The quest for a restaurant in downtown Lisbon seems to be reduced to one of two results: posh/gourmet trendy places where you can never get a place unless you make a reservation two months in advance and fast food and American franchises where you eat something other than real food – also crowded.
However, rising from a very hidden corner behind Rossio and pleased to give us a breath of fresh air from these two narrow choices, there’s Restaurante Mondego, where you can walk in on a Friday night and have some genuine Portuguese food cooked by a traditional cook and served to you by a real waiter who’s happy to have you.
At Mondego, there won’t be any trendy dishes or decoration. In fact, you will be immersed in a truly Portuguese experience, filled with flavors, good wine and a wide range of traditional homemade desserts. If you’re lucky, you might even have some Portuguese-speaking country’s food, such as cachupa.
I was very glad – and a bit surprised, I must add – that Mondego survived the pandemic, amongst all these international Instagram-oriented places, but I believe that it was its authenticity that kept (and hopefully will keep) it going.