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“Pretentious chaos!”

Populi Caffe & Restaurant
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Ranked #220 of 4,456 Restaurants in Lisbon
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $1 - $35
Cuisines: Portuguese, Fusion
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Restaurant details
Dining options: Breakfast, Late Night, Delivery, Reservations
Neighborhood: Baixa, Rossio & Restauradores
Reviewed December 31, 2012

I have just returned from Lisbon. A city of extremes in terms of culinary experience.
This Caffe is certainly memorable...for all the wrong reasons!
Lunch is a meal I relish...
Beautiful setting, of that there is no doubt. We were expectant!
However, the service was atrocious, chaotic and without any semblance of continuity in terms of who was serving whom, and with what! I don´t remember ever having to wait so long for a simple order for a glass of beer!
The food was grim, cold, and a trifle too tardy in arriving. When it did arrive I was not impressed at all with the quality.
However, the evening meal in another restaurant away from the to-be-seen-in "Populi" was a far superior experience...in every single respect.

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2  Thank Anton W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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441 - 445 of 1,131 reviews

Reviewed December 29, 2012

Very cosy and pleasant restaurant in the heart of beautiful Lisbon. Good menu, extensive wine list (although wine could have been served a bit cooler) and very friendly staff. I recommend the mix starter (egg, goat cheese and smoked ham), the risottos, a divine octopus and close the meal with a Creme brûlée. To be repeated... Several times :)

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1  Thank Gustavo B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 29, 2012

I was surprised by the quality of the gastronomy - simply amazing octopus! The starters and the desserts were also outstanding in an unique stop. With restaurants like this, I believe that Praça do Comércio can become the next hot spot in Lisbon!

1  Thank Rui G
This review is the subjective opinion of an individual traveler and not of TripAdvisor LLC nor of its partners.
Reviewed December 1, 2012

After a long walk down to the river, we were searching for a place to have lunch. It was a gorgeous sunny day in November and there were several restaurants that included outdoor cafes. Each had their menu posted. We checked out two and then meandered across the Plaza Commerciale to two more. One was filled, the other empty. We weren’t thrilled with the first menu so then checked out the menu at the empty restaurant. Though the menu was tattered, not a good sign, the food looked very interesting. The maitre d’ approached us and began to enlighten us about what they had to offer. I asked him why everyone was at the restaurant next door and no one was at his. He said it’s because that’s the first one people come to. Good enough answer. We decided to stay at Populi. An excellent decision. Apparently the chef, Luis Rodrigues is well known in Lisbon. He spent time at El Bulli in Barcelona. Our server was a young woman who spoke excellent English and was very upfront regarding suggestions. She said when I told her I needed something green, don't order the asparagus, order the green beans. For an entree she told us one order would be ample to share. I so appreciate that kind of honesty.
We were brought bread, butter and olives which we hadn’t ordered but that’s just what they do. The breads were assorted and some of the best I’ve ever had. The butter was flavored and the olives delish. All of that for 1.90 eu. We then shared two starters: codfish & coriander pastries with tomato chutney and a tempura of green beans The pastries were excellent and innovative, the beans nothing special, good but not great. The entree that we shared for 17€ was codfish confit with mashed chickpeas and bok choy. This was beautiful to look at and beautiful to eat.
Wish I could go back here again.

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1  Thank bryantaveMinneapolis
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 3, 2012

We really liked this restaurant – so much so we ate there twice in our four day stay. The problem with many of the restaurants in the tourist areas of Lisbon is that the food is okay, but portions lean to the immense – which is off-putting and tends to destroy our appetite. Beware too, it’s easy to be scammed by the ‘free’ canapés which arrive without notice. And aren't free.

Populi is different. The food is interesting and has a degree of panache you won’t find easily elsewhere in Lisbon. I recommend the octopus – not something I usually go for because it tends to be battered and fried (yeuch). In Populi they slow cook it so it melts in the mouth and has a wonderful rich flavour.

The wine list is superb – we splashed out on both visits and didn't regret it. But the real charm of this restaurant lies with its knowledgeable and interesting staff who want you to enjoy your evening without being obtrusive.

And if you don’t want to eat a meal there, try a beer with their excellent bread and olives. Heaven.

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1  Thank Birthdaytreat
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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