Lisbon is a city which had been on our list for a long time and earlier this month I was lucky enough to be whisked away by Matt as a final 30th present.
We had heard great things about it, from the cobbled streets, beautiful tiles on the buildings and the eating and drinking.
We decided not to do too much research about restaurants before we left and wanted to just see what we came across or get local recommendations.
We stayed in a stunning Airbnb apartment in the neighbourhood of Graca with beautiful views across the city towards the river.
We had heard about a fantastic seafood restaurant nearby and decided to go there on our first night.
Cervejaria Ramiro is a dream come true for shellfish lovers – that’s basically all it serves, apart from steak sandwiches which are served as dessert…obviously…?!
We arrived early as we knew you couldn’t book and we didn’t want to miss out.
With little ceremony or introduction we were shown to a table, handed an iPad and a basket of warm garlicky, crunchy bread was placed on the table.
The menu didn’t go into much detail; clams in garlic sauce, king prawns, lobster, barnacles. Yes barnacles – we chose them first!
Then we added a whole crab, the clams and the prawns to our order – and two small beers which were topped up without us even asking every time they ran low.
The prawns arrived first – bright pink, fresh, juicy crustaceans. Apart from being cooked, nothing else was done to them and they weren’t served with any sauce or embellishment – because they didn’t need any. They were delicious!
The clams arrived next and they were probably the best I have ever tasted. They were a lot larger than the ones we get here in the UK and so sweet. The sauce was buttery, salty and full of huge pieces of garlic. It was perfect for dipping the crusty bread into which absorbed it in just the way we wanted.
Next came the barnacles – something we had never tasted before and were definitely intrigued by, well, me less so probably!
If I had to describe these to someone from outer space I would say they look a bit like dinosaur or tortoise feet.
We didn’t know where to start with actually eating them and I would say the process is a bit like taking a sock foot out of a shoe, removing the foot and then eating the sock.
The flesh was that similar purpley colour to octopus but I can’t say it was as nice. It was also a lot of effort for not so much gain. However, dipping them in the garlic sauce or mayonnaise did improve the experience.
Luckily our crab then arrived with beautiful dressed meat in the shell and huge meaty white claw meat.
Again this came as natural as it was when it was swimming in the sea, with no extra flavouring to detract from its flesh.
It took us ages to get through it all and we ended up with it on our cheeks, in our eyebrows and all down our clothes but it was worth every penny – which incidently, was not that much.
This was a wonderful way to start our long weekend and great sign of things to come – which I will write about in Part 2 of my Lisbon posts.