Being older helped us out with the timing of everything we did on this trip. While the rest of the Portuguese world has lunch around 1pm or later, we were usually hungry by noon. The same went for dinner. We usually wanted to eat around 6pm and were the only ones in the dining room at that time. Restaurants got busy after 7pm, which suited us just fine.
We re-visited the Pasteis de Belem at about 11am in the morning and, guess what? There was no line! The place is also much bigger than it looks from the outside and seats around 400. We ordered coffee and two pasteis de nata, as they are known. This is the Café du Monde of Lisbon. Little custard tarts served in a parchment like pastry shell. Not as good as beignets, but still, quite tasty.
After our “breakfast” of custard tarts and coffee, we decided to check out the Coach Museum. Now, Joe thought, really? A coach museum, how interesting could it be? Boy, was he surprised! As was I. These were historic coaches built for royalty and they were impressive and amazing to say the least. Having been a carriage driver in Denver for many years, I could really appreciate these mobile works of art. They made our carriages look mighty pedestrian, I’ll say! Well, look!
After being wowed by the antique coaches for royalty we found O Prado for lunch. This little gem of a restaurant is on Rua da Junqueira, 474, 1300-341, Lisboa, and if you are ever in Lisboa (Lisbon, to us foreigners!) you need to dine there. We sat at the bar and were entertained by the Johnny and Christina show! These two run the place and they are awesome, as is the food. I had a salmon steak that was crazy good, super fresh and cooked to perfection, that is not overdone, and Joe had a pork dish which melted in the mouth. We shared a bottle of the house red wine which was a red Vinho Verde. Why, oh why do we not get this wine over here?! Now, don’t get me wrong, I am not against the white Vinho Verdes, but the red is so perfect with everything! Beautiful dark red color, a hint of effervescence, light bodied with dark fruit flavors and nice and dry on the finish. Yumilicious, it was. It reminded me of the dry Lambrusco from Emilia-Romagna in Italy. I Wish I could have brought some home. One of the many reasons we’ll just have to move there! Seriously, I have travelled a lot, but never have I visited a country where all the food and drink is so consistently good if not great.
Given the great fun, food and drink, we became instant friends with Christina and Johnny and said we’d be back before we left Lisbon.