Roasted chestnuts Lisbon, November 11 St. Martin’s Day traditions & liqueur Jeropiga

The unmistakable smell of roasted chestnuts (castanhas assadas) is announcing autumn’ s arrival in Portugal. Quentes e boas’! ‘(Get’ em hot!). This cry goes out on the Lisbon streets.

chestnuts in Lisbon December 08 quente e boas

‘Hot and good, a dozen for € 2“.

Much to the chagrin of many, the traditional paper cone made out of the Yellow Papers has been replaced by soulless paper packages, which takes something away from the ritual of chestnuts.

Chestnuts in Lisbon white paper bag instead of yellow papers

Baixa area, the commercial heart of Lisbon

St. Martin’s Day is celebrated on November 11

It’s called Magusto. This day is the peak of three days, often with very good weather, known as Verão de São Martinho (Saint Martin’s summer).

St. Martin’s Day dinner at home with friends, November 2018

The Portuguese celebrate St. Martin’s Day with jeropiga (a traditional delicious sweet liqueur wine) and roasted chestnuts (castanhas assadas).

How to make jeropiga 

Tram Lisbon Feliz Natal and roasted chestnuts

Rossio, Lisbon in December

Traditions

On St. Martin’s Day traditions dictate that family and friends gather around a glowing hearth or bonfire.

How to roast chestnuts in the oven

Roasted chestnuts

Chestnuts are roasted, traditional alcoholic drinks are served, like água-pé (a watered kind of wine), jeropiga, vinho novo (young wine), or the slow smooth burn of aguardente (‘firewater’, alcoholic drinks between 29 and 60 percent).

Chestnuts and Jeropiga

Chestnuts and jeropiga

Because this pagan festival is a celebration of life, there is food and drink and plenty of fun: in some regions people smother themselves with ashes, black themselves up and sing around the fire.

Largo do Chiado chestnuts

Largo do Chiado, Lisbon

More….

Restaurant Casa do Alentejo Lisbon & amazing former 17th C. Moorish Palace

A few minutes walk from Rossio Square,  behind a small door in a popular tourist street in Lisbon, Rua das Portas de Santo Antão, there’s Casa do Alentejo: suddenly you step in an amazing Moorish palace, with an impressive courtyard!

Restaurant Casa do Alentejo Lisbon, a former Moorish palace

Casa do Alentejo’ was created 85 years ago, as a purpose to be a meeting place for people from Portugal’s historical province Alentejo (além Tejo means beyond the Tagus) and to cultivate its unique culture. At that time many people from this region left home in search for a better life in Lisbon.

Restaurant Casa do Alentejo Lisbon, a former Moorish palace

The palace dates from the last quarter of the 17th C., but its current appearance is a result of considerable alterations carried out in 1918.

Nowadays here’s the headquarters of the association of the Alentejo people.

Casa do Alentejo June 2019 Lisbon, Loesje Broere & ballroom

Ballroom & activities

Many activities take place here: on Saturdays the ‘Alentejo afternoons’ (tardes Alentejanas), with choral groups. On Sunday, dancing begins at 3:30 pm in the beautifull ballroom. Mostly elderley people come here to socialize.

Restaurant Casa do Alentejo & Thirza van Deene, September 2019

There’s also a library and a handicraft shop of typical products of Alentejo (downstairs).

Casa do Alentejo Lisbon, a former Moorish palace & one of the restaurants

Beautiful tiles (ajulejos) & Portuguese history

The dining rooms are picturesque, with open fireplaces and decorated with beautiful tiles (azulejos). The azulejo is a form of Portuguese painted, tin-glazed, ceramic tilework.

Casa do Alentejo Lisbon, a former Moorish palace & one of the restaurants

Tiles have become a typical aspect of Portuguese culture.

Azulejo (tile) comes from the Arabic word az-zulayj, meaning polished stone. Wherever you go in Portugal, azulejos are to be found inside and outside cafes, churches, palaces, ordinary houses and even ceilings, train- or subway stations.

Restaurant Casa do Alentejo, Rua das Portas de Santo Antão 58.

