Photo Credit: Time Out Lisboa
Sandra Ferreira, part of the second generation of Groupe Ferreira, decided it was finally time to better her Portuguese. She thought the best way to do it was to move to Lisbon for one month for an internship with Grupo José Avillez, the biggest restaurant group in Portugal. José Avillez’s main focus is to promote Portuguese gastronomy and to contribute to making Portugal a top gastronomic destination. He’s considered one of the great references of gastronomy in Portugal and has stood out because of his enterprising spirit and his drive to keep pushing further.
The group currently has 18 restaurants, 16 in Lisbon and 2 in Porto, ranging from fast-casual to fine dining. In 2019, they will open two restaurants in Cascais, Chef Avillez’s hometown by the ocean, and one in Dubai.
You must try at least one of his restaurants while visiting Portugal! Here is the list to help you choose…
Belcanto opened its doors in 2012 in the Chiado neighbourhood and received that same year its first Michelin star. Two years later, the restaurant was awarded a second Michelin star making José Avillez the first Portuguese chef to receive this honour. If you enjoy long gastronomic experience, this restaurant is for you.
Bairro do Avillez
Bairro do Avillez is located in Chiado, at Rua Nova da Trindade, in Lisbon. This concept is spacious and surprising, with three different eating areas inspired by the best Portuguese flavours, this is the most atypical of Lisbon’s neighbourhoods.
Taberna is the first concept when you enter Bairro do Avillez. They offer a “petisco” formula which let you taste small typical Portuguese dishes. It is the perfect restaurant before going out, since it has a festive ambiance! A must-go-to for lunch, dinner or a snack in the afternoon!
It is the most spectacular Páteo “courtyard” in Lisbon, where seafood and fish are king. The design of this space will charm you! Open for lunch and dinner 7 days a week, Sandra recommends it for lunch since the space has beautiful natural light… however there is more of a busy vibe at night.
Beco – Cabaret Gourmet
This is an exclusive place where fine dining meets a burlesque show, in an immersive and memorable experience. Located behind a hidden passageway, this place only opens its doors at sundown and you need a ticket to be allowed in. It is an experience to die for!!! Tasting menu only.
While Café Lisboa evokes the charm of traditional cafés, simultaneously, it transports us to modern-day Lisbon. Café Lisboa has two different spaces: a room inside the São Carlos National Theatre which captures the charm of this extraordinary late 18thcentury building and a magnificent, inviting terrace in the summer. It reminds Sandra of their restaurant Taverne F in Montreal since it is also located near Maison Symphonique.
This peruvian restaurant is in partnership with chef Diego Muñoz. The restaurant recreates the easygoing, bohemian atmosphere of the typical cantinas of Lima while using the quality fish and seafood of the coast of Portugal.
Cantinho do Avillez
This is the first restaurant of Chef José Avillez which opened in 2011. Since the opening, the restaurant has doubled it space. You will find a contemporary Portuguese cuisine influenced by travels abroad.
Cantina Zé Avillez
Here you can experience the best Portuguese homemade cooking in a warm, inviting place. A contemporary canteen, friendly and bright, in Campo das Cebolas, Lisbon.
Mini Bar Theatre is José Avillez’s first gourmet bar. This place, located in São Luiz Theatre, has sure brightened up Chiado’s evenings and nights offering a new entertainment concept.
Pizzaria Lisboa provides fine Mediterranean flavours in a very relaxed, family atmosphere. Sandra says the figueira pizza is out of this world!
Za’atar is a new Lebanese restaurant in Lisbon, signed by Lebanese chef Joe Barza. Sandra, Carlos and Claudia Ferreira absolutely loved the food! Maybe not the best place to go if you only have a few days in Portugal since it is not portuguese food but if you feel like switching it up, it is a must go!
This cute little fast-casual restaurant specializes in Pitas / Middle-Eastern flavours in a upbeat atmosphere. Sandra recommends it for a quick lunch or to-go snack in the afternoon.
Gourmet Experience El Corte Inglés Lisbõa
El Corte Inglés is a shopping mall in Lisbon in which the Avillez group opened three concepts:
Tasca Chic serves genuine flavours of the traditional tascas (taverns) in a chic and cosmopolitan ambiance.
Jacaré means alligator in Portuguese… an animal that eats both meat and fruits and vegetables. The concept focuses on the finest quality meat and surprising vegetarian dishes!
Barra Cascabel is the place to taste and share the best Mexican flavours in Lisbon, accompanied by original cocktails!
In this intimate, clandestine and luxurious setting, Mini Bar offers an unforgettable gastronomic experience, just like in Lisbon’s Mini Bar.
Cantinho do Avillez
Just like in Lisbon’s Cantinho, the cuisine is inspired by traditional Portuguese gastronomy, but also influenced by the chef’s travels abroad.