Few tourists would come to Portugal in search of a Japanese food, but Lisbon restaurant Aya exemplifies the high quality of international cuisine to be found in the Portuguese capital. Initially a small Japanese restaurant in Lapa, this second opening at the Twin Towers shopping arcade has proved far more popular with locals.
In contrast to the offerings of the numerous fashion-fad sushi bars springing up around the city, the menu at Aya is a mixture of traditional sushi, sashimi and tempura. About as authentic as it gets this side of the equator. Watching the immaculately attired chefs prepare dishes with mathematical precision is an experience in itself.
On the down-side, the language barrier is practically insurmountable. The unfortunate task of translating a Portuguese menu of Japanese dishes into English is more than taxing and should only be attempted by those with a grasp of either language or a lucky streak.
Despite being part of a shopping and cinema complex, Aya is more than just a food-hall fodder stop, but an out-of-town location means it is best reached by taxi. Not a conventional choice, but a godsend when the sight of more bacalau promises to send you sideways.