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Sunday, July 18, 2010

Meste Zé

If you head up the coast from Cascais on the Estrada do Guincho, you're in for a spectacularly beautiful drive. And if you stop at Meste Zé, you'll be in for a spectacular meal.

I first learned the name of this place years ago as "Mestre Zé"... it seems to have lost the "r" in the intervening years, making it even more like kiddie-talk for "Master José" (like "nana" for "grandma"). No matter--the food is definitely NOT child's play. Although this place is a little outside the normal purview of this blog--it's essentially an expensive restaurant--it's home to what is perhaps the single greatest dish I know of in Portugal: a truly sensational cataplana de marisco. This is basically a stew cooked in the traditional Portuguese pan called a cataplana, which looks a bit like a flying saucer and is made of copper....the top half lifts off on a hinge after being sealed up so that all the juices and aromas stay in while cooking. It's made with squid, shrimp, lobster, and various other tidbits, all done perfectly (and since they all require different cooking times, this is no small feat), simmered in a sauce of onion, wine, a bit of tomato paste, chouriço (of course!), and some cream, and served over rice. As far as I'm concerned, one of the most spectacular dishes in the whole country, and they are the only restaurant I know of to make it the way they do.

Meste Zé
Estrada do Guincho
2750-642 Cascais, Portugal
(+351) 21 487 02 75



Ana V. said...


Mattski said...

I have eaten the cataplana de marisco here several times, and it is amazing. On my last visit, our server told me the reason for dropping the "r" in "Mestre": there is another "Mestre Ze" (restaurant? fado singer? I forget) somewhere that claimed trademark infringement or whatever, forcing this place to change its name, which it did...barely. :)

Mattski said...

One more thing: the website link following the article no longer works. Meste Ze's (English-language) site is now http://www.mesteze.com/EN/index.html.