The other day we had our first look at the centre of Lisbon. We had walked down from the Moorish Castle and were going down Rua de Santo Antonio de Sé. This street is well known for the trams that trundle up and down its slope. We had almost reached the level of the Baixa when we saw an unnamed restaurant at nr 18.
It was not a conventional restaurant, more of a café with unusually a small supermarket at the back. It had a nice brick vaulted ceiling and was not overcrowded so we gave it a try.
Prices seemed lower than usual though since my brother-in-law picked up the bill I cannot quote an accurate figure. There was no table service but you queued up at a canteen-like counter where there were menu cards. Behind the counter was salad, rice and fried fish fillets. The menu offered typical portuguese fare including grilled fish (sardines, mackerel, swordfish, etc) and grilled meat.
Mrs O and I ordered the fish fillet and it was brought to our table with rice and salad almost immediately.I do not know what the fish was - definitely not cod or haddock but a white fish - fried in a delicate batter. The rice was mixed with garlic, onion and finely shredded white cabbage that I think had been fried in olive oil. It all tasted good - even though white cabbage in rice was not something I would have thought of combining with fish.
My sister- and brother-in-law ordered grilled sardines and were less happy with the service. What we think happened was that a couple who arrived 10 minutes after us, also ordered grilled sardines and got their order. They were served so quickly. We evenutally complained and the sardines finally came. They were apparently worth waiting for.
An amusing thing about the restaurant was that it was close to the tramline outside. Traffic would build up outside the restaurant when a nearby traffic light further down the street went red. Sometimes a tram would stop on the doorstep of the restaurant as shown here.