Casanostra Italian Restaurant – Lisbon, Portugal: Located in the chic and trendy Bairro Alto area of Lisbon, Casanostra Italian Restaurant was recommended to us by the staff of Bairro Alto Hotel. It was easy for us to find the place as it was just a few blocks away. Inside, the restaurant was bright and airy and the colors—white, apple green and light pink—provided a cheerful ambiance. It looked more like a breakfast place or a cute sandwich bar or luncheon diner rather than an Italian restaurant. Regardless, we were there for dinner and seeing that this restaurant had been around for 20 years, we were hoping for a great Italian food experience.
We picked a table next to the small window and under a ceiling fan but it was still too hot and uncomfortable. The service was extremely slow and while I can’t say it was rude, it surely wasn’t welcoming. It was the type of place where you were expected to order, eat and go. The food at least was reasonably priced, averaging 25 Euros for a 3-course meal. Then again, high prices in Lisbon are not a typical problem anyhow.
I tried their Carbonara—it was watery, tasteless, boring. For my main course I had the Sea Bass. I’ve had so much good seafood in Portugal and in Italy that I had high hopes for their sea bass, but theirs was far from impressive. For dessert, I ordered a Panna-cotta, again, disappointing.
Overall, my experience at this supposedly traditional Italian restaurant was way below standards. It’s quite surprising since I have read good reviews about Casanostra; but my experience just did not measure up.