We had a lovely morning tour of Sintra with Carla Carita of Mywaytours.
I will review this at a later date when I have more time to go into details.
Suffice to say for the moment that Carla turned out to be a lovely Portuguese lady who speaks good English and is a fount of knowledge when it comes to the country she so obviously loves!
On arrival back at our hotel we were tired after all the stairs in the two palaces we had visited so had a lazy afternoon.
Although I had read the posts mentioning "Fat" sardines I had not fully understood this. I have eaten many sardines of several varieties in Oman and had enjoyed them all. However, last night I realised the difference.
We took a taxi to Praca Comercial and sat at the Beer Museum for a pre dinner drink. After a recommendation on TA I had intended for us to try Cafe Marthino da Arcada. However, watching the restaurant from our vantage point at the Beer Museum. I observed two waiters parading outside with menus and trying to entice people into their restaurant. This is the kind of thing you see in Turkey and it rather put us off!
So we walked up the street alongside the restaurant, crossed over to the next street on the right and came to a small local restaurant with a small board outside. Although it was written in Portuguese I understood enough to see they had prawns and sardines on the menu. Items that Jean and I had already decided to eat.
We went inside to meet the owner, Mario and his wife. There were four other people seated at 2 tables and a table of four. This just about half filled the restaurant.
Quickly seated our drinks order was taken and menus presented. Jean and I ordered the house red. This turned out to be nice and light and delicious. It was also a very generous serving coming as it did in small, stemmed beer glasses filled to the brim.It was so good that unusually I had a refill a little later.
Jean ordered the prawns in garlic butter and I ordered the sardines Portuguese.
Whilst we waited we chatted with Mario and the other patrons and nibbled on the bread rolls that are a fixture on any restaurant table.
When the food arrived we were once again surprised by the generous portions.
In a hot earthenware dish Jean had 16 large prawns that were glistening with butter and crystals of sea salt. They tasted very fresh and were nicely cooked so that they retained a little firmness and were not at all soggy.
On my plate were 6 very large sardines and some nice boiled potatoes.
It was now the revelation came! Although they were of a similar size to the larger sardines we get in Oman they were indeed "fatter", both in size and in "oiliness".
The girth was probably a good 50% greater than what I have been used to and once the skin was slipped off, the flesh shone with their natural goodness. They were a true delight.
We finished the meal with coffees and a glass each of a local liqueur.
The bill was a stunningly cheap €35.
For anyone who would like to try this very genuine and not at all touristy restaurant, here are the details.
Restaurant Bar Coffee House.
Rua dos Fanqueiros, 161.
P.S. Mario also runs a taxi service. Which is handy.
We loved the atmosphere and the food so much (to say nothing of the price) that we will probably be there again tonight.
Peter & Jean. :o)