Lisbon’s only two Michelin-starred restaurant, Belcanto, is located in the heart of the city’s historic center, and is nothing less than a must-visit stop on any gourmet itinerary. Landing at #85 on this year’s World’s Best Restaurants list, Jose Avillez’s restaurant has been helping put Portugal on the culinary map. Indeed, the country’s celebrity-chef has been featured on CNN’s Culinary Journey’s, No Reservations with Anthony Bourdain, and plenty of other media, as well.
The restaurant is small, cozy, intimate, and very elegant. Although their countries share a border, this is a whole world away from our experience at DiverXO. And that’s okay. Sometimes it’s nice to dine in a more traditional setting. Still, as can be seen in the pictures below, the food is anything less than traditional. It’s fairly experimental taking cues from Avillez’s time at El Bulli (explosive olives anyone?), but strikes a perfect balance between molecular and recognizable. And oh my, it is absolutely delicious.
Belcanto offers three different course menus (from 125 euros to 165 euros), each with its own wine pairing. There is also an A La Carte menu. Whichever you choose, it will be incredible. We chose the Evolution Menu with pairing, and it was a perfect amount of food but quite a bit of wine. We left feeling, well, drunk.
There’s really nothing negative to say about Belcanto in Lisbon. I can’t recommend it enough.
Let’s eat Belcanto!
“Elderini” – green olives with a chocolate and cumin core.
“Elderini” – Martini made with elderflower liquor (served togethr with the olive)
Cod and chickpea “stones” (you eat the black and white ones)
Azorean tuna “bouquet”
Pull the tuna belly temaki from the bouquet and enjoy!
Smoked horse mackerel slivers, cod’s liver, pickled flowers, pearl onions with crispy bread.
The butter!! Rosemary ash butter, sausage butter, and regular butter.
The very elegant bread basket featuring olive bread, corn bread, and other selections.
Bullhão Pato clams ceviche (amazing dish, maybe my favorite)
Algarve’s scarlet shrimp two ways: With xerém (maize porridge) of cod’s swim bladder and Hart’s pennyroal
The head in a crust of beetroot salt.
The crust is removed and you are allowed to eat/suck the entire juicy head.
Coal roasted cozido (Portuguese pot-au-few) cabbage with jowl.
LT yolk with sunroot purée, “farinheira” of roe, eel, and “cabidela” sauce. The egg yolk popped into that red sauce made of chicken’s blood. SO GOOD!
Sea bass with smoked avocado, pitachio oil, lime zest and dashi.
Grilled squid over squid rice, lemon zest, bone marrow, and pancetta emulsion.
Pork shoulder from the Alentejo region with red paprika and bread mash, small fava beans, pig trotters with cilantro.
Traditional cheese variety from Serra de Estrela cured three ways.
Choco- chocolate and cuttlefish ink icecream (“tinta de choco”). Who knew that squid ink ice cream could be so divine!!
Strawberries, apples, roses, and lychees.
An espressotini for me to finish.
The lovely Belcanto staff were kind enough to let us tour the kitchen. Unfortunately, Jose was not there as he was in Mexico enjoying Noma’s popup in Tulum.