With a name that means “village” in Portuguese, Aldea strives to recreate a sunny, coastal clime via those bleached wood accents and blue seats scattered throughout its narrow space. The first-floor open kitchen adds a sense of liveliness to the room, while the second floor is quieter and more intimate for a date. Both fill with stylish couples and groups who appear to delight in a petisco or two before beginning their meals. This menu is best enjoyed as a four- or seven-course prix-fixe grounded in the tastes and traditions of Portugal as well as the Iberian peninsula. However, Chef George Mendes continues to find inspiration from afar, as evident in dishes integrating the flavors of shiso, kombu and Meyer lemon. Every item tastes bright and good, as it appears beautiful yet sensible and never fussy on your plate. The outstanding sauce of lemon, garlic and pimentón that bathes the shrimp alhinho is an example of the flawless balance that this talented kitchen is able to strike time and again. Still, the most clever plate of the night may just be the duck breast, cooked a la plancha and coupled with quince, pear and shaved black truffle for a bit of earthiness and whole lot of luxury.
- MICHELIN guide inspectors
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