We have been in Portugal for 2 weeks and this was by far our most memorable meal. We arrived from Porto via metro (5.6 euro roundtrip per person) and strolled through the older part of town. After the HILLS of Porto, it was a pleasure to stroll the flat sidewalks and plazas!
We arrived at Barca (note that the name on the door is Peixaria Barca) and were a little concerned that we were the only patrons at 12:30. However, we shouldn’t have been worried-I think the cool overcast day and it being the Monday after a big party weekend in Porto meant there weren’t many diners. And it meant we got GREAt service and attention.
Amerigo greeted us warmly and we laughed our way through trying to communicate without speaking each other’s languages. After reading reviews here we knew we were having seafood rice and thought we would have the monkfish. But Amerigo suggested the sole as being better that day so that’s what we ordered. We passed on starters as we have been disappointed in Portugal in the past when we can’t finish our entrees due to the large portions. We asked Amerigo to select a half bottle of wine for us and it was delicious. While we waited for our rice we enjoyed part of a delicious basket of bread and some processed cheese (the only flaw in an otherwise great meal). Suddenly Amerigo appeared with a plate of meat for us. OMG, delicious. It is called Salpicao and while often a mix of pork and beef, this was all beef. It is smoked and very wonderful. And it was complimentary! We tried to pay and he wouldn’t let us.
But the main dish was the star! While the sole was cooked perfectly and the rice tasty, it is (as another reviewer noted) the broth that is so incredible. Not fishy (at least in a bad way), salty, hint of saffron I think...anyway, we each had four bowls!Needless to say, no room for dessert.
We really enjoyed our meal and our time at Barca and will definitely go back if we make it back to Northern Portugal...which I hope we do.
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