Solar dos Amigos: a rustic Portuguese restaurant

Hearty food, a roaring fire and the rustic decor of Solar dos Amigos ensure this rural restaurant, in the village of Guisado, near Caldas da Rainha, is a popular place to dine. In fact, on Sundays, families mill about outside patiently waiting for tables.

So why on earth did I drive out of my way, to seek out this restaurant? The reason was simple, Solar dos Amigos came highly recommended by Portuguese friends, as one of those not-so-secret tips that “you really have to try”.

If you’re in Portugal and visiting history-rich towns such as Batalha, Obidos and Caldas da Rainha, driving to this restaurant rewards a detour.

Dining near Caldas da Rainha

Frankly, my first reaction to the restaurant was cool. The decor of the busy front room struck me as being a little twee, as if somebody had created a life-sized farmhouse-style doll’s house with colourfully painted terracotta tiles as one of the features. But from there I was beckoned into a back room reminiscent of an English country pub, the brasses and farming implements hinting at the local farming heritage, the dark wooden tables suggesting age. An English pub might smell of slopped beer but here chouriço sausages cooking on a griddle hung over a broad open fire, emitted a delicious aroma into the packed room; truly mouth-watering.

The aromas of Portuguese cuisine

Enamoured by the attractive, welcoming setting and nibbling on olives and light yellow broa bread (made from ground corn), it was impossible to resist the temptation of the chouriço’s wafting scent. Noting that I’d enjoyed the meat of the warm chouriço, the waitress suggested a Ribatejo plate for mains, as it would allow me to taste a selection of meaty regional delicacies. A huge mixed grill duly arrived, impressing just as much for the quality and tenderness of the cuts as for its size.

The Solar dos Amigos (Rua Principal 49, Guisado, tel. +351 262 877 135, solardosamigos.com) is the kind of restaurant you can visit if you want to enjoy good, honest food, slurp a decent but inexpensive house wine and enjoy genuine Portuguese hospitality. It’s well worth seeking out.

Further information

For travel and tourism related information about Portugal visit the visitportugal.com website.

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