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Coimbra is often termed the old university town of Portugal, with a history predating the Romans. Situated on the hills sloping down to the river Mondego, it is divided between Cidade Alta and Cidade Baixa; the High and Low City. The presence of the university makes Coimbra a hotspot for cutlure, reflected in its many bars, restaurants and cafés. We take a look at the top ten restaurants in Coimbra.
Café Santa Cruz is an ever popular institution in Coimbra, having provided a meeting point for generations of locals. Located next door to Coimbra’s town hall, in the Cidade Baixa, the chief attraction is undoubtedly its astounding architecture, nestled in the former hall of the Monastery of Santa Cruz, founded in 1530. The stunning Portuguese renaissance architecture( in the style known as Manuelino) features seafaring motifs such as ropes, seashells and anchors. Café Santa Cruz opened for business in 1923, at the height of the coffee house renaissance, and is, without a doubt, one the most charismatic spots to enjoy espresso in the whole of Europe.
Café Santa Cruz, Praça 8 de Maio, Coimbra, Portugal, +351 239 833 617
DUX Taberna Urbana bucks the trend for traditional restaurants in the area, offering contemporary, modern dishes. Choose from whole baked camembert with crusty bread, plump prawns in garlic, black pudding with pineapple or boards of rocket with succulently cured meats. The deep red, stylish décor complements the dynamic, innovative cooking, creating a convivial atmosphere with wine-crammed shelves and artistically arranged bric-a-brac. Offering elegant dining in the centre of Coimbra, DUX is not to be missed.
Portugal is renowned for its tascas and Zé Manel is as authentic a tasca as you can get. Particular specialties include the goat and wild boar dishes, particularly the feijoada, best served alongside a fruity, full-bodied wine from the hills surrounding Coimbra. Not only is their food and drink famous throughout Portugal, but this tasca has a unique feature rendering it truly special: the walls are lined with poems written by satisfied customers. Most of the verses appear in Portuguese but since Zé Manel started garnering international acclaim, English epigrams and limericks have also started appearing.
Zé Manel dos Ossos, Beco do Forno 12, Coimbra, Portugal, +351 239 823 790
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