Lunch: ensopado de borrego (lamb stew): 13 €, arroz de gambas (prawn and rice) 15 €. Small bottle of wine Monte de Vaqueira: 6 €. Average price 3-course meal: 25 euro

Opening hours: 12pm to 3pm and 7pm to 11pm every day. 
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Website Restaurant Casa do Alentejo Lisbon

Former Moorish palace Casa do Alentejo Lisbon

YouTube Postkarte für Pauline

Restaurant Casa do Alentejo, Rua das Portas de Santo Antão 58, Lisbon

Street restaurant Casa do Alentejo, December 2019 . A wonderful exception in this street: no tourist trap!

More….

Popular Rua das Portas de Santo Antão Lisbon & avoid restaurant Torremolinos

Lisbon is probably the best place in Europe to enjoy seafood. There are a couple of very popular ‘tourist restaurant’ streets,  such as Rua das Portas de Santo Antão where you will find a wide selection of options.

Lisbon Rossio near Restauradores

The lively street just behind the National Theater Doña Maria II at Largo de São Domingos, near Rossio Square and Restauradores, is a real mecca for seafood lovers, and a very popular tourist street.

Lisbon restaurants R. das Portas de Santo Antão 2

Rua das Portas de Santo Antão: rather touristy and aggressive waiters

The street name dates from the 15th C. when a gate in the former town wall stood here. There’s also some very interesting buildings to be seen. The restaurants are well positioned for people-watching, prices are not really cheap, but the quality is good. In general, this street is rather touristy and the waiters are sometimes a bit aggressive in their approach to tourists.

Shrimps and lobster window restaurant

One of the restaurant windows, with fresh lobsters and shrimps.

Rua das Portas de Santo Antão , just north of Rossio, is one of the few streets in Lisbon where you’ll be approached by waiters in the street trying to entice you to eat in their restaurant.

Lisbon popular tourist street Rua das Portas de Santo Antão 11

‘Free’ starters

Be prepared: in the more expensive and touristical restaurants in Lisbon you have to pay for starters like bread, cheese and often olives or shrimps (camarão). They are not a part of the meal! You won’t pay for them if you don’t eat them, and often the waiter will take them away (não, obrigado), ‘no thank you’. More ……

If you don’t speak Portuguese, make sure you’ve got your dictionary handy!

restaurant-cervejeria-inhaca-rua-das-portas-de-s-antao.jpg

Restaurante Cervejaria Inhaca

Cervejaria means ‘beerhouse’, where beer is produced (or used to be produced) and where you can eat as well. There are many Cervejaria’s in Lisbon (like the well known restaurant Portugalia).

Restaurante Cervejaria INHACA

Finger licking good, but expensive

Shrimp and lobster dishes for 2 persons, about € 55, except drinks. Restaurant Inhaca, R. das Portas de Santo Antão 8.

Avoid restaurant Torremolinos, a tourist trap, 🙁    read this

( 2020: the name Torremolinos on the facade has recently been removed)

In general: make sure you are aware of what you are being charged for. Most of the restaurants in this area are tourist traps.

A few great restaurants in this street: former palace Casa do Alentejo (a hidden gem!), or restaurant Gambrinus .

Restaurant Solar dos Presuntos, R. Portas de Santo Antão 150, YouTube

A good idea is to walk around and eat in a restaurant where there are no tourists in sight…….

For seafood lovers, go to one of Lisbon’s best seafood restaurants ‘RAMIRO’, also open on Sundays (Intendente).

Calçada do Duque Lisbon: hundreds of stairs & Restaurant Solar du Duque

From Bairro Alto you can walk to Rossio The hundreds of stairs lead you down to Calçada do Duque starting in Rua Nova da Trindade

Calcada do Duque from Rua Nova da Trindada

Rua Nova da Trindade,

Close to area Bairro Alto (litt. ‘high neighborhood’). During the day a very relaxed area with trendy shops. Traditionally been Lisbon’s bohemien haunt of artists and writers, a hotspot for people who love nightlife.

