The Alentejo region is known for its beautiful scenery but more importantly for its wonderful food. It’s no coincidence that many of its famous dishes have become mainstream across the country. Robust flavors of land and sea combined in marvelous choices like the carne de porco a alentejana, an aromatic braised pork dish served with fresh clams, and hearty soups like the açorda alentejana made with bread, garlic and cilantro to name a few.
So when in Alentejo, one must eat like the Alentejans and that’s exactly what I did. I searched for one of the most authentic restaurants I could find and was lucky enough to get a table at the Tasquinha do Oliveira, a highly regarded landmark in the town of Evora.
This tiny space on rua Candido Reis, not far from the castle walls, is run by husband and wife Manuel and Carolina. A family business holding only five tables and an infinite number of handcrafted ceramic plates that hang from its walls, turns this dimly lit “tasquinha” into a quaint and cozy place to eat. Manuel, who was very friendly but also very to the point, suggested I try the cação com molho de coentros, tender dogfish cooked in a delicious garlic and coriander sauce that compelled me to soak it all up with endless pieces of crusty Alentejan bread. Not a drop was left!
I also had to try some of the famous duck rice dish known as arroz de pato that, although claimed to have originated elsewhere in Portugal, is rumored to be outstanding in the Alentejo. This one was an absolutely delicious baked version with a crusty top garnished with slices of Portuguese sausage known as chouriço. Crunchy on top, fluffy and meaty in the middle and incredibly flavorful all over! To drink, I had to try some local wine so I chose the Joaquim Madeira , a full bodied yet smooth red with a hint of blackberries that paired nicely with my amazing Alentejan feast.
Rua Cándido dos Reis 45-A,