Text José Silva | Translation Bruno Ferreira
On the Cascais marina and leaning against the walls of the citadel, with a superb view over the bay, we find this wide place fully surrounded by in glass, and the effect is so beautiful that it almost seems like the sea goes in there.
The décor is modern, airy, with some old elements and half a dozen sofas at the entrance that people can use while waiting for table or even to have some snacks and drinks before the meal.
The tables are well set, with simplicity but with great quality. The service is in charge of young, friendly, helpful, and very professional people. One of the features of this fine eating house is that it opens at noon and serves uninterruptedly until midnight, be it snacks or a full meal. This is supported by a very well-equipped kitchen and a team of professionals led by Chef Pedro Mendes that has an extensive experience leading teams in this area. The Chef bets on a menu that consists mostly of sea products, including fresh fish and seafood, and even using algae that provide connections full of freshness, which taste like the sea. Over here some seasonal products are also served, like truffles, that I could recently experience during a very nice dinner.
We started with the “montado alentejano” – head of xara (hog head cheese), acorn and truffle – followed by a creamy truffles’ rice and Alentejo pork’s tenderloin and flour sausage.
We ended the meal with five orange textures, very well achieved. But let’s try some of the Maria Pia restaurant’s menu dishes.
First, the couvert, featuring olives’ bread and homemade bread, and thin and crunchy toast to dip in the crushed coriander or to spread with normal butter, beet butter or butter with cuttlefish ink. A beautiful start!!
Of course the soups and broths couldn’t be missing: a creamy tomato soup with beaten egg and flavored croutons, a delicious soup of Algarve clams and a refreshing beaten gazpacho, slightly spicy with the tomato giving it a thick cream that wraps the other raw vegetables. It all tasted very good!
As starters we can enjoy worked oysters tasting like the sea, delicious Atlantic crab mouths with lemon emulsion, well-seasoned sea bass ceviche and tuna tartar with sesame and ginger, and tuna pataniscas with soy sauce.
Or a platter of clams with lemon and coriander, to eat by hand and dip the bread in the sauce, a treat.
Then we had a black bread soup of seafood with fried cuttlefish, a beautiful match. The extra hot spicy shrimp over black linguini and the fried sea bass with algae risotto. All delicious.
The creamy cod risotto is also an option, as is the Algarve cockle xerém with squid in tempura or an incredible rice with coriander with bass à Bulhão Pato. All great!
To end perfectly we had braised tuna, beet cream and sautéed vegetables. The tuna was on point with a fantastic texture, the assorted vegetables were very well worked.
In the terrace, we did not withstood a Preguinho with excellent meat in olive bread and garlic mayonnaise, tender and tasty, really good… There almost wasn’t space for the apple crumble with ice cream. The wine list is still evolving, and there’s a promise of many new features, the most important of which is a terrace in a gazebo above the restaurant with very fresh seafood and sparkling wines, white wines and some rosés, in the company of that landscape.
It will be amazing!