Restaurant Casa do Alentejo
Restaurant Casa do Alentejo (Lisbon)
The Casa do Alentejo restaurant is located in the center of Lisbon, Baixa district (lower town) on the famous Rua das Portas de Santo Antão restaurant street near Rossio Square and Saint Domingos Church. Inconspicuous from the outside, this building is one of Lisbon’s masterpieces, offering regional cuisine and a diverse interior design. This variety of styles, maintained and executed with excellent taste, reflects the centuries-old history of the country and is a great place to learn its traditions and cuisine.
History of the palace
The building was constructed at the end of the 17th century as a palace for the Viscount of Alverca (Lisbon municipality). The palace interior was designed and developed over the span of several centuries. In the early 20th century, Lisbon’s first casino was located in the palace. At the time, the rooms were renovated and partially rebuilt by architect António Rodrigues da Silva Júnior.
In 1932, it was the venue for the Alentejo club, an organization which united descendants from the old region to the west from Lisbon upstream the Tejo river. The club became a famous meeting point and cultural center representing Alentejo in the capital, an «Alentejo colony» as it was called in Lisbon. In 1939, the club was given its current name of Casa do Alentejo which means «the home of Alentejo.» In 1981, the building was bought from the Alverca Viscount’s family and became the Alentejo Association property.
Today, Casa do Alentejo is not only a regional cuisine restaurant but a cultural center as well. Part of the building is home to the organization’s office, which hosts book presentations, poetry nights, temporary craft and photo exhibitions and themed gastronomy weeks. The organization aims to support the unique regional diversity of Alentejo and endeavors to improve quality of life in the region.
Starting from the facade, nothing seems to speak of the elegance and luxury hiding behind its discreet exterior until guests reach the Moresque patio. The reason is that Portugal is a Catholic country with a special atmosphere; the local culture does not approve of «vanity fairs» and flaunting wealth, which is traditionally considered unacceptable.
Architectural styles in the restaurant interior include neo-Gothic, Moresque, Renaissance, Rococo, Modern (Art Nouveau) as well as Baroque elements. The stairs to the second floor with the main dining areas impress with their amazing ensemble of painted tiles, a national treasure of Alentejo and Portugal in general.
The main dining area, the Hall of Mirrors (Salão dos Espelhos) inspired by Louis XVI, features a decorative stucco texture and is decorated with a plafond by Benvindo Ceia painted by hand. Salão dos Espelhos can seat up to 400 guests. The second hall is designed in the Renaissance style and decorated with work by Domingos Costa.
But if you have a small group or are travelling alone, we recommend dining in one of the two small halls, each decorated with a ceramic mural. Even considering the beauty of the main halls, these rooms truly deserve the title of the gems of Casa do Alentejo. Here, you can fully taste the local flavor and enjoy the stunning food and wines offered on the menu.
We recommend trying the regional cheeses and a salad with cod and chickpeas for appetizers. As for soups, you might consider the regional vegetable or Açorda. The restaurant offers a varied fish and seafood menu with a regional interpretation of the traditional Bacalhau cod. There are a lot of dishes featuring fish from the Tejo river, the main water artery of Lisbon and Alentejo, such as grilled salmon with vegetables and potato mash. Of course, there are also many regional meat specialties.
Even if you usually skip dessert, at Casa do Alentejo your preferences might change. To get a better understanding of Alentejo cuisine, we recommend the regional dessert sampler. Egg desserts, as well as white and dark chocolate mousse, are also worth trying.
There is a daily lunch menu that repeats from week to week so regulars can plan their meal beforehand, or the regular menu is also available.
The wine list is consistent with the menu and is focused on Alentejo wines. We would recommend the red Quinta da Pinheira and Esporão Reserva Tinto and white Monte Mayor Branco, which is a great pairing for the fish menu.
In line with its mission of introducing guests to Alentejo traditions, the restaurant offers a separate Tavern space designed as a cafe. Here guests can enjoy an informal atmosphere, delicious regional appetizers, friendly service and folk music nights.
The place has a great variety of cheese and offers stunning mains dishes with daily specials. The wine list is the same as in the restaurant.
A public library was among the first projects Casa do Alentejo pursued. Today, a stunningly designed reading hall features 10,000 shelving units, including books in different languages about the culture of Alentejo and Lisbon.
Lisboa, Rua das Portas de Santo Antão, 58
+351 21 340 5140