Portuguese food is very famous and well known to those who visit Portugal. It has a significant Mediterranean influence, and most of its food is based on bread, olive oil and wine- however, its characteristics change from region to region. Phoenicians, Celts, Romans and Moors were some of the peoples that passed through our country and left their mark on the national table, join this to the great expeditions that brought spices and varied products from Asia, and you have a rich and tasty cuisine. The result? An extensive list of typical specialties to be tasted!
With such tasty and rich cuisine, the country has, of course, many famous chefs - from traditional to the most innovative. More and more chefs are innovating and reinterpreting national and international flavors in Lisbon and increasing the number of restaurants as well. If you are in Lisbon and looking to meet one of our chefs, whether you are looking for haute cuisine or prefer a more informal atmosphere, we present you with our Top 5 Chefs:
- One of the most famous Portuguese chefs today is Chef José The passion for cooking emerged while he was a child and ended up getting him an internship at the famous El Bulli restaurant in Spain (often considered the best restaurant in the world). After that experience, he returned to Lisbon and was recognized with a Michelin star in the oldest restaurant in the city, Tavares. It was there that he created innovative menus of contemporary Portuguese cuisine. In until 2011, the year he left to open his own restaurants. Today José Avillez has 10 restaurants in the capital and one in Porto, including Belcanto with two Michelin stars and a restaurant in one of the hotels of the renowned hotel chain Mandarim, in Dubai.
- Vítor Sobral, an award-winning chef, values Portuguese cuisine, rejuvenating it with his personal touch and being a great inspiration for the younger chefs, who themselves are now well known. His creativity has been presented in some of the best restaurants in Lisbon, and now you can find them in his own restaurants, under the concept of Esquina. Vítor Sobral has fish restaurants, snack bars, bakeries, all of them offer quality cuisine at affordable prices, in sophisticated yet relaxed spaces.
- He has been called "The Jamie Oliver of Portugal" for being the protagonist of several television programs. Henrique Sá Pessoa developed his talent and creativity in London, Sydney and the United States, before returning to Lisbon in 2002 and creating the menu for the Flores do Bairro restaurant. In 2005, after winning the Chef's Cook of the Year contest, he opened his first restaurant in 2009, Alma (Soul), which he later reopened in a new space, in Chiado, in 2015. He also has a more easy-going restaurant called Cais da Pedra and in Mercado da Ribeira. In 2017 he mixed Spanish and Portuguese cuisine and opened creating the Iberian Tapisco.
- Alexandre Silva was still very young when he accepted the challenge of leading one of the best restaurants in Lisbon, Bocca, which ended in 2012. He became known to the general public through his television appearances, and shortly after he took over as head of one of the most popular restaurants in Lisbon, Bica do Sapato. In 2015 he opened his own haute cuisine restaurant, Loco. If you're looking on a night on the town, you can still get a taste of his specialities in his restaurant at Mercado da Ribeira.
- Last but not least, João Rodrigues is the Chef at Feitoria. After passing by the restaurants of the Sheraton and Ritz hotels, and by Bica do Sapato, he won the Cook Chef of the Year contest in 2007. Eventually, he arrived at Feitoria, where he has maintained a Michelin star over the years. The cuisine he presents has roots in Portuguese traditions, always using local products from small producers, but mixing some oriental influences.