From Andrew Harper:
Portugal is blessed with a diverse landscape and a sun-drenched coastline. The country is split by the Tagus River. The north is chiefly mountainous and indented by steep valleys, whereas the south is a land of rolling plains. Traditional Portuguese architecture is extremely distinctive, especially the highly ornamented Manueline style from the early 16th century. Fish is integral to the country’s cuisine, especially dry cod (bacalhau), grilled sardines and caldeirada, a potato-based fish stew. Wines have been produced in Portugal since the time of the Roman Empire. The country is renowned for its pousadas, a chain of luxury lodgings in historic buildings. It also offers an ever-expanding number of excellent golf courses.- Andrew Harper
WHEN TO VISIT:
Portugal has an agreeable climate, with mild winters, and summers that are dry and warm but seldom oppressively hot. The Mediterranean Algarve region is the sunniest, driest and warmest part of the country.
TIME: Five hours ahead of New York (EST).
CURRENCY: Euro (€). Fluctuating rate valued at €1.00 = US$1.23 as of December 2014.
Lisbon, Tel. 21-727-3300.
DIRECT DIAL CODES: To phone hotels and restaurants in Portugal, dial 011 (international access) + 351 (Portugal code) + city code and local numbers in listings.
GENERAL INFORMATION: Visit visitportugal.com before your trip.
Hotels & Travel Partners
Located in the stylish Bairro Alto, this lively restaurant draws a well-heeled crowd for the modern Portuguese dishes of Bosnian-born chef Ljubomir Stanisic. Stanisic creates intriguing tasting menus that change constantly, featuring dishes such as sautéed foie gras in chestnut flour with a Muscatel-pineapple reduction, and pistachio-crusted goat with quinoa.Rua do Teixeira 35 Lisbon US$75 http://www.restaurante100maneiras.com/
An 18th-century townhouse provides a luxurious setting for one of the city’s loveliest restaurants. Attention to detail and the freshest ingredients produce superlative dishes such as grouper in clam broth with sautéed vegetables, and terrine of suckling pig with rösti potatoes, broad beans and tomato stew.Travessa das Amoreiras 1 Lisbon US$85 http://www.casadacomida.pt/
Also owned by Avillez, this popular bistro specializes in hearty Portuguese comfort food, including appealing starters such as black pudding with apple crumble, or chicken livers sautéed with onions and Port marmalade. Several main courses recall Portugal’s colonial past; for example, don’t miss the sautéed scallops with Indian spices.Rua dos Duques de Bragança 7 Lisbon US$65 http://cantinhodoavillez.pt/?lang=en
After a stint at Tavares, one of the oldest restaurants in Lisbon, brilliant young chef José Avillez moved to Belcanto. Located in the heart of the city, his restaurant has a sophisticated but relaxed atmosphere. Avillez creates intricate dishes with mysterious names such as “Mergulho no Mar” (“Sea Diving”), which is a succulent composition of sea bass, seaweed and shellfish; or “Paisagem Alentejana” (“Alentejo Landscape”), which just might make you appreciate pig’s feet, since these are deboned and served with a delicious coriander sauce. Other dishes not to miss include the excellent partridge escabeche and a clever take on açorda de bacalhau, a Portuguese favorite of salt cod.Largo de São Carlos 10 Lisbon US$125 http://www.joseavillez.pt/#/en/belcanto
Run by Vitor Sobral, a Portuguese food celebrity, this relaxed, friendly, good-value restaurant with large windows is perfect for a casual but delicious meal of Portuguese comfort food. Starters are made for sharing, and among those not to miss are the grilled baby clams and cod fritters, while excellent main courses include tuna with sweet potatoes. There is a wonderful selection of Portuguese cheeses.Rua Domingos Sequeira 41C Lisbon US$50 http://www.tascadaesquina.com/en/
Diners here enjoy some of Lisbon’s finest game and seafood in a masculine atmosphere engendered by paneled walls, stained glass and dark leather chairs. Superb partridge and duck are served with rice in the local style, while the signature seafood dish is sea bass cooked in a tomato sauce with ham, onions and white wine.Rua das Portas de Santo Antão 25 Lisbon US$95 http://www.gambrinuslisboa.com/