Price/person: €40 (with drinks)
Rating: 5 (out of 5)
Hello, hi, howdy!?! It’s been well over two years since my last post (Flat Iron). As it’s been such a long time, please excuse me if my writing seems a tad clumsy.
As you might have seen, another author has joined London Zef, Cherry Cupcake (who also happens to be the love of my life 😀). Apologies to her for not giving a proper introduction, but she was in such a hurry to publish her first post, I just didn’t have any time to. However, a big thank you to her for taking the photos in this post.
Two firsts in this post. One: this is my first restaurant review outside of the UK (let alone London); two: I have given a five out of five (shock, horror!).
What I can definitively say, is that Ramiro’s is one of my favourite restaurants, so far. Amazingly, considering that I’d always thought that I was more of a land carnivore, it’s surprising that my current top favs are both seafood jobbies (the other being Mabrouk in Alghero, Sardinia – which I might belatedly write about as I’ve just managed to find some photos I took there). The only regret that I had with Ramiro was that I only managed to go once, and that I physically couldn’t eat/try any more on that occasion! Gutted!
The Portuguese don’t really mess about with their seafood. As such, for the most part, a lot of what I ate at Ramiro’s was either boiled or grilled with salt. That’s the best thing about it, totally unfussy. This style of cooking merely showcases the freshness and stupendous deliciousness of the seafood. The simplicity of the cooking is contrasted with the sheer messiness of the eating. A word of warning, don’t wear white.
While the astute may notice that Ramiro’s is technically a beer house (according to its name and the spiel on its website), it certainly isn’t a gastropub. It is, as it appears, one of the most famous restaurants in Lisbon. Featuring as a favourite spot for the likes of Nuno Mendez (el Bulli – one time best restaurant in the world; currently at the Chiltern Firehouse in London), and having honourable mentions from others such as Anthony Bourdain (one-time executive chef at Brasserie Les Halles in New York; television personality) and Rick Stein (owner of numerous restaurants in Cornwall, England; television personality). If you want to have look at what they have to say about Ramiro, the links are as follows: Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations, Rick Stein’s Long Weekends: Lisbon and Nuno Mendes’s interview. I’m sure there are other chefs that have been there, but those are the ones that come to mind at the moment.
So as to not leave any ambiguity as to what you’re ordering, the menu comes on an iPad with pictures and a brief description. This is welcomed, considering there were things that I’d never seen before. Most items are sold by the kilo. As such, I would recommend starting small and ordering more if need be. There is so much variety, it would take a complete glutton (such as myself) to get through it.The queue was long. It was only seven o’clock when we arrived for dinner, but it was already snaking its way around the street corner. From passing it during the day, the queues appear to be a permanent fixture outside Ramiro.
At least, there is a beer dispenser at the front of the restaurant. Annoyingly, the dispenser takes tokens, but obtainable from inside the restaurant. So you will either need to plan well ahead and get there early, or like me, unceremoniously barge through the crowd to get to the bar.
Suffice to say, there wasn’t a single thing that I tried on the menu that I wouldn’t absolutely recommend.
Goose Barnacles (Percebes)
Goose barnacles may look like the scabby fingers off an alien, but taste like salty-sweet little bits of lobster claw. Possibly my most anticipated try for the evening. Don’t let the look of these things scare you; they were TOTES AMAZEBALLS!
Murex sea snails
Giant Red Prawns
I don’t know how I can explain how amazing these giant red prawns were. The flesh in the tail was succulent and tender, with a lovely sea sweetness. However, the real treat comes from the red brain juice. If that sort of thing doesn’t appeal, I implore you to try at least once.
Clams in garlic
Just about the most messed around with dish I had, these clams were cooked in olive oil, white wine, garlic and sprinkled with coriander. I needed another basket of bread just to sop up the liquor in the pan.
Grilled with plenty of salt, these little beauties were…not enough! I wanted more, but I was already starting to get full…bugger! Why can’t I have a bigger stomach?!?
The messiest part of the meal; but so satisfying to crack open and devour.
Dessert (Prego steak roll)
Just about the best dessert I’ve ever had (I don’t have much of a sweet tooth, by the by); and about the best “prego” roll I had. There are other places to go just for these, but the absolute simplicity of these from Ramiro, in my book had the others beat. Simply cooked with garlic and salt, the “American” mustard really worked well as the only accompaniment.
In a country so fond of its seafood, I couldn’t resist going to the seaside and looking for a similar restaurant. 30 minutes away from Lisbon, in Cais-cais, Mar do Inferno was recommended. The food is similar (if anything, just more expensive), but it felt like you were paying more for the view overlooking the Atlantic. I mention this as I won’t be doing a full write-up on it, but is definitely worth a mention.
If you’ve read down to here, well done. I’m not sure I would have. This is by far my longest post, but as I’ve been out of the game for so long, I thought I might stretch my proverbial legs.
Thank you for reading, I hope you liked the photographs.