Inside the Altis Belem Hotel & Spa in Lisbon is Restaurante Feitoria, an acclaimed Michelin-starred restaurant overlooking the Tagus River. Chef João Rodrigues presides over the kitchen. As you enter the space, you’re welcomed by a bevy of hostesses and servers who lead you to one of the many tables spread over two tiers that all look out to the waterfront. Each table, simply decorated with white linen and a small flower arrangement, is in a good position, there’s no bad seat in the house.
The menu, whether a-la-carte or a chef’s tasting, is diverse and features organic and natural ingredients from Portugal’s many regions. You’ll find suckling pig from the middle of the country, port wine reductions from the north and mandarin orange from south. Each dish is presented as art, and there is no exaggeration here. One of the first dishes offered was a gnarled branch featuring homemade foie gras balls shaped as “cherries” and coated with a cherry glaze. To eat, you simply plucked the “cherries” from the “tree” and savored them in your mouth. Incredible. Another course was served on a bone-white piece of coral garnished with “salty fingers”, sea plants which hold a burst of salt when bitten, as well as a cooked prawn. The dish looked like it was taken right from the bottom the sea and set on your table.
Throughout the meal, several staff members tend to your table. Wine pairings are offered with tasting menus and feature a variety of Portuguese wine, not one of them bad. As each course came, they only got better. Even the trio of butters served with the homemade bread were executed with care. The entire experience lasted around three hours and not a minute of it is wasted. Chef Rodrigues has done an incredible job with his menu and has paid close attention to the entirety of the diner’s experience, this cannot go unnoticed by even the most jaded diner. Don’t miss Feitoria in Lisbon, I promise it will make a lasting impression.