Portugal: Cervejaria Ramiro
When Anthony Bourdain went to Lisbon, he dined at Cervejaria Ramiro. So of course we did too. We almost had to since it was only a few minutes walk from where we were staying. We did ask our AirBnb hostess, Maria, beforehand whether Ramiro lived up to the hype. She told us that foot traffic at Ramiro definitely increased substantially after the Bourdain episode aired, but that the seafood was still worth the wait.
That sealed the deal:
We went rather early (our second week in Europe and we still couldn't shake our American early dinner habit), so the wait was actually...nonexistent:
Cervejaria Ramiro is really high tech. Paper menus? Bo-ring. Ramiro has their menus on tablets. Yes. Tablets. Complete with pictures. And in English if you so wish.
While that's super helpful, the best way to order, in my opinion, is still to look at what other people are eating. We spotted an entire table enjoying one of these babies:
We didn't know what it was at first glance, but it looked cool and refreshing and we wanted one. It turned out to be lemon sorbet with a splash of vodka. How much vodka you get depends on how nice your server is. Our server was super nice. A little too nice.
It's apparently common practice for restaurants in Lisbon to place bread and cheese on the table at the start of the meal without asking you if you want any. Whereas in the States where this would be interpreted as a sign of free food, in Lisbon, it's kind of a trap. If you eat it, you pay for it.
Even though we were aware that the seemingly complimentary bread was not, in fact, complimentary, we couldn't stop scarfing down these butter soaked slices of toasted bread:
It's just that we'd gone so long without butter and bread that we were suffering from withdrawal. In France, all the bread came with mustard. In Spain, we didn't really get bread. The bread at Ramiro was the first bread we'd gotten in Europe that came with butter. And a lot of butter at that. How could anyone turn away from all that buttery goodness?
I'm embarrassed to say that the bread was the most memorable thing I had that night. We loved it so much we were willing to pay for a second helping.
Not to say that the seafood wasn't good. Not by a long shot.
The garlic shrimp is pretty popular:
Definitely good, but I liked the clams more:
We wanted to try something we'd never had before, so we ordered the goose barnacles:
When our server found us staring at the barnacles helplessly, he took pity on us and showed us how to get the meat out. All it takes is a little twist:
Quite an experience. And quite fun to eat.
We were so giddy from the buttery, buttery bread (and maybe from the vodka too) that we threw up our hands and said, screw it! Let's splurge a little.
We made our server's night by ordering not just one, but three jumbo tiger prawns:
They were huge! So of course we had to take the obligatory picture where we each pick up a prawn and hold it up to our heads. You know what I'm talking about. No? Fine. Be that way.
Anyway, it wasn't until we got the bill that we discovered each jumbo tiger prawn cost about 15 €. EACH. 15 € EACH.
It was worth it. Ramiro is worth it. Thank you, Anthony Bourdain.
We went back to Cervejaria Ramiro again two days later just for the lemon sorbet. (I had mine without the vodka.) We couldn't order it to go, but the servers were really nice about it, so we took our time moaning over each spoonful. Ahhh...heaven on a hot Portuguese day. The only thing that could have made it better is a plate of buttered bread. Too bad we decided to behave ourselves and spare our thighs.
Avenida Almirante Reis 1
1150-007, Lisbon, Portugal
+351 21 885 10 24