Smashing Seafood at Cervejaria Ramiro Restaurant Lisbon, Portugal
This restaurant caught our attention every time we walk passed it on our way back to our hotel, there was always a queue of people waiting for a table. So on our last day in the beautiful city of Lisbon, we decided to take a punt and try it out.
Cervejaria Ramiro Seafood Restaurant is located on the ground level of a charming residential building along the busy Avenue Almirante Reis in the Intendente area. It’s very close to transport by Metro (subway), bus or tram. A shopping district with lots of cafes, restaurants and a mix of hotels. What fascinated us here is finding those small coffee bars that serve Portugal’s famous pastel de nata (Portuguese tart) and lovely coffees. You have an option for on-the-go or join the locals and sit down with your coffee and devour that amazing fresh tart, you can even have a smoke in some places!
We arrived at the restaurant without a prior booking, looks like they don’t accept bookings anyway unless you have a large pre-arranged party. A touch screen machine attached to the wall is where you make your reservation, it also gives you a choice of languages so booking is a breeze. When your number comes up it calls your booking reference, you are then greeted and ushered to your waiting table. We noticed that it was hard to gauge when it would be busy but not to worry, a pleasant outdoor area provides seating while you wait. If you feel like a palette cleanser, a Sagres beer dispenser is at your disposal for 2€. Simply pop in the coin, have your plastic cup at the ready and watch the icy brew flow, what a great idea!
Whilst sipping away on the frosty one, we watched our fellow waiting diners go before us, as the machine made its way through several announcements in various languages. The machines script is fairly standard “Booking number 123” etc, but as numbers are often read and delivered differently in various tongues, the machine takes care of that so any confusion is near zero. Our number was called and we were guided to the middle of the restaurant at the end of a long table. A bit squeezy but looking around the floor it was packed out so happy to get in at all. It does have a second floor but we were unable to check it out. Floor and kitchen staff wore immaculate whites and were mostly men. Lighting is bright but cosy and warm.
Once seated, the waiter handed us a tablet with photos of the menu, before I could ask a question he’d already left. We were confused as to where to begin, I pressed the static photos to zoom or auto-order but nothing happened. Anyway, when he returned we had decided what we wanted to order.
First to arrive was a generous serving of toasted and buttered bread, now I love my bread and was eager to get stuck in, but best not to fill up when we had mains to come. This was accompanied with a robust Portuguese red, it was a heavenly start with two of my favourites before us already.
Then came the jaw dropping crab, Sapateira Stuffed Crab. Served cold, the giant crustacean was chopped to pieces for easy meat scooping except for the legs and claws which were mainly intact. The rich sauce was buttery with a touch of spice. Tip: save some of that bread for dipping into this wonderful sauce. The fun begins when starting to crack the resilient legs. It was a bit Medieval banquet with hammers smashing and bits of crab flying off and spattering our fellow diners, no one seemed to mind with cheers and roars of laughter resonating around the restaurant as someone copped a piece of flying flesh. It was a cracking interactive experience and a great ice breaker to start a conversation with your fellow diners.
Second dish to arrive was one of the most famous seafood delicacies of Portugal. Barnacles, also known as Lucifer’s fingers are pre-historic looking creatures. They were a show stopper! Served warm, it does take a bit of practice to be able to perfectly snap and twist so the shell slips off. After the crab putting up a good fight, these can be tricky and can give a salty squirt near and far if you go too hard with the twist. The barnacles are slightly chewy with a distinctive seawater but not overpowering taste. Harvesting is difficult for this delicacy, they grow between the rocks where the waves break so no wonder they command a price. If there’s a holy grail of seafood then these barnacles are certainly one of them.
We enjoyed the night, the Canadian couple seated next to us shared our meal, literally! With the ice broken we exchanged travel stories and hopeful trips to come. We ended up going for a pleasant night cap together before calling it a not just a day, but a wonderful day.
Cervejaria Ramiro Seafood Restaurant opened in 1956 and has a legendary status among Lisbon’s seafood lovers. There’s always a queue at the door. For the experience, we only ordered two dishes which were both stellar. My only criticism is the way the menu was presented. It was not easy to understand the tablet especially when you’re ordering your food by grams or kilo, however the staff were great and no doubt see this issue often and were able to make sure we ordered the appropriate quantity. Overall we had a marvellous time and will definitely go back again for a longer planned meal.
Cervejaria Ramiro Seafood Restaurant
Avenue Almirante Reis 1, 1150-038 Lisbon, Portugal
+351 21 885 1024
E_deliciou_S paid for this dinner