Sushi in Albania
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What: It ain’t too pretty, but this traditional slow-boiled meat plate bursts with savory porky, beefy flavor. Often included are sausages like chouriço, smoky farinheira (made from wheat flour, pork fat, and seasonings), and morcelo (blood sausage); hunks of beef (and/or pork and/or chicken); pig ears and trotters; and meat-scented cabbage, potatoes, rice, and beans (most of it cooked in the same salted water as the meat). The dish has origins in the Beira region of north-central Portugal, just north of Lisbon, but this is widespread rustic Portuguese cuisine right here, designed in part to use up cheap offcuts of meat. It’s no-nonsense food, presented in a no-nonsense way. Sometimes only unadorned meat will do.
Where: When we visited Restaurante A Merendinha do Arco (Rua dos Sapateiros 230, map), by the Rossio Arch, we immediately noticed this dish on every table. It was a special that day, a prato do dia, and so it was decided: We shall eat cozido too. With its long, crowded communal tables, this locally beloved tasca can be an intimidating spot to find a place to eat come lunch, but no worries: Our family of four managed to squeeze in, and feel welcomed, after a manageable wait.
When: Mon-Fri, 8am-8pm; Sat, 9am-3pm
Order: The generous cozido à Portuguesa (half order for €7.25 is pictured; full €13.90) is a carnivore’s dream, where even the cabbage and beans taste of salty meat. There’s an unbelievable amount of flavor packed onto this generous plate of meat; we particularly loved the sausages and plump red beans (peeking out from under the pig’s ear in this photo). You’ll want to try whatever soup’s on at this place, too.
Alternatively: This is the kind of dish that shows up on daily changing menus, so keep your eyes open for it at any place that feels local. In the up-and-coming Mouraria neighborhood, try O Eurico (218-861-815; Rua São Cristóvão 3, map).
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