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The Santa Marta Seafood Restaurant in Lisbon

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The Santa Marta Seafood Restaurant in Lisbon

After we went into a trendy looking place to eat for our first night in Lisbon, where we were treated to plain disgusting steaks with blueberry sauce and some spongy bread mix, we asked the hotel staff for help and they sent us to the Santa Marta seafood restaurant where we had one of the best dining experiences ever. I haven’t taken down the address but it is just around the corner from the Britania Hotel, and when you call there they will be happy to give you directions.

The place was very simple, one quite large open room, brightly lit, chequered table cloth and with a big screen TV showing the football match of the day, however there are also big tanks of live crabs and lobster and other fresh fish on display in glass fridges so you get quite excited about the freshness of what you will be sampling soon. The cutlery and crockery was as simple as the rest of the place and the seafood rice was served in a battered old aluminium pot – spotlessly clean though, but obviously well used – however, the service we got was one of the best we probably had anywhere with the waiter guiding us well through the choices, recommending wines, letting us taste some with the offer to change it if we don’t like it etc. As mentioned the rice was served in the pot and ladled out for you and also with the fish they wheel it in on a trolley and take the bones out at your table or whatever else they have to do depending on the type of seafood you are having.

As for the food we first went for the clams, a passion of mine which were just lightly tossed with garlic and coriander of all things (we got that coriander again in other sauces), then had the traditional mixed seafood rice and the one thing I am not sure if I’d have it again was the giant king prawns, meaning they are almost small lobsters which were interesting as a novelty, but we learned that they come actually frozen from Angola and are not really fresh. But all in all I was completely excited about that place and would wish to have something like that near me in Ireland

Heiloo, The...
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1. Re: The Santa Marta Seafood Restaurant in Lisbon

Hi, know what you mean about corriander, the portuguese love it and use it with both meat, fish and sea food. In portuguese it is called cuentros, and for the next time, if you don't want to have corriander spoiling something nice, just say to them

" sem cuentros se faz favore" (pronounced as " say quentrush se fash favorruh". If you don't want to break your tongue, just write that phrase down on a piece of paper, stick it your wallet and use it in the restaurants.

Hope this helps.

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2. Re: The Santa Marta Seafood Restaurant in Lisbon

Thanks for the tip. However, I found the way they used it actually very interesting, not overpowering. I am saying that because I'm from Austria where I hardly ever have heard of coriander, apart from using coriander seeds in rye bread, but I lived for over 6 years in the UK, and certainly at the end of the nineties coriander was THE fashion herb of the time with everything having big loads of coriander piled on top of it and some things like carrot and coriander soup being absolute classics.

I quite like coriander, and living in Ireland I grow two varieties in my own garden, but I have never gotten it in a southern European country. I remeber living in Italy and rummaging local markets it was only ever in one place that I found fresh coriander on offer.

But I absolutely loved the way it was used to give the seafood just a slight kick in the Santa Marta.

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3. Re: The Santa Marta Seafood Restaurant in Lisbon

It just occurred to me that the coriander you are referring to is what we here in the U.S.A. call cilantro and coriander as the dried seed of the plant. It is used quite frequently in the cooking of Mexico,Vietnam, Thailand and most of Southeast Asia.

To me it is an acquired taste as when I first tried it I was reminded of soap but after eating it for years now truly enjoy it.

4. Re: The Santa Marta Seafood Restaurant in Lisbon

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