A Merendinha do Arco by the Rossio Arch is just that place and it has become one my favourite “Tascas” – Portuguese local eateries - that serves the best char grilled cutlass fish (peixe espada) and red bean rice that I have ever eaten. It’s a small place, with no fancy décor, just what the owner has put in in the more than 20 years of running the place.
It starts being special from the outside as it is located just in front of a beautiful 19th century animatograph, which has been converted into a cabaret (aka peep show), and I am positive that it is safe to say that it is the most beautiful cabaret on earth. The restaurant seats about 30 persons sharing 3 communal tables and it always filled with only locals, which gives it an even more real experience feel.
The menus are in Portuguese, but the waiters speak a little English, so you may have to do some sign language with the waiter to order your meal. Ask for the daily specials which include salt cod with chickpeas, viel&vegetable stew, fried black pork loin (to die for) and some house green white wine to go with your meal. Don’t forget that at the end of the meal everyone has a shot of aged distilled grape must liqueur, so be ready to feel as happy as you can after this experience.