Rainy night seafood feast in Lisbon
I’d never been to Portugal but knew the Atlantic defined its western coast and the country was one of Europe’s wealthiest during the Age of Discovery. Early in our Iberian adventure our Insight tour took us to a Lisbon monument marking the place where Vasco de Gama and Magellan set out to explore the world.
Most meals on the Insight itinerary were included but several times we were free to arrange our own dining. On our second evening in Lisbon I’d intended to go to a newly opened market boasting food stations staffed by a rotating group of local chefs. t sounded like a good story, but it was pouring rain. I didn’t want to take a cab, and lacked confidence in negotiating the streetcar to the waterfront.
So when Insight president John Boulding asked us if we wanted to join him for seafood, I jumped at the chance.
Several writers had other plans so our group numbered about a dozen.
John told us we’d be taking the ferry across the Tagus River to dine in a working class neighborhood far from the tourist haunts
Our coach took us to the ferry where we all got umbrellas and queued up to board the boat, which ran every few minutes. We were urged to stay together and used tickets handed us by Toni, guide/concierge extraordinaire.
The restaurant Marisqueira Val de Rio was just a half block from the ferry landing, but it was pouring by then. We raised our umbrellas and leaned into the deluge to follow John to dinner, while Toni brought up the rear. Keeping travel writers on the straight and narrow is something like herding cats. We’re curious types who are easily distracted. But the rain probably helped.
Once inside the restaurant we relinquished umbrellas and were shown to a trio of tables.
I eyed a blackboard menu promising octopus and planned to order it. After orders for beer and wine were filled platters filled with all kinds of seafood kept coming our way . It proved to be an extravaganza of clams, crab, lobster and other shellfish and crustaceans and included the octopus I’d eyed.