Lisbon: Mini Bar
Mini Bar… no, no, not the hotel mini bar (although we did raid that as well), the restaurant Mini Bar.
Located super central in the Old Town just off the commercial street, Mini Bar is a super cool and retro restaurant by a creative Portuguese chef, José Avillez, who owns a couple of Michelin-starred places across Lisbon.
You walk in and the décor is like that of walking into a theatre restaurant, with dim lights, big sofa seats, movie-style retro napkin holders, cabaret wall lights, and a menu to intrigue.
We went for the Epic Tasting Menu with a Cocktails Taster Menu. With the Epic menu at 48.50 Euros per person, and a series of 4 mini cocktail taster at 20 Euros, this was a tasting menu bargain! Being used to extortionate prices in London, I looked across the menu with a tiniest hint of wariness, but nothing to worry about here. Eat like a King, with some change left in your pocket.
You will realise that the food in Portugal, in general, is affordable, making it a foodie’s paradise. A glass of good wine is around 4 Euros on average and a custard tart is under a Euro. If you’re only visiting Lisbon for a few days, I would highly suggest you look up beforehand all the best places that bloggers and the like recommend for your dinners. There are many little restaurants here, all along the side roads, all look similar, and you don’t know where is really good. It is all too easy to meander into one of these places, lured by rows of wine bottles in the window and end up having a mediocre meal. Don’t be one of those tourists! If you’re reading this, you’re an avid foodie too, so do yourselves a favour and book your dinners before you go!
So back to Mini Bar, where were we? Oh yes, one of the reasons why you book this place for your next Lisbon trip is because there is no menu outline on the Epic Menu so you don’t know what’s coming, and when on holiday you want a bit of good unpredictability and fun in your life, right? You are in good hands here, just go with it.
For not-much-of-a-drinker like myself, there is a flight of 3 cocktails for 15 Euros, which I had, and with the other having 4 cocktail menu for 20 Euros, that provided a variety of 7 different scrummy cocktails to try!
The service is super approachable and speedy, the ambience is dark with a hint of mystery and buzz, and the food offering is to match any creative, modern cooking around.
I went at 8pm and the place was fully packed out. Interestingly a wonderful mix of families, groups of friends and couples. The whole vibe of Mini Bar is young and hip, but clearly the food draws people of all ages here for a bit of weekend fun, and you can be guaranteed to walk out onto the cobbled streets outside, completely satisfied and blissfully happy that you have had a taste of some fine Portuguese foodie creativeness.