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Miguel Castro e Silva
This chef always loved to cook, but did not always dream of being a chef. In fact it took him many years to achive his current fame and stature. Back when he was deciding what to do with his life, he opted to start studying biology. It was soon obvious, though, that this was not his vocation, but luckily he realised this quickly. Next he tried music, then working in the textile industry and then, finally, food.
It was at the ripe age of 31 – in 1991 – that he opened his first restaurant, Quinta do Vales, in the countryside near Maia. That was followed by Bull & Bear in Porto, which quite simply became that city’s most famous restaurant ever. It was there that Castro e Silva spent the longest stretch of his career so far and won fame across Portugal and abroad. His work there ended in 2009, when he decided to leave his native Porto for the capital to try his hand in new ventures and win new customers. He opened De Castro Elias, in the Avenidas Novas area, which kicked off a trend for restaurants specialising in top-quality Portuguese petiscos (small dishes). Soon afterwards he was invited to head up a new upmarket venture in the Chiado neighbourhood, which was starting to buzz at that time. That restaurant was Largo, which offered more sophisticated cuisine and rapidly became a city landmark. In 2013, the chef’s own De Castro project moved across town to one of Lisbon’s prettiest squares, Praça das Flores, and right after that Castro e Silva agreed to be a Time Out Market pioneer. In all the spaces he has been involved in he has continued to prepare the dishes that established his cooking as a benchmark for Portuguese cuisine: from marinated sea bass with fresh herbs, and bacalhau cooked at low temperature with pennyroyal and mint migas (fried breadcrumbs), to cachaço de porco alentejano (tender pork neck) with chickpea and wild mushroom stew.