The trendy 5* Mercy Hotel on Rua Miseriacordia , Chiado/Bairro Alto has 47 wonderfully comfortable rooms with stylish en-suite bathrooms with black fittings and big mirrors.
The hotel’s black and grey décor theme may not be to everybody’s taste, but the friendly staff were certainly to ours going out of their way to help. Downstairs in the basement is a bar and lounge and on the ground floor the superb Restaurant Umai.
Restaurant Umai, part of but separate from, The Mercy Hotel is under the direction of Chef Patron Paolo Morais who specialises in Asian fusion cooking.
The Japanese lunch he created for us not only looked exquisite, it was simply delicious – a subtle marriage of flavours and textures served with his own modern Portuguese style and flair. Sushi, as the expression goes, to die for! As was our “Trio of Brownies”: chocolate and ginger, green tea and white chocolate, and even miso and walnuts.
We’re not sure how he fits in everything, but Chef Morais also teaches at a local cookery school. www.mercyhotel.com
Aqui há Peixe
A three minute walk from the Mercy Hotel in Rua Trinidade is Aqui há Peixe. Portugal is noted for its wonderful seafood and Aqui ha Peixe too is noted for its fish dishes, but they also have a reputation for cooking a first class steak too.
It is a friendly, welcoming restaurant popular with locals and visitors to the city. Its chef/patron is the jovial Miguel Reino whose career has taken him from Brazil to Portugal working with major international chefs.
The fish is fresh daily and our soup and sea bass were absolutely delicious as indeed were the desserts. Clean plates all round. www.aquihapeixe.pt
A little hard to find as it is tucked away in Rua São Miguel in the historic Alfama district is the friendly,family run Malmequer Bemmequer restaurant (look out for the daisy-like sign) great for tasty local food.
The Old Pharmacy
The Old Pharmacy is a cosy wine bar in Rua Diário de Noticias part of the popular and trendy Bairro Alto district. It offers friendly service along with a good selection of wines and Portuguese ‘petiscos’ (tapas- style small plates). If you are lucky local fado singers might wander in and entertain.
For our feature on the sights and sounds of Lisbon, see our article Lisbon – Cool and Cosmopolitan, or to whet your appetite for Lisbon’s local delicacies, see Lisbon Treats – Custard Tarts and Ginjinha Liqueur.
TAP Portugal has daily flights from Manchester, London Heathrow & Gatwick to Lisbon, prices start at £126 return including all taxes and surcharges. www.flytap.com