I’ve never been a huge fan of egg tarts. We’ve had the Portuguese pastry in Hong Kong, San Francisco, and Macau, and I’ve always found them to be too much like sweet scrambled eggs. I hoped Lisbon could change my mind about egg tarts, and it did – big time. Manteigaria in Chiado has been cranking out pasteis de nata since…about a year ago. They are doing it right – rich, custardy centers in a super flaky crust, all a tiny bit burnt on top.
You can eat your pastel and have an espresso at a long marble counter, Italian style, while watching new batches of pasteis being made.
There are other famous pastel de nata bakeries in Lisbon, most notably in Belém, but Manteigaria is the one that stole our hearts. We’ll be back.
We made a reservation at Mini Bar Teatro after having an excellent lunch at one of its sister restaurants. Mini Bar offers a la carte small plates, but we opted to put ourselves in the chef’s hands with the “epic menu,” which includes 12 mini courses that are all a surprise. It’s so fun to eat this way but usually really expensive. Fortunately for us, Portugal is really affordable.
The dishes were all delicious, and it was clear the staff had a lot of fun presenting them with some flair and mystery. It was really dark in the restaurant so the following photos are not the best. Here’s the full menu:
1st course: Margarita apples. These apples were themselves a cocktail, having been soaked in (or injected with?) tequila and lime.
Sintra is a small city about an hour outside of Lisbon that is home to an absurd number of castles, monuments, and palaces. We went for a day trip and stopped at three of the attractions. First up, the Moorish castle: