The Minimalist Traveller

What kind of reviews to trust? Fado and tears in Lisbon.

Lisbon, Portugal, Alfama, Fado, foodie, Lisboa, portrait, tiles

I’m a foodie. Before looking into any kind of sightseeing objects I have most of my meals planned. I’m not such of fan of those dedicated apps like Yelp, so I’m used to google and read people’s blogs. That’s how I discovered the best brunch place in Vienna for example.

Lisbon, Portugal, Alfama, Fado, foodie, Lisboa, musician

Anyway, when planning the trip to Lisbon, Scott told that he wants to go and listen to some authentic fado. So, I googled and found a less known place with few glowing reviews, food apparently delicious and fado so authentic that you’ll leave the place in tears. That we did. Not because of fado though.

Lisbon, Portugal, Alfama, Fado, foodie, Lisboa, funicular

The little place, with only 7 tables (according to reviews) and simple unpretentious home cooked food was in Alfama. We arrived early enough and were glad to find an empty table. Tiny, but still. Turned out, it was meant for three people and we had to squeeze ourselves to a slightly bigger table, with another 6 people. As usually we were first served the snacks (bread, olives, cheese and tuna salad), after what we argued with the owner/waitress whether we should order half a liter (our request) or full liter (hers, since they are open until midnight) of red house wine. Since I did stand my ground that I can only drink cheap red wine that much, she finally brought us the half a liter. After tasting it, we patted ourselves on the shoulder for not giving in.

Lisbon, Portugal, Alfama, Fado, foodie, Lisboa, view, skyline

It was time to order the mains. We chose grilled sea bass and a shrimp dish. She told that the shrimp dish is made with bread. I imagined a plate full of grilled shrimps with crunchy bread and good olive oil. Boy, was I wrong.

They turned off the lights, for us to be able to better enjoy fado. I suspect it was so we would not see the food. The sea bass looked like we were used to. My shrimp dish looked like grey oatmeal, garnished with few tiger prawns. I hesitantly took a spoonful and had there been any space in this overcrowded bar, would have most likely spit it out. The bread seemed to be soaked, flavored with some salt and mixed and garnished with shrimps and served. I noticed Scott taking a bite from the fish and after that a long time and some hesitant movements with the fork until he dared another bite. We changed plates, to share the gourmet. After few more of unsuccessful tries to eat our mains, we gave up. By that time we were not sure, whether we were laughing or crying, but the promised tears were falling.

Lisbon, Portugal, Alfama, Fado, foodie, Lisboa, tiles

We asked the lady three times for the bill, which never arrived. Once she noticed that we were ready to walk out, the bill was there in no time. For some unknown reason she asked us how we liked the food (oh, we found it delicious, that’s why we left it all uneaten, so the starving children in Africa could have a share too!) and Scott did put some gloss on it, when answering that it was absolutely awful.

Lisbon, Portugal, Alfama, Fado, foodie, Lisboa, selfie

We walked to the first place that had a table available and ordered food.

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