Dinner at Lisbon’s Cantinho Lusitano

Baked Goat Cheese with Honey and Rosemary

Our first night in Lisbon, my friend Moe and I stumbled upon the little restaurant of Cantinho Lusitano.  They were booked full the night we stopped by, but the waiter who greeted said to email them about reservations for the following night.  So when we returned to our guesthouse, I sent him an email, which he promptly replied to.  We made dinner reservations for 7:00 p.m. the next night.

Cantinho Lusitano is a Portuguese tapas restaurant that got rave reviews and just happens to be a 5-minute walk from Flores Guest House where we were staying.

It Starts to Get Interesting

So the following night, which happened to be a Saturday, we arrived at Cantinho Lusitano at about 10 minutes to 7:00. All the lights were off and the door was closed.  However since it didn’t open until 7:00, we just stood outside and waited. While we waited, a man from the apartment above the restaurant sticks his head out and tells us that the restaurant is closed, that something came up and they won’t be opening.  He also tosses down a business card to some taco restaurant up the street and tells us to go there.

This all seems really odd to my friend and I. So we start talking about it among ourselves.  It seemed strange that they’d just close abruptly like that. But I suppose it’s possible for a family emergency to have come up (it is a very small family owned restaurant).  However, there was no note on the door.  Nothing at all to indicate that there was any change in plans.

The man and his story were peculiar.  However, with the restaurant appearing completely closed at only 10 minutes to 7:00, it was also something that gave us pause.

Friendly Faces

So as we were waiting there and discussing what to do next, another couple came walking up. They were arriving for dinner there too. So I told them what the guy upstairs had said. They were very nice but didn’t seem to readily accept the upstairs man’s story. The woman decides to look inside to see if she can see anyone through the door.

She turns to me and says she sees movement inside the restaurant. Then a light came on and soon the door opened.  They have not closed after all and were, in fact, open for business as usual.  We laughed and joked about how “convenient” it was that the man upstairs had another restaurant’s business card to refer us to.

We were seated next to this nice couple and they told us that they see that type of thing happen often in Italy where they are living.  Apparently, it is a common trick people will use. So they knew better than to just believe what the guy upstairs said. We were so happy they came along!

Dinner at Cantinho Lusitano

As our delicious food begins arriving at our table, we begin enjoying it.  However, both of us wanted to chat more with our new friends.  We had ordered a mixed plate of black smoked pork sausage that we couldn’t finish on our own.

Mixed Plate of Black Pork Smoked Sausages

Mixed Plate of Black Pork Smoked Sausages

We wanted to offer it to our “neighbors” but were worried as being “that table.”  You know the people who don’t know proper boundaries. The ones that take an innocent hello as an invitation to butt in on your every conversation. Yeah, we didn’t want to be that.

Spicy Beef Meat Rolls with Mint and Greek Yogurt Sauce

Spicy Beef Meat Rolls with Mint and Greek Yogurt Sauce

Baked Goat Cheese with Honey and Rosemary

Baked Goat Cheese with Honey and Rosemary

Table Neighbors

Thankfully, our table neighbors felt the same as us and soon we learned more about Bridget & Caleb.  They are Americans living in Italy and traveling around Europe whenever they have a holiday or free weekend.  Bridget is one of those warm and inviting people, that really takes an interest in what you have to say. She was so encouraging and warm.  Both her and Caleb reminded me of my friends and family back home.

A couple we sat next to at Cantinho Lusitano

Our Table Neighbors Caleb & Bridget.

We spent over an hour after Moe and I had finished our meal just chatting and sharing travel stories. We learned more about their life in Italy and the differences in the culture there and in Europe.

One of which was the fact that we had been sitting at our table chatting for over an hour after we had finished our food.  And we were never once asked to leave or made to feel like we should ask for our check.  Our waiter was fantastic and was always present without hovering.

Garlic Shrimp

Garlic Shrimp

We had a wonderful night at Cantinho Lusitano and meeting Bridget and Caleb was really the icing on the cake.  It’s also one of the things I love about traveling–meeting other people. There are so many amazing people in the world and whenever I get to meet some of them it always brightens my day and creates a lasting memory that’s far better than any store-bought souvenir.

To read more about our time in Lisbon check out “Things to Do in Lisbon” and “Day Trip from Lisbon to Sintra, Portugal.”

Useful Info:

Cantinho Lusitano – Update 2020 – Cantinho Lusitano is permanently closed
Rua dos Prazeres, 52
1200-355 Lisboa, Portugal

Please note that they are closed on Sundays & Mondays.  Also, reservations are highly recommended!  The restaurant probably only seats about 20 and they fill up quick!

The Flores Guest House
Address: Tv. Piedade 38B, 1200-405 Lisboa, Portugal

We absolutely loved our stay here! The location, as well as the staff, really make this place a great choice when in Lisbon, Portugal.

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