The restaurant and its proprietor both are charming. I especially enjoyed trying to decipher the odd word spoken in the local Portuguese dialect by the four gentlemen of a certain age at the next table.
I also appreciated the Adega de Monção vinho verde tinto (young red wine) which the proprietor brought in response to my request to try a red wine of the local region; and I was pleasantly surprised to be charged only five euros for the bottle. It was served to me not in a wine glass, but in a small ceramic bowl, of the size in which one might serve custard. At first, I thought the proprietor might be having a joke at the expense of this foreigner speaking poor and limited Portuguese. However, a few minutes later the said gentlemen of a certain age were served a similar wine in bowls of the same style.
I ordered the dish described on the menu simply as "lamb from the oven". Its exact cut or mode of preparation didn't concern me when I ordered. What arrived was a very large portion of miscellaneous bits and pieces of lamb (along with the fried potatoes and green vegetable I'd asked for). The largest proportion of the bits and pieces by volume were roasted lamb neck bones. After trimming the inedible (such as the bone) from the meat, I'd only reduced the volume of the large portion of miscellaneous bits and pieces by about 50%. This did not seem like especially good value for a twelve euro plate of food.
The lamb meat was tasty; however, the entire plate was terribly over salted. Yes, I know that the Portuguese like a lot of salt with their food. However the salt content of this plate of food was over the top.
Still, there was a second protein in over abundance: tiny fruit flies. They plummeted themselves into the wine bowl like miniature kamakazis. The only thing to do was to ignore them and enjoy the taste of the wine.
There were not a lot of diners. The gentlemen of a certain age all were eating a meal of bacalhau, which looked quite nice, and they seemed to be enjoying it. Should I return to Restaurante Cabral it will be for the atmosphere. But perhaps I just had the misfortune to order the one wrong dish on the menu.
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