Lisbon has long been known for its seafood but Doca Peixe offers much more than just the grilled sardines and cod cooked in the Bacalhau à Brás style that many foreigners mistakenly think is all that Portuguese cuisine can offer.
Doca Peixe is just one of the restaurants and bars located by the marina that now occupies the redeveloped Santo Amaro docks. As a place to eat, drink and dance the former dock proves popular with Lisbon’s professionals and tourists enjoying an evening out. Prices are noticeably higher along the dockside than in many other districts of the Portuguese capital, but, as a destination, it is smart and, considering this is a waterside attraction in a European capital, very affordable.
Warehouses at Lisbon’s Docas
The former dockside warehouses have been redeveloped into attractive places to dine and Doca Peixe is a fine example of how industrial space can be converted into a cosy interior. The lighting is intimate enough for you to enjoy it if you’re visiting as a couple but still bright enough for groups to go for a meal out together.
The terrace is always popular. It affords opportunities to people watch, as couples stroll along the docks, and admire the yachts moored in the marina. The background sounds are provided by nearby conversations and the brum of vehicles zipping across the Ponte de 25 Abril, the suspension bridge which was opened in 1966.
The service is professional and friendly, and, when guests have settled into their seats, a waiter shows off Doca Peixe’s selection of fish, fresh from the market and attractively displayed on crushed ice. He explains the various ways in which his chef can prepare prawns, mullet, tuna and lobster and then nods, in realisation, as he becomes aware that his foreign guests understood little more than his welcoming “boa tarde” (meaning “good evening”).
Clams, fish and traditional Portuguese cuisine
Look out for the specials of the day, which include some imaginative dishes and delicious sauces. The tuna with sesame is delightful. The chef prepares some unusual combinations, such as the poached turbot with apple and mushrooms, but also some very good traditional dishes, such as the clams in the Bulhão Pato style. For non fish lovers the tenderloin steaks may prove attractive.
The Doca Peixe has a decent wine list covering a range of budgets.
Doca Peixe is a five minute journey by taxi from Rossio but romantics may prefer to arrive by water. The Alcantara Maritime Station is just a couple of minutes walk away and you can rattle along here in one of Lisbon’s vintage trams (take the number 15 from Praça da Figueira in the city centre).
Find out more about Doca Peixe (tel: +351 213 973 565) see the restaurant’s website.
For more on Lisbon’s attractions, see the Visit Lisboa website.
Written by © Stuart Forster 2013.