Lisbon, Calçada do Duque in wintertime

A few hundred steps that connect the higher-lying Bairro Alto district to Rossio square.

Calcada do Duque stairs restaurants and view Caselo St George

Calçada do Duque, Lisbon

The stairs are lined with lots of traditional Portuguese restaurants (not the cheapest).

Background: Saint George’s Castle (Castelo de São Jorge), a wonderful view!

Traditional Portuguese meals, local price 🙂 & also typical Portugues: hanging laundry 😉

Restaurant Solar du Duque, Rua do Duque 67, Lisbon.  A simple and pleasant space with a casual atmosphere. Facebook

More…..

September 2019: Toon Mulder en Thirza van Deene

Almost downstairs, Calçada do Carmo . View on Rossio square ( official name: Praça Dom Pedro IV)

Calcada do Duque near Rossio stairs and station

The beautiful Rossio station

Lisbon Rossio Square: history cafe Suíça, shoeshine boys & begging hands

The beautiful and very popular tourist attraction Rossio Square, the popular name of the Pedro IV Square (Praça de D. Pedro IV), has been the setting of popular revolts and celebrations, bullfights and executions.

Rossio Lisbon Shoe shine boy

Rossio square 

Nowadays Rossio square is a preferred meeting place of Lisbon natives and tourists alike and the most congested area for traffic in the city center.

Lisbon Rossio Square

Rossio Square Lisbon

This square has been a meeting place for people of Lisbon for centuries. Some of the cafés and shops of the square date from the 18th century, like the Café Nicola, where Barbosa du Bocage , a Portuguese poet, used to meet friends.

Lisbon cafe Nicola Rossio Square

Famous Café Nicola, Praça Dom Pedro IV 26 (founded in 1929).

It was here that the first Portuguese women dared to break the male stranglehold on cafe-going.  Rossio’s cafes are popular for sitting and watching the world go by.

Lisbon Rossio Pastelaria Suica inside

Pastelaria Suíça, Praça Dom Pedro IV 101

UPDATE September 1, 2018

On August 31, 2018 Pastelaria Suiça – a veritable symbol of Rossio – closed its doors forever. It is said a 5  star hotel will be built here ..

Pastelaria Suíça was a traditional Portuguese cafe/restaurant, famous for its huge variety of delicious cakes and pastries.

Lisbon Pastelaria Suica delicious cakes

Pastelaria Suíça, Praça Dom Pedro IV 101

During World War II this place (Suíça means Switzerland) was the meeting point where those in exile negotiated their tickets to freedom.

Lisbon Patelaria Suica Rossio

Pastelaria Suíça terrace, Praça D. Pedro IV 96/101.

Be aware of pickpockets

Locals appreciate this cafe/restaurant just as much as tourists. The waiters are not always very nice. Being a tourist, be aware of pickpockets: while enjoying a delicious cálice de vinho do Porto (a glass of Port Wine), somebody tried to steel my friend’s bag from under her chair. Happily a friendly waiter warned us just in time! Be aware when you visit touristical attractions and terraces.

Nearby you can taste a Ginjinha, a liqueur made of a cherry-like berry, a typical Lisbon spirit.

Kisbon Praca da Figueria view from terrace Suica

From cafe/restaurant Pastelaria Suica ‘s terrace at the back a view of the square Praça da Figueira (English: Square of the Fig Tree) and the São Jorge Castle.

Lisbon Suica Pastelaria street performance living statue

Street performances (‘living statue’), newspaper vendors, street traders (offering cheap watches or ‘jewellery’), lottery ticket sellers, ‘psssst drugs’ sellers and begging hands……….also some lovely shops, like the unique hatmakers shop Chapelaria Azevedo Rua (opened in 1886)

And, of course, in wintertime, the unmistakeable smell of roasted chestnuts (castanhas assadas)

Lisbon Rossio lottery ticket sellers

Lisbon Rossio lottery ticket seller 

From Rossio train-metro Station Lisbon to Pena National Palace in Sintra/ Queluz Palace

Rossio train- and metro station (Estação do Rossio) is incredibly unique, located between Rossio and Restauradores in Lisbon. Formerly known as Central Station (Estação Central), and that designation still appears in its façade. The beautiful neo-manueline architecture was designed by architect José Luís Monteiro, completed in 1887.

