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Heard about the quirky Bairro Alto bar and restaurant in Lisbon that used to be a fishing tackle shop? Located along the famous Pink Street (or Rua Nova do Cavalho as it formally known), Sol e Pesca in Lisbon was a weird and wonderful experience, one of the more unique places we visited during our time in the Portugese capital.
Sol e Pesca in Lisbon
As soon as you enter the darkened bar recess, you know you are in for something special – sitting amongst the shelves of tinned fish and general fishing tackle, your menu is served to you on a fishing rod. So far, so fishy!
We actually stumbled across Sol e Pesca quite by chance – we were in the Bairro Alto area photographing the Pink Street (the street was painted around a decade ago as a celebration of the area’s regeneration and move away from being a red light district). As we got closer to Sol E Pesca and looked inside, we realised we’d seen this nautical nook somewhere before.
It turns out Sol e Pesca is actually rather famous and renowned – not only had we watched Anthony Bourdain visit Sol E Pesca as part of his No Reservations TV series (series 8, episode 4 in case you were wondering). British travellers may also recognise Sol e Pesca from an episode of Channel 4’s Travel Man, with Richard Ayoade and Adam Buxton.
Well, if it was good enough for this illustrious company / motley crew (delete as appropriate), we were certainly going to take the ‘plunge’ into this piscine place. The first thing we noticed was that Sol e Pesca gets the basics right; the lady serving us was friendly and service was brisk – the beer was served ice-cold (class in a glass) and much needed after a morning exploring sunkissed Belém in 35c heat.
After we ordered some large 3 Euro beers (note prices are more expensive in the evening after 10pm), we surveyed Sol e Pesca’s interior and marvelled at the rows of tinned fish of different types and sizes lining all the walls. They have quite the collection and most were available to purchase, along with Sol ePesca’s very own cookbook. We also noted we were the only people inside and most patron’s chose to sit outside on the tables on the nondescript street – if only they knew how sublime Sol e Pesca’s interior was.
The Sol e Pesca menu, hanging of our very own fishing rod (love it!) mainly consisted of tinned fish dishes and was extensive and reasonably priced. We opted for some local sardines from the snack menu – served with tomato and chives, and layered on homemade cornbread (5 Euros). It was nicely presented and more importantly, damn delicious!
Overall, we spent two or three hours in Sol e Pesca, drinking beers, admiring the interior and eating food (oh, and also celebrating Neil’s 40th birthday). In fact, this was a brilliant place to have some Birthday beers and bait and we’ll definitely return to Sol e Pesca on our next trip to Lisbon – lovely!
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