A hybrid between a Portuguese tasca and a south American bar with its typical wooden interiors, El Pibe is a much welcomed addition to the Latin American cuisine – a rare find in Lisbon. Tucked on a small corner in Travessa de Santa Marta, a few steps away from Avenida da Liberdade, this is not an easy spot to stumble upon.
Whether it’s lunch or dinner I have yet to see this place less than full, so if you want to get a table I suggest you book way ahead, especially at dinner. Although the place is a blend of south American specialities, the heart is most definitely Argentinean. The name “EL Pibe” (A.K.A. Diego Maradona), his pictures on the wall and the long list of empanadas leave no doubt.
The empanadas are their speciality and besides the classics, you’ll find some creative inventions named after (in)famous characters, such as the Pinochet (with ginger and hot chili) or the Che Guevara, which has a national touch with the farinheira (Portuguese smoked sausage), leak and mushrooms.
Travelling up north, towards the Pacific you will have the chance to try Peruvian specialities such as Papas a la Huatia (slightly spicy, oven baked potatoes) and the Ceviche de camaron a fresh dish with shrimp and mango, that goes well with the filling and dense empanadas. The prices are very reasonable and service is informal, but efficient. At lunch they have menus at affordable prices, but the cheerful and bohemian atmosphere suits dinner much better.