One of the most pleasant ways to spend an evening when one is in Lisbon is to head to Cais do Sodré and hop on the ferry across the Tejo to Cacilhas… it’s an easy, 10-minute ride. Once there, head to the restaurants (not the ones right on the water—they’re not so great and rather overpriced). By the time you’ve taken 50 steps, you’ll begin to smell the charcoal grills, but do not be seduced by the first restaurants you pass. Instead, continue up Rua Cândido dos Reis to no. 87, Restaurante Cabrita.
I lived in Lisbon for a few years in the ‘90’s, and this is one of the tiny handful of restaurants among my favorites at that time that is just as good now as it was then. They continue to expertly prepare fresh, quality ingredients. House specialties include arroz de marisco (rice with seafood) and arroz de tamboril (rice with monkfish). And of course, since Cacilhas is essentially a fishing village, it’s impossible to go wrong with grilled fish. But my favorite dish here is massa de peixe.
This dish is virtually unknown outside of Portugal: it’s a stew of fish and macaroni in a fish stock (seasoned with the barest hint of tomato, sage, and, if I’m not mistaken, a pinch of saffron, too), cilantro, and a shrimp or two tossed in for good measure.
Sounds a little weird, but it’s divine. And it's marvelous with a few drops of their house-made piri-piri (hot sauce).
Ask for a chouriço assado (chouriço grilled on charcoal) as an appetizer—it’s superb.
The grilled chocos (cuttlefish) are great, and they serve up the best sardinhas assadas (grilled sardines) you’ll get in a restaurant anywhere. If bacalhau com natas (a gratin of dried codfish, potatoes, onions and cream) is one of the daily specials, grab it--it’s probably the best version of it I’ve ever had. Considering the high quality of their offerings, the prices are eminently reasonable.
Rua Cândido dos Reis, 87
Cacilhas 2800-270 Almada, Portugal
(+351) 21 275 17 80