Café de São Bento

Nine years, nine mandatory dishes

In the month that Time Out Market celebrates nine years of existence, we make a list of nine must-try dishes.

1) Polvo à lagareiro in new textures – Chef Marlene Vieira

This is one of chef Marlene Vieira’s most iconic dishes and one of the ingredients (octopus) that she most enjoys working with (see her famous pataniscas – fritters). This “Polvo à lagareiro in new textures” is a reinterpretation of a classic of Portuguese cuisine, in which the octopus is cooked in red wine and served with roast potatoes and baby spinach. The crunchiness comes from the fried potato peel.

2) Bacalhau à brás – Chef Miguel Castro e Silva

You can’t mess with a winning dish. This classic codfish dish could feature in any compendium of Portuguese cuisine and the chef from Porto remains faithful to tradition, preparing it with hand cut fried potatoes, well shredded cod and onions. The egg yolks added just before serving give it a divine creaminess.

3) Hake fillets with cockle rice – Monte Mar

The Monte Mar in the Time Out Market is a smaller version of the original restaurant outside Cascais but has almost everything but the waves. The fish and shellfish from the nearby coast are there, of course, but also the most famous house dish: hake fillets with cockle rice.

4) Pad Thai – Asian Lab

This is one of the most renowned dishes of Thai cuisine, which by a happy coincidence is also one of the favourite culinary traditions of Maurício Vale, the chef who created the whole Asian Lab menu. Viewed by many as one of the best exemplars of Pad Thai in town, this one from Asian Lab also comes in a vegetarian variant with tofu, or ones with chicken or prawns.

5) Nigiri duel – Sea Me

The original Sea Me, in Chiado, is an ode to the ocean. Dive into their restaurant in the Time Out Market and try the famous nigiri duel, which now includes a codfish nigiri à lagareiro and a grilled sardine nigiri. It makes for a surprising and addictive fusion of Portuguese and Japanese cuisine.

6) Suckling pig confit – Chef Henrique Sá Pessoa

This dish is a classic from chef Henrique Sá Pessoa’s first Alma restaurant, so when that space closed, it was with great joy that the Market welcomed this dish on the chef’s menu here, where it remains until this day. The suckling pig is slow cooked for 24 hours and served with sweet potato purée and pak choi.

7) Razor clam rice – Chef Susana Felicidade

There is no other shellfish that is as typical of the Algarve as lingueirão – razor clams. There are many ways to eat this bivalve – à Bulhão Pato (in a coriander and garlic sauce) or grilled on a griddle, among many others – but razor clam rice is one of the star dishes of traditional Algarve cuisine. This creamy version from chef Susana Felicidade is the only dish of its kind in the whole Time Out Market.

8) Clams à Bulhão Pato – Marisqueira Azul

Some say that the best way to serve shellfish is au naturel, with a minimum of seasoning. The exception is surely amêijoas à Bulhão Pato, a recipe created in the 1930s old Estrela de Oiro restaurant in Rua da Prata (in the Baixa) as a tribute to the writer Bulhão Pato. It is a winning recipe to this day. Try it on the terrace of Marisqueira Azul.

9) Fillet steak à Café de São Bento

For the best steak in Lisbon there is no great secret about the ingredients – the best meat, the best cream and the best butter – but there are some tricks in its preparation that are a house secret. Here in the Market, as in the original restaurant in Rua de São Bento, the bife do lombo with fries to dip in the sauce is always the best option.