Esperanca Italian Restaurant - (Bairro Alto) Lisbon, Portugal: Located in the busy Bairro Alto area of Lisbon where there are tons of restaurants, cafes and bars, Esperanca Italian Restaurant is a chic and trendy joint frequented by both locals and tourists. It is especially busy in the evenings and late into the night so reservations are highly recommended, especially if you’re going as a group.
We went there at around eight in the evening on a week night not thinking that the place would be so packed. Luckily, there was one table available, but unfortunately located at the back of the restaurant (we were hoping for a table by the window). At first, we thought about going to another restaurant, but then decided that a restaurant brimming with that much people was intriguing enough to try. We thus took the less-than-appealing table and settled in.
There was nothing too special about the place in terms of décor: It was a very typical Italian restaurant or Trattoria, but with a much more casual and upbeat atmosphere. What made it so appealing, perhaps, was the crowd, which was young, hip and lively.
Their menu had a limited but substantial selection consisting of anti-pasta, brochette, salad, Carpaccio (eight kinds!), pasta, risotto, and of course, pizza. Through broken Portuguese, we ordered our dinner: Margherita Pizza and Penne Pesto e Pomodorini (Penne Pasta with Tomato) and a Portuguese wine, a 2007 Vinha Grande from Douro.
The food and the wine went together so fittingly. The wood-stove cooked pizza was especially delicious, reminiscent of the great authentic pizzas from Napoli in Italy. For a perfect ending to a fabulously satisfying dinner, we had the Mandarin Ice Cream and Pineapple Carpaccio for dessert. Double yum!
The Esperanca Italian Restaurant in Bairro Alto was Bombastic!
What I liked: The Margherita Pizza and the Pineapple Carpaccio.