Fish First at Lisbon's O Pitéu da Graça - Culinary Backstreets | Culinary Backstreets
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One of Lisbon’s best views is just steps away from Largo da Graça in Saint Andre, one of the city’s seven hills. The famous overlook offers views of most of the city and even some of the Tejo river. Most days it’s filled with a mix of tourists making good use of their selfie sticks, wanderers minding their own business and street musicians busking for small change.

But locals – or, at least, locals who like to eat well – prefer to hang out a few meters back, at one of the neighborhood’s iconic restaurants. O Pitéu da Graça could also be described as having an excellent view – but only if you like looking at fish. Yes, the thing to see here is the menu’s crowded fish section. The fried fillets are an absolute must: always beautifully golden on the outside, tender and tasty on the inside. For a deeper dive into the ocean, there are pescadinhas (small hakes), linguadinhos (small sole), dourada (sea bream) or garoupa (grouper). Every fish on the menu is freshly caught, expertly cooked and lovingly presented.

Running the place is Vítor Campos, who inherited it from his uncle years ago. Vítor has kept the two dining rooms impeccable, which is not trivial: inside there are historical tiles that depict life in Graça in times past, jammed 28 tram and all. Be aware that this is not a regular tasca, but a somewhat fancier one, with custom engraved plates, quality furniture and silverware and a pair of charming round awnings at the door. That’s also why it’s not as cheap as some. But it’s still quite reasonable, at €15 to €20 per person, and each portion feeds two easily. A solo diner can ask for meia dose (half portion) even though the option isn’t mentioned on the menu.

This restaurant acquired the name Pitéu (a colloquial way of describing a delicacy) in the mid 1960s. Before that, it had even more of a tasca name: Zé dos Carapaus, something like “Horse Mackerels Zé.” Curiously, many of the best tascas in Lisbon are named Zé, short for José: Zé dos Cornos, Zé Pinto or Zé da Mouraria. O Pitéu da Graça is not a Zé anymore but it equals them in quality. And maybe surpasses some. Especially when it comes to fish.

Editor’s note: This piece is part of our regular feature, Tasca Tables, which covers Lisbon’s tasca scene. Tiago Pais is the author of The 50 Best Tascas of Lisbon.

This article was originally published on March 22, 2017. 

Maria Rebelo

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