A light warm Cabbage Salad

We shared a dessert which was inspired by one made by the nuns: warm eggy and similar to a clafouti, it was delicious

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