Lisbon Rossio Station at night

Rossio train- and metro station Lisbon

The Neo-Manueline façade dominates the northwest side of the square and is a Romantic recreation of the exuberant Manueline style, typical of early 16th century in Portugal. Its most interesting features are the two intertwined horseshoe portals at the entrance, the watch in a small turret and the abundant sculptural decoration.

Rossio station, Largo do Duque de Cadaval, Lisbon World Cup Football 2010

Near the station you can have a drink at Largo do Duque de Cadaval, which is a really nice square full of open-air cafés.

Lisbon Rossio Station inside Train

Rossio train- and metro station Lisbon

Inside the station, the platform is connected by ramps to the façade level and is covered by a cast-iron structure.  The station is an important example of Romantic (façade) and Cast-iron (platform cover) architecture in Portugal.

Lisbon Station Rossio inside

Rossio train- and metro station Lisbon

Downstairs is Rossio’s metro station (green line). Metropolitano de Lisboa, Lisbon Metro official page (also in English), you’ll find a map with a network diagram and explanation of the metro lines.

Lisbon Rossio Station train to Sintra

Rossio train- and metro station Lisbon

Visit Sintra and Queluz, easy to reach by train from Rossio train- and metro station

The wonderful Rossio train- and metro station is a must see if you visit Lisbon.

If you like to visit Sintra, the famous World Heritage town and the Pena National Palace just outside Lisbon or the National Palace in Queluz, you can take the train here for a cheap price.

From Rossio Station to Sintra station

Sintra Station.

Trains to Sintra (and vice versa) leave every 15 minutes, a 45 minute trip. The access of trains to the Rossio station is made by a tunnel more than 2600 m long. This tunnel was escavated under the city and is considered one of the most important works of engineering of Portugal in the XIX century.

From Rossio Station Lisbon to Sintra station

Sintra Station

Besides: if you prefer to go by car to visit Sintra, the IC19 superhighway takes you directly from the city and it comes to an end at Sintra . Parking is possible, 10 minutes walk from the center of Sintra.

Sintra Palacio da Pena

The Pena National Palace, built by a noble man for his Portuguese wife

Useful information about tickets and buses in Sintra .

A one-day ticket (around 7 Euro) can be bought at Sintra station and will allow you to get on and off at all the main attractions, like f.i. Pena Palace and The Moorish Castle.

Sintra National Pena Palace July 2011. Picture: Maurits Benschop

Lisbon & lotteries: popular lottery shop Rossio Square & jackpot queen Leonor

After buying postcards in Lisbons’ touristical shops or kiosks at Rossio Square, you need stamps (selos) to send them to your friends or family. ‘Very sorry, no stamps’ (‘Desculpa, não selos’).

UPDATE 2016: most shops sell stamps.

Lisbon Rossio square kiosk

Rossio (square Dom Pedro V

This square is a traditional meeting point both for Lisboetas (locals) and visitors.

Lisbon Rossio Portugese man drinking a Ginja

Besides, Rossio near Restauradores:

Portuguese like to drink a ‘Ginjinha’, a liqueur made of berries.

Lisbon Rossio lottery

For stamps friendly Portuguese shopowners will explain you how to walk to a nearby postoffice.

Or they tell you to go to ‘Casa da Sorte’ (a lottery shop), where’s a little postoffice inside, Praça Dom Pedro IV, # 120.

Lisbon Rossio lottery Casa da Sorte

As soon as you’re inside, you forget about the stamps….

Portuguese people love lotteries!

Lisbon shopping stamps Casa da Sorte Rainha Dona Leonora

Queen (rainha) Dona Leonor

In the corner of the lottery shop queen (rainha) Dona Leonor, wife of the 15th century king Dom Manuel I.

She created the ‘Foundação da Misericórdia’ (Foundation for Charity) that is still very active in Portugal today. The original purpose of the Foundation was to build and manage hospitals and homes for the old and needy. Today, the Foundation has spread its wings in obtaining funds and they run all forms of Lotteries in Portugal.

Lisbon lottery

Dom Pedro IV Square, or Rossio (big square), in the evening, one of the most beautiful Squares in Lisbon.

Lisbon Rossio

Historical information Rossio:    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rossio

‘Shoemakers’ street Lisbon: 19th C. Art Nouveau strip club, peep shows & picanha

In the 19th century, Baixa was Lisbon’s commercial heart, with streets named according to their trades. Rua dos Sapateiros means ‘the shoemakers’ street.

Lisbon Rossio Rua dos Sapateiros1 Arco do Bandeiro

The entrance to the Rua dos Sapateiros is spanned by the decorative arch Arco do Bandeiro.

This bears the name of the wealthy sponsor Pires Bandeiro who commissioned it at the end of the 18th C.

Rua dos Sapateiros2 Art Nouveau old Cinema peep shows

Strip Club Rua dos Sapateiros Lisbon

Strip club & Art Nouveau style

Passing through the arched gateway on Rossio you see one of Lisbon’s remaining examples of Art Nouveau: this old movie house, the Animatógrafo , is a strip club nowadays. Lisbon’s earliest cinema hall opened in 1907, by brothers Ernesto and Joaquim Correia Cardoso. It has remained unaltered since then. The beautiful facade is adorned with a highly detailed Art Nouveau style, which consists of Azulejos tiled panels, which depict Edwardian styled females surrounded by fruits and flowers.

Rua dos Sapateiros: cafes, cheap traditional Portuguese restaurants & peep shows2

Rua dos Sapateiros Lisbon

It was not easy to make a picture without snapping visitors going in and out, because this beautiful house is rather popular….. 🙂

Traditional restaurants & picanha meat, ‘melt-in-your mouth’

Rua dos Sapateiros Lisbon: cheap traditional cafes, restaurants & peep shows5 Restaurant Adego Mo

Restaurant Ádega da Mo’, R. dos Sapateiros 199, Lisbon

Restaurant ‘Adega da Mo‘ is  a typical Portuguese restaurant.

Almoçar (lunch): Picanha, (meat from Brazil) is generally considered to be the number one cut, even better than beef fillet. Picanha (pick-ahn-yeh) is much better than a steak, meltin-in-your mouth….: € 7.50

Lisbon Leitaria Camponeza22

Rua dos Sapateiros Lisbon

Another beautiful example of Portuguese Art Nouveau in this street is Leitaria ‘A Camponeza’

Rua dos Sapateiros Lisbon: cheap traditional cafes, restaurants & peep shows street

Rua dos Sapateiros, Lisbon

Lisbons’ unique hat makers shop Azevedo Rua & Portuguese poet Pessoa

Chapelaria Azevedo Rua is a traditional hat shop (opened in 1886) on Rossio, one of Lisbons’ famous squares, creating tailor-made hats (chapéus) on request.

Rossio Lisbon people are fond of hats

Portuguese people are fond of hats!

Rossio square Lisbon  (officially named Praça Dom Pedro IV)

Rossio hat shop Chapelaria Azevedo Rua window dressing

Chapelaria Azevedo Rua Lisbon

Typical Portuguese hats, bridal hats, Panama- and Cylinder hats. In this well-known hatter’s you can find handmade hats for all occasions and top-hats, bowler hats, high-hats and all kinds of regional- and traditional hats.

Hat shop Azevedo Rua, Chapeus1 street shop2

Chapelaria Azevedo Rua

All levels of society buy their hats from here, from labourers to the president, also in the past, like the famous Portuguese poet and writer Fernando Pessoa.

Azevedo Rua, Azeveda Rua Chapeus1 Maria Fonseca Fernando Pessoa hat

Maria Fonseca shows ‘Fernando Pessoa’s (1888 – 1935) favourite hat.

“This type of hat is still very popular nowadays”. Price: 60 euro, tailor-made.

Chapelaria Azevedo Rua Lisbon, beautiful hat boxes

Chapelaria Azevedo Rua

History

Maria Fonseca: ” In December 1886, the grand grand father of my husband, Manuel Azevedo Rua opened this shop in Lisbon. Before that his profession was a wine producer. He lived in Nogueira, district of Vila Real Trás-os-Montes, in the north of Portugal”.

Azevedo Rua, Chapeus Precos Fixos

Hat shop Chapelaria Azevedo Rua Lisbon

No discount (‘precos fixos’) & president Mário Soares

“Due to vintage problems Manuel decided to move to Lisbon. His uncle, a rich priest, supplied him the money to finance the shop, only on this condition: no discount (‘precos fixos’), but with the exception of hats for priests”.

‘Sorry sir, no discount’

“One day, the Portuguese former President Mário Soares (son of an ex-priest) 😉 , came here to buy a hat. But no discount for him: “Desculpa senhor, precos fixos’ (Sorry sir, no discount)”. And: “D. Duarte de Bragança, the Duke of Braganza ordered his hats here”.

Azevedo Rua, Chapeus hat shop Pedro Fonseca

Hat shop Chapelaria Azevedo Rua Lisbon

Pedro Fonseca, owner

Azevedo Rua, Chapeus December 2008 Chrismas shopping Lisbon

Hat shop Chapelaria Azevedo Rua Lisbon

December, Christmas shopping

Chapelaria Azevedo Rua Rossio

Chapelaria Azevedo Rua. Address: 72-73, Praça Dom Pedro IV, Lisbon, 1100-202. Open Mon. – Fri.: 09:00 – 19:00hr. Sat. 09:00 – 13:00hr. Owners: Teresa and Jose Manuel, Maria and Pedro Fonseca.

World Cup football 2010 Lisbon: Portugal vs Brazil, Big Screens & fans in Lisbon’s city center

Football is very important in Portugal. A lot of the Portuguese even watch a match on TV while eating their dinner in a restaurant…. At the moment football lovers and tourists from all over the world  follow the matches in Lisbon’s city center. According to the Portuguese and Ronaldo Portugal should be considered among the favorites to take the title in South Africa……

Football Portugal vs Brasilia screen Rossio

A big screen at Praça da Figueira Square, near Rossio, a very popular tourist attraction, June 25, 2010.
On the background one of the main historical and tourist sites in Lisbon, the Castle of Saint George (São Jorge)

Football Portugal vs Brasilia big screen2

Praça da Figueira

Remarkable: from the 16th to the 19th centuries, Brazil was a colony of Portugal

Football Portugal vs Brasilia Rua Augusta1

Rúa Augusta, Lisbon’s famous boulevard and one of the best-known shopping streets

Football Portugal vs Brasilia beautiful girls

Beautiful Portuguese girls

Football Portugal vs Brasilia Rua Augusta3

Catarina Tomais da Silva and Rui, waiters in Pastelaria Casa Brasilia.Very popular and delicious food! Rua Augusta 267

Football Portugal vs Brasilia cafe near hotel Mundial1

Pastelaria and restaurant “D. João I”, Rua D. Duarte 1-B

Near Praça da Figueira . In the month of June all the streets in the historical center are decorated with garlands and lights (Festas Populares)

Football Portugal vs Brasilia cafe near hotel Mundial 2

Inside the restaurant……

Football Portugal vs Brasilia street near Munidal

…and of course the elephant 😉 sound of the vuvuzelas!

Football world cup Lisbon after the match

After the match…..Portugal vs Brazil: 0-0: both countries happy 😉

Lisbon World Cup 2010 Holland vs Brazil Rossio1

Holland vs Brazil, near the famous Rossio Station.

A big screen at Largo Duque de Cadaval, a beautiful place, full of open sunny open-air cafes and restaurants.

Lisbon World Cup 2010 Holland vs Brazil Rossio2

Holland vs Brazil: 3-1. Dutch and Brazilian football fans are watching the match

Lisbon World Cup 2010 Holland vs Brazil Rossio4