Just a few miles north of Lisbon, perched above the Atlantic, Ericeira used to be a sleepy fishing village that would come to life in the summer, when Lisbonites descended on the town for the season. Thanks to its incredible surfing spots and laid-back charm, Ericeira is a multicultural town with much to offer in terms of food and culture. These are ten of the best authentic restaurants in Ericeira you should visit before heading back to Lisbon.
If you go for a walk in the centre of Ericeira on a warm summer evening, you may hear jazz and laughter coming from what would seem to be a residential street. If you follow the sound, you will find Vira Copos, a wine bar and restaurant that is set on redefining culinary culture in the village. Divided into two floors, it makes the most of its architecture by exhibiting paintings by Portuguese artists. It is the ideal environment for its wine tasting events and concerts, and enjoying the excellent petiscos options.
Hidden away beneath the cliffs of the Assenta Beach you will find the fishermen’s club and its restaurant. The interior is unassuming, even austere, but it just adds to the feel of being in an authentic restaurant beloved by those in the know as this is where fishermen go to eat their fresh catch of the day. The owner, Gardel, welcomes all patrons and has perfected the technique of grilling swordfish and cooking up the best octopus salad. The excellent food and conviviality make up for the hassle of finding this restaurant and reveals what is so great about this little secret.
Tik-Tapas is a curious blend of Brazilian steakhouse and Spanish-style tapas restaurant, where you can taste high quality small plates or a big main meal. What distinguishes the restaurant from its neighbours are the paintings and sculptures decorating its walls and corners, most of them produced by local artists, and reflecting life in Ericeira. Although mainly a restaurant, Tik-Tapas also serves as a bar where you can get exquisite caipirinhas and enjoy DJ sets later on in the evenings.
Placed on top of some rocks slightly above ocean level, Furnas is an institution in Ericeira, just a few steps away from world-famous nightclub Ouriço, and serving up some of the best fish in town. Its quaint decoration is nautical in nature, with rope-laced walls, sails and miniature fishing boats, but the main attraction would have to be the sound of waves crashing against the pier about 50 meters away. Enjoy grilled sole with local, sparkling white wine, before dancing the night away in Ouriço.
Eight years ago, Jan and Peter, two Flemish friends with a shared passion for surfing and pizza, bought a mini van and started touring the Iberian Peninsula sharing their expertise wherever they roamed. Eventually they settled in Ericeira and after a stint at the Ribeira d’Ilhas surf camp, they moved to a new venue overlooking São Lourenço Beach, just three kilometres north of their previous spot. Expect a glorious view over the ocean and a wealth of surf paraphernalia and memorabilia. After all, Ericeira is a World Surfing Reserve, one of five in the world and the only one in Europe.
Interior of Tasca da Boa Viagem | Courtesy Luís Duarte
Ericeira, as anyone may expect, has many sea-themed restaurants, but Tasca da Boa Viagem is perhaps the one that finds the best pitch in combining tasteful decoration with tasty fare. Featuring azulejo panels encased in wood-lined walls – it doesn’t get more Portuguese than that. The restaurant serves traditional Portuguese food, and not necessarily fish as barbecues and fresh soups are always on the menu. On the walk that lines Ericeira’s oceanfront, tables and chairs set outside overlook the fishing bay, where in early evening you can watch the ships slowly sailing in.
For 25 years Mena and Vasco have been running what is probably the definitive restaurant with a view. Situated in São Lourenço, Golfinho Azul serves some of the best seafood in Ericeira, as usual served with crisp, fresh vinho verde, but its majestic view over the Atlantic is a notch above any of its rivals. As if that wasn’t enough of a selling point, legendary jazz, blues and bossa nova concerts start a little before sunset, providing the perfect background music to a wonderful culinary and scenic experience.
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Teresa Pinto runs this small petiscos place where she offers traditional Portuguese food, mostly the vintage brands relaunched by A Vida Portuguesa over the past decade. Vira Latas is a walk down memory lane for Portuguese costumers and an exciting opportunity for tourists eager to immerse themselves in the culinary history and culture of 20th century Portugal. Not everything is about the past though, for Teresa does keep abreast of new developments in food and drink by serving local craft beer Mean Sardine.
A ten-minute drive away from Ericeira, in the small village of Sobreiro, you will find one of the oddest yet most delightful surprises that Portugal has in stock. José Franco was a local craftsman working mostly on wood and clay, who in 1945 started turning his property into a model village of rural life. Almost 70 years later, Aldeia Típica José Franco still stands as a testimony to the traditions of the past, among which food and drink reign supreme. The adega (tavern) serves local dishes but the main culinary attraction is the simple yet winning combination of bread baked with chorizo and heady, fruit-flavoured red wine sourced from the farms of Sobreiro’s villagers. It hardly gets more authentic than that.
Offering petiscos and fine wines, Adega Bar 1987 distinguishes itself by its vivid nights of folk music concerts, featuring artists from all around the world. This includes fado evenings that can give you a feel of the famous Portuguese bittersweet nostalgia. Unusually for Portuguese restaurants and bars, on cold, rainy nights it has an open log fire, sheltering visitors from Atlantic storms with warmth and a glass of wine.