There are plenty of cervejerias to choose from in central Lisbon - they vary in quality and price. The one the locals suggest is found at Pinoquio. Located directly behind Restauradores metro station, the restaurant is within easy walking distance from the Baixa and main city squares. Pinóquio Restaurant and Beer House offers a variety of excellent-quality food and appetizers.
The specialties at Pinoquio include steaks with all sorts of sauces and prepared in different styles. They also offer up cooked prawns and a number of seafood dishes that can be served either as appetizers or as a main dish. If you want to enjoy a good crab, this is a good place to do it, with fresh seafood at affordable prices. Passing by Pinoquio, you'll have the impression that this cafe is kind of empty or too commercial, but as soon as you open the door and discover a packed space, you'll understand that Pinoquio is a restaurant for locals and tourists alike. We decided to sit on the terrace since the inside was jammed full of people and we immediately started being approached by the waiters who deposited plates on our tables. That's a habit in Lisbon where they try to make you buy a lot of food, especially when they hear you speaking a foreign language. I suggest you stick to the menu.
- Salads and Vegetables
- House Specialties
The restaurant was not the cleanest or the most sophisticated, but a street food place where you could enjoy local food in a simple way. Sitting on one of the square tables, covered with green table cloth and white protective paper, we received the menu, written in many languages, and started ordering.
Dinner started with a basket of bread that lands on your table along with some olive oil. The bread is exceptional. Round pieces cut in half and covered with melted butter and salt, lightly crunchy and served warm, lovely! It was a first for me, when I learnt about the existence of green wine: Portugal has wine made of green white grapes and has a slight sparkling feel with a strong, lemony touch. Soft and easy to drink, this wine blends perfectly well with fish dishes. An interesting discovery: "Quinta Da Aveleda, Loureiro Alvarinho 2012". Let's enjoy some authentic Portuguese food:
- Ameijoes: Clams: a Portuguese specialty. Served in a metallic bowl, a generous quantity of clams mixed in olive oil sauce with coriander and whole garlic cloves. Soft and tender clams that melt under your teeth like butter are a delight. Afterwards, take a piece of bread and soak it in the sauce to really understand the ingredients constituting the sauce. They were a bit too salty for me, like almost everything here, but tasty.
- Gambas Com Alho: Shrimps served on a metallic plate with olive oil and garlic. The garlic couldn’t really be tasted, but the strength of the olive oil and salt that gave a strong aftertaste. A simple yet tasty dish.
- Arroj Jamboril: Al dente rice, red pepper, mushrooms, mussels, shrimps and lots of butter, Portuguese cuisine is an overdose of butter in my opinion. A lovely plate where fish is mixed with rice and enjoyed without reservation.
- Arroj de Garopa: The same fish served with rice is served differently in a large metallic casserole like the ones used for paella. Served with vegetables and cubes of potatoes in a red sauce, this is a great, succulent dish.
After eating at Pinoquio, I could say that we tried some real Portuguese food. Thanks to our Lebanese friend living in Portugal who explained, translated and ordered the best dishes for us. We were fulfilled, adding to that, two bottles of wine for only 30 Euros each. If you're visiting the Portuguese capital, Pinoquio is one of those places you should try.