I was in Lisbon in November staying just a few doors down from BA Wine Bar on Rua da Rosa. I had walked by here several times since I would always walk down Rua da Rosa to get to the Chiado area. I finally decided to wander into this tiny amazing place. I had no idea I was in for a quintessential treat of Portuguese vinho.
I walked in on a Tuesday night. It was not as busy as the other nights I had passed by. However, there are only about 8-10 tables at the most (maybe not even that many) and once it's full it is tough to get in. But there was plenty of space for me on that Tuesday night.
One gentleman came over quickly to greet me. He was so knowledgeable about the wine selections and the wine list is extensive so this was quite impressive to me. After that, another young woman approached my table to see how I was doing with my selections. I told her about the wines I was thinking about and she offered additional recommendations based on some characteristics I told her I like in my wines.
What she did next was to bring 2 wines for me to taste - 1 that I was thinking of ordering and 1 other that she was suggesting. I thought this was going to be a one time thing, but we went through 4 rounds of tastings for each glass selection! I was thoroughly delighted by this. This was truly the royal treatment to be able to sample so many different glasses. That is what is so special about the place - everything on the extensive list is available by the glass unlike most places you go to that have a beautiful selection, but perhaps 20 wines (or less) that are offered by the glass. It is a unique concept.
The food is also extraordinary. It is more of a tapas selection, or petiscos, as they enjoy in Portugal (similar concept to tapas). I had some of the pickled fish since Portugal is famous for their seafood selections - it was so incredibly tasty! I also tried the most amazing charcuterie and cheese plate. The charcuterie is the best I have ever tasted... better than anything I ever tried in Spain or France. They have a special kind that comes from the black pig. The black pig eats only acorns and depending on which part of the pig you are eating, you can taste a bit of a nutty flavor. There was one in particular that I would be happy enjoying for my last supper... it was a little fatty, but flavorful, and the meat just melted on my tastebuds. My goodness, I cannot wait to return to Lisbon simply to try the charcuterie once again.
The young woman who was helping me also offered an extensive explanation about all of the wine regions in Portugal. I had no idea that the entire country is practically a wine region! This is some of the best service I have ever received because they took the time to get to know your tastes, what your palate enjoys, and to educate you about every flavor that you are taking in.
I tried returning on my last night, but the restaurant was full for the entire evening. I was hanging out at the bar next door and the owner came in to say hello to her neighbors. When she saw me there she apologized so much for not having a table available. I felt so welcomed by these people and that was so kind of her to apologize. She did not have to do that. But that's what is amazing about these people... it is just an extension and further example of the amazing service they have.
When you go to Lisbon, go to BA Wine Bar. The food and wine combinations are a truly unforgettable experience. I am missing this place tremendously and cannot wait to return!
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