Wining and dining in Portugal and Venice

by Andrew Stein

One of the true highlights of this trip are its meals.  And not only because the food, the wine, and the atmosphere of so many of them are beyond special.  Breakfast, lunch and dinner are all times that Lindsey and I get to completely slow down, be together, and just talk about our honeymoon, our wedding, and our future plans.  I’ll try to capture our favorite spots:

Alma by Henrique Sa Pessoa – the small tastes at the start of the meal might have been my favorite, but the sardine and suckling piglet still make my mouth water.  We highly recommend this small Lisbon restaurant.

O Paparico in Porto – knocking on a door to enter into a restaurant that brought us back in time, it almost doesn’t matter how good the food is because the experience starts off so well. The food doesn’t disappoint either.  A couple favorites from here are the terrine and the clams in a pork sauce.

Pedro Lemos – We get the corner table so that we can watch as the restaurant fills up because our 8:30pm reservation is a little on the early side.  The standout dish from PL is the seared tuna with wasabi pearl onions.

DOC by Chef Rui Paula – Sitting right along the Douro river, we split several apps and mains, and this may be the best octopus we’ve ever tasted.

Six Senses – Right at our hotel in the Douro Valley, we have one of the best lamb shoulders we’ve ever had (not sure I’ve ever had one before).  The view isn’t bad either.

Trattoria alla Madonna – We hear this place hasn’t changed in the last 50 years, and decide to try it out on our first night in Venice.  The fish risotto, branzino, and tiramisu can’t be missed!

Osteria Acquastanca – A surprise hole-in-the-wall on the island of Murano.  It was quiet, cool, and the food, especially the gnocchi, is homemade and great.

Antiche Carampane – Super small and Italian and away from the tourists of Venice, this spot had some delicious squid ink tagliatelle followed by some bite-sized soft shell crab cooked perfectly.

Al Covo – A beautifully done Americanized restaurant in Venice.  The excellent service was the most familiar to us, and the food was great with our favorite being a meat rigatoni dish.