Café de São bento cafe de sao-bento

Café de São Bento

Lisbon’s best steak, served with a sauce to suit.

It has been almost a decade now since Time Out branded the steaks at this place Lisbon’s best. The thick-cut, tender meat and the way it is served in a tasty cream sauce – perfect for dipping the chips that come with it – are all factors. The place has kept up its standards for more than 30 years, and now there is this offshoot at the Mercado da Ribeira, where you can choose from a range of types of meat. If in doubt, go for the lombo (sirloin) – it is a safe bet.

Time Out says “Perfection is here, in these few cubic centimetres of sirloin steak, preferably on the rare side, drowned in a divine sauce, with fries that stimulate all the senses.”

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Bife à Café de São Bento

There is no big secret when it comes to the ingredients that help make this Lisbon’s best steak dish, but there are some tricks to its preparation – and in the choice of meat, of course. The steak, weighing an average of 190 grammes, should be of the highest quality, be fairly thick and also with all the fat trimmed off. The first step is to heat a good lump of butter in a frying pan, put the steak in this hot fat and seal it well – more or less time, depending on whether you want to steak well done or rare. It is then removed from the heat and reserved on a plate, and the fat drained off. In a new frying pan, melt another lump of butter, cream (Longa Vida brand, if you want to follow the original recipe to the letter) and stir together over a high flame, to mix well. Add flor de sal (delicate salt crystals) and pepper to taste and keep shaking the pan (instead of using a spoon) to ensure the sauce is well mixed. Then place the steak in the pan, squeezing it between two forks to add to the sauce the juice from the reserved meat – still over a high flame. Remove the steak, giving the sauce another swirl, put the steak back in, then reserve it once more, swirl the sauce again and finally add some pepper, before pouring it over the steak.



Café de São bento