Baixa/Chiado's Best Restaurants
: "Fusion without the confusion!" Executive chef Giorgio Damasio poetically describes the cusine served at Populi succinctly and with equal reverence for the gastronomy of his native Italy and that of his adopted Portugal. And this marriage of Atlantic and Mediterranean influences has produced a menu of rare distinction. Signature dishes include an extraordinary seafood cataplana that positively bubbles with marine flavours – savour this over candlelight on the terrace and you'll understand why Populi is also famed for its romantic location. If you're not sure about wine choice, just ask allow restaurant manager João Afonso Pereira to make a suggestion – he's also a rather good sommelier.
: "Fusion without the confusion!" Executive chef Giorgio Damasio poetically describes the cusine served at Populi succinctly and with equal reverence for the gastronomy of his native Italy and that of his adopted Portugal. "Portugal has the best seafood in the world," he declares boldly, but quickly slips in the caveat. "But of course we have the pasta, the risotto..." His words tail off knowingly.
Tasked with designing the menu at this stylish eatery, which commands a glorious location under the colonnades of Lisbon's grand waterfront square, Giorgio admits to being surprised as to how 'Mediterranean' Portugal is in terms of its culinary influences despite the country's long Atlantic seaboard.
"For example, we have a lot in common in terms of cheeses and olive oils," he points out.
But it's fish he loves to work with and Populi's signature dishes include delicious cataplana options. Order the Cataplana Seafood and you're regaled with beautifully seasoned lobster, Mozambique shrimp, mussels, and clams from the Algarve's Ria Formosa estuary. Enjoy with a chilled Bacalhôa and it's little wonder these are regarded as some of the most inventive cataplana dishes in town.
Ably directing the kitchen is Ricardo Estevas whose empathy with the jocular Genoese ensures an ever-evolving seasonal menu of tantalizing seafood risottos, tender steak cuts and sinful desserts, and much else. Meanwhile if you're stuck for a wine, allow restaurant manager João Afonso Pereira to make a suggestion – he's a rather good sommelier.