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See what it’s like to dine at Belcanto, the best restaurant in Lisbon.
Belcanto is the epitome of luxury dining – easily one of the best meals we’ve eaten in the last few years. Not only has the lauded Lisboa restaurant earned two Michelin stars, but Belcanto also occupies the 42nd spot in the most recent version of the coveted World’s 50 Best Restaurants list.
In other words, Belcanto isn’t just one of the best restaurants in Portugal. With its trifecta of outstanding food, attentive service and exquisite wine, Belcanto fulfills expectations as one of the best dining experiences in the world.
Belcanto’s Chef José Avillez
Celebrity chef José Avillez helms Belcanto as part of his Portugal restaurant empire, but he’s more than a name on the masthead. Avillez was working in the kitchen when we dined at Belcanto, orchestrating a meal to remember.
Dining at Belcanto in Lisbon provides a series of mouth-wowing moments where you’ll wonder how they did that. Even bread service impressed us with seaweed flavored butter that transported us straight to the Atlantic Ocean.
Whether you’re an expert about Portuguese cuisine or are experiencing the food set for the first time, Avillez will surprise and delight you with every course at Belcanto. His approach to fusing modern gastronomy and traditional Portuguese foods is masterful as is his ability to source top quality Portuguese products.
More importantly, his food tastes exceptionally good.
Belcanto Dining Options
Scoring a reservation is the most stressful part about eating at Belcanto. You’ll need to decide between sitting at the intimate Chef’s Table or in the elegant dining room when you make your reservation.
Most diners opt for the full Belcanto experience and order one of two available tasting menus – a six-course classics menu priced at €165 and a nine-course evolutions menu priced at €185, each available with an optional wine pairing. Note, prices are subject to change.
The restaurant offers a la carte choices for those not willing to put themselves in the restaurant’s hands. Eating dishes from the Belcanto menu can be more cost effective if you order judiciously; however, the tasting menus offer the most bang for the proverbial buck.
Our Belcanto Lunch
Eating at Belcanto is an event worthy for a celebrating a special anniversary or birthday. It’s also a must for food travelers who visit Lisbon. Since we live in Lisbon, this Michelin-starred restaurant was at the top of our dining wish list prior to our summertime lunch.
Wanting to taste all of the restaurant’s highlights, we ordered the nine-course Belcanto evolutions menu paired with a selection of fine Portuguese wines. Course after course, this epic experience took us on a culinary journey in which each dish was a revelation in both taste and texture.
Our Belcanto lunch began with a range of amuse-bouches like suckling pig offals ingeniously shaped like cherries and gazpacho with almond foam so delicious that we wanted to lick the glass.
The carabineiro (giant red shrimp), deshelled and served with spherified clams and topped with shrimp head sauce, was a meal highlight. The restaurant exclusively sources its prawns from the Algarve and serves them in season only. As Daryl spontaneously exclaimed, “this is the best shrimp ever.”
The restaurant’s modern take on the peasant pork offal and cabbage stew cozido a la Portuguese was another standout with ingredients like locally sourced pork, cabbage and cubed lardo melting together in a synthesis of meatiness.
Having eaten the all-encompassing cozido at local tascas, it takes a large creative mind to synthesize the dish’s melange of porky elements into a cohesive, condensed ‘prato’. Avillez achieves this feat by taking the essence of cozido and ‘minimalizing’ the dish like a Frank Stella painting with key culinary elements in sharp focus.
And we can’t forget ridiculously fresh seabass flavored with a hint of smokiness and topped with a rich avocado puree. We could go on, but part of the fun of dining at Belcanto is an element of surprise that we don’t want to ruin.
Belcanto Final Thoughts
Belcanto is probably the most expensive restaurant in Lisbon and a culinary splurge that not all can afford. However, food travelers who book ahead and have the resources will not want to miss out on this culinary experience.
Let’s face it – dining in Lisbon is typically cheap. It’s entirely possible for a couple to eat in the city for less than €50 a day. We recommend that you use the money you save while eating at local tascas to pay for an extraordinary meal at Belcanto.
Belcanto is that memorable and special.
Bel Canto is located at Rua Serpa Pinto 10A, 1200-026 Lisboa, Portugal.
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About the Authors
Daryl & Mindi Hirsch
Saveur Magazine’s BEST TRAVEL BLOG award winners Daryl and Mindi Hirsch share their culinary travel experiences and recipes on the 2foodtrippers website and YouTube. The married Food and Travel content creators live in Lisbon, Portugal.