Cantinho do Avillez
From the chef who gave Lisbon its first two-Michelin-starred restaurant, Belcanto, not to mention a handful other chic and creative restaurants based in the romantic Chiado neighbourhood, Cantinho do Avillez is José Avillez’ unpretentious, effortlessly elegant dining room dedicated to Portuguese cuisine. Or rather: Portuguese cuisine by way of a quick jaunt around the globe.
Here, diners might start their meal with deep fried green beans served with tartar sauce and move on to one of the traditional, juicy pregos (steak sandwiches); a very Portuguese meal. Or opt for the Peruvian-inspired beetroot ceviche before tucking into the “Barrosã”hamburger which comes with foie gras, caramelized onions and a crispy mound of homemade french fries. And many will make the journey here for the small partridge pies alone. The dishes, wherever they take their inspiration, are bewitching in their simplicity; favouring low-key sophistication over high concept. And for the price, with this chef at the helm, it’s no wonder than Cantinho do Avillez continues to attract the city’s artists, politicians and the like.
The space itself may have something to do with it as well. The playful assortment of furnishings in light, understated colours lends the quirky dining room an almost-improvised vibe, which, in turns helps foster the relaxed and cheerful atmosphere that Avillez hoped to evoke. It works.