Old Lisbon: Portuguese Food in Miami

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Introduction

Just like native speakers of British and American English can understand each other (for the most part), there are still some variations which give each country its own unique linguistic flavor. The same can be applied to all Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking countries, etc. The linguistic differences are just as varied as the customs, accent, overall way of life, and of course…THE FOOD!

Although I LOVE Brazilian food, there are some Portuguese dishes I do like, which I tried when living for a month in the seaside city of Porto several years ago. Portuguese cuisine is known for seafood, especially sardines and cod (bacalhau, in Portuguese). At a major supermarket in Porto, I regret not pinching my nose when walking through 6 aisles full of cod. In the popular tourist town of Albufeira, I had the best charcoal-grilled salmon of my life. It was spot-on.

In the mood for Portuguese food in Miami, I walked into one of two Old Lisbon locations on a typical, hot-as-hell Miami day. Upon entering, I was asked if I wanted to be seated inside or outside, not realizing they have a lanai (inside outside area, or a roofed patio). I chose to be seated inside, where I reveled in the air conditioning.

As you may have guessed, the focus at Old Lisbon is on seafood, hands down, although there are steak options available. You can order cod six different ways: 3 shredded and 3 filleted (breaded, grilled, stewed), but I stuck with calamari and shrimp.

Grilled Calamari

My appetizer was lula grelhada (grilled calamari), consisting of about a dozen or so easy-to-bite-into rings topped with roasted red peppers bathed in a sinfully-delectable fresh garlic and oil.

Portuguese food in Miami: Grilled calamari at Old Lisbon restaurant
Grilled calamari

Freshly-Baked Buns

The complimentary rolls complemented the garlic and oil. Send my compliments to the chef. I couldn’t stop dipping the rolls into it. I was asked no less than 4 times if I was done with the garlic and oil, and 2 of those times, the wait staff took it off the table, but I told them to put it back. I got a second basket of freshly-baked buns, because like Depeche Mode, “I Just [Couldn’t] Get Enough.

Freshly-baked buns

Fresh Lemonade

I washed it all down with a fresh lemonade, perfect after a day at the beach.

Lemonade at Old Lisbon (Portuguese restaurant in Miami)
Lemonade

Camarão ao Creme

I’m not gonna lie—all of the portions are big. Speaking of which, I ordered camarão ao creme for my main course. Shrimp are pan fried and tossed in a creamