Prado was the most awaited opening in Lisbon’s gastronomy scene for a while. Since opening, in the end of 2017, it has been a case of success, where from the most gastronomic conservative to the most cosmopolite traveler, everyone surrendered to António Galapito’s cuisine.

I remember meeting Galapito between the kitchen and the grill at Mercado (see), where he commanded the helm of the casual and Portuguese space of Nuno Mendes. A place where Portuguese flavors and ingredients gained other forms and techniques and about which I remember writing it was a restaurant, that for several motives, we missed in Portugal!

Well, destiny had written a return to his home for Galapito, full of ideas and dreams, very proper for a 27-year-old cook, with a conviction and a traced path few would dare to take.

Installed in the lower floor of Lisboans (a refined and nicely recovered local accommodation), Prado has brought to Lisbon a simpler cosmopolitan view, with care for nature, sustainability and the origin of things, in a time when many other places just go for luxury and spectacle. Using London as an analogy, let’s say that most of the openings wanted some Mayfair, and Galapito brought a bit of Shoreditch and East London into Lisbon.

This space transmits the idea of “farm to table” and a certain post-industrial ambiance, very common in Nordic countries. Large, nicely lit, with a very Lisbon(ish) vibe, the result is a well accomplished cozy space.

From the kitchen we expect dishes revolving around Portuguese products, worked with rigor and restraint, allied to a very unique line and creativity. A meal where you don’t expect a menu and a set circuit of starter-main-dessert, the idea is to taste more dishes, share, and enjoy the flavors of familiar products worked with boldness and creativity.

Bread from Gleba
Fresh goat butter, smoked salt and sea lettuce
Whipped pork fat, garlic and bay leaf
And we started very well, with an excellent wheat bread from gleba bakery, with a basis on one of the oldest and tastier kinds of wheat (“trigo barbela”) produced in Trás-os-Montes (almost extinct nowadays due to this new generation of bakers and cooks). A rich and tasty bread, with a sinful crust making us want to dip it in the butter like hungry animals. A great start that we kept repeating during our meal – can anyone resist a nice warm bread?

Arouquesa meat tartar and grilled kale 
Full of flavor meat, nicely seasoned and without too many elements, with shitake mushrooms and a cured yolk to intensify the richness and umami, served in a kale taco, grilling the kale dehydrates it and gives it more flavor; over grilled it would be amiss, but like this it was a nice moment of flavor and texture.

Squid, leek, and ink
The name indicates what appears in front of us, the Azores sea in wonderfully prepared squid strips, a broth intensified by the squid ink, and the crunch of the leek. Flavor and restraint, in a great dish that showcases the cuisine at Prado.

Smoked bacon toastFlorina apple, and pennyroyal 
Good bread, with equally good stuffing, is always a moment of pleasure; even more when the bread is from Gleba again, covered by thin layers of a rich and very well worked bacon, Florina apple (another almost gone product), bringing it some texture and sweetness, and the pennyroyal with its minty notes refreshing the combo and elevating the fatty notes of the toast. Could all the sandwiches in the country be like this…

Arouquesa sparerib, fermented lettuce and toasted butter
Similarly to the meat in the tartar, this sparerib was also full of flavor, perfectly cooked and elevated by the rich aromas and flavor of the fermented lettuce, the onion and the burnt butter sauce, and of course, perfect to dip the bread in the end. Delicious!

Mushroom ice cream, barley, dulse and caramel
First, the name leaves us slightly apprehensive, but remembering a wonderful mushroom ice cream I had in Turkey, the final choice had to be this. And gladly it was, it looks and has the texture of a sundae, it was perfect, with the right amount of sweetness, and a certain salinity elevating the dish. Also great the remaining elements, with the caramel and the barley bringing the sauce and the sweetness wrapping the dish, the dulse seaweed brings fresher notes. There’s no other sundae in the city that could compare…

Besides his talent and ideas, young Galapito also knows to surround himself with great talents, and I’m not necessarily talking about the kitchen, the products he uses come from passionate and talented producers, the bread of Diogo Amorim (Gleba), and of course, the cocktails of the wild fox, aka Constança Cordeiro (recently opened a new bar in the city, Toca da Raposa). Creative cocktails, where Portuguese flavors and ingredients become the basis of the mixology. A good example was the excellent “Prado Collins” we tasted, with vodka and a very well accomplished mix of lemongrass and tangerine.

The wine list also follows the path of minimal intervention and natural wines, with several national and international options, to please both the most conservative wine connoisseur and the most hipster guest. In our case, we tasted a good Rufia Branco from 2016, produced by João Tavares de Pina at Quinta da Boavista, Dão.

Final Remarks
A new wave of cooks, producers, and even clients is redefining the new Portuguese cuisine, a cuisine based in fantastic ingredients, roots, and flavors, but also lightness, technique and presentation, the world has been giving these people. That is one of Galapito’s merits, respecting Portuguese ingredients. Besides, another good argument in a scale already full of positives –  the cost/benefit ratio is one of the most interesting in Lisbon, a city getting more expensive by the minute.

A much-needed restaurant in Lisbon, that opens the way to other young talents that see it like an example that you can do it the good way in this tiny corner of Europe. Adding to the many words written and the many comments online, Prado was just elected by Condé Nast Traveller to the list of best new restaurants in the world in 2018.

And with all the merit!!

Average price: 35€/pax without wines 
Travessa das Pedras Negras, 2 – Lisbon
+351 210 534 649

Versão Portuguesa

Photos: Flavors & Senses

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