When in Lisbon – Taberna sal Grosso

Taberna sal Grosso is a place that has become one of my favourite “Tascas” – Portuguese local eateries – that serves the best pork cheek with celeriac and apple pure and grilled Azores I have ever eaten.

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Away from the hustle and bustle of central Alfama District and R. dos Remedios you will find this little hidden gem. It’s a small place and despite its simple décor, you feel comfortable, welcome and looked after.

Menu is written on big chalk board and the wine list is simply the choice of red or white.  Is this bad? Not at all! We chose the red and it was a good drop.

The menu changes every now and then and adapts to seasonal products. We chose the smoked pork belly, the catch of the day, orange salad, bone marrow and pork cheek. The catch of the day was a fish from Azores (similar to tuna) that came with boiled potatoes (with skin) and a lemony-coconut and tarragon dressing that rounded it off perfectly.

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The pork cheek was so tender that it was falling apart and was accompanied by a rich jus and purée of celery and apples. Smoked pork belly had only a hint of smokiness to it and could do with some extra roasting as it was rather tough to chew. The bone marrow dish unfortunately did not meet the expectation. It was presented beautifully; steamed colourful vegetables and generous portion of bone marrow, all sitting on a bed of its own shiny sauce, but that was pretty much it. Sauce and vegetables were lacking seasoning as well as the star of this dish. The bone marrow was sadly nothing more than tasteless, spongy gelatin. The rich flavour you would expect was just not there.

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The service was quick, friendly, accommodating, and helpful. I truly appreciated for the chef to come out of his kitchen to have a quick chat with each table about their dining experience. As we were literally stuffed and could not eat anything else we decided to miss on desserts. Instead we were offered generous portion of their digestif which was a homemade Ginja and traditional strong Portuguese spirit.

The prices were reasonable and you get really good food for what you pay.
Despite few flaws this place is definitely one to visit. Would I go back if I am in Lisbon again? Absolutely.. but be sure to book in advance, to avoid disappointment.

MY VERDICT:

Taberna sol Grosso has a soul and the food is cooked with love and passion!  Loved the vibe, loved the experience and some of their dishes are simply unforgettable!

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