The taste of “Old Lisbon” in Miami

The endless summer is always shaping up pretty nicely in Florida.

The “sunshine state”,as it is called, is a kaleidoscope of different cultures and backgrounds reflecting a wide diversity of gastronomic suggestions.

The Portuguese speaking population in the Miami consists mainly of a wide Brazilian segment, estimated to be over two hundred thousand.

Although there is a Portuguese community in Florida of about sixty thousand compatriots it is also thanks to the Brazilians that there is a strong demand to taste codfish or “feijoada”, providing an opportunity for our visiting party from South Africa to taste well prepared Portuguese food away from its origin.

Old Lisbon restaurant on SW 22nd, , in the Miami University area, is not far from downtown Brickell, the ultra modern high-rise financial center and the city’s and the tall towers luxury condos of the world’s super rich.

The eatery is one of three Miami outposts of the same franchise of Portuguese culinary tradition; the other “chancelleries “of the Lusitanian cuisine in Florida being located in Coral Gables and Golden Isles.

The restaurants are frequented by Brazilians, Portuguese and Latin American patrons who favour Portuguese Mediterranean style cuisine.

Behind the crisp tables and the unassuming layout of the downtown inn there is a reliable kind of ambiance and anticipation of tasting homeland cuisine.

As we sneak a quick look through the menu each dish promises a celebration of Portuguese culinary heritage.

There seafood suggestions include a wide variety of codfish options, besides octopus and sardines.

Our group started with the traditional grilled Portuguese‏ sausage and codfish croquettes, before moving to the main dishes of octopus and codfish.

The octopus was tender and the codfish firm, both choices succulent and simply delicious

Adjoining the restaurant there is a boutique offering the best variety of Portuguese food delicacies and an extensive selection of Portuguese wines, ranging from Douro Valley to the plains of Alentejo and the crisp “vinho verde”of Minho region plateaus. The codfish pastry is an inventive snack that is recommended.

All in all a rewarding experience that made us, unwittingly, to write a culinary comment looking like an advertorial, so biased and  beyond expectations was the tasting of the food . at their best restaurants can become about more than a meal .

The perfectly stimulating collision of flavors, and utter mastery of preparation, led us to insist in meeting and congratulating the executive chef, Carlos Abreu, who spent his early years in Mozambique, before moving to Portugal and eventually to America, to make Old Lisbon an outpost of Portuguese culinary and the very best of the original Lisbon DNA cuisine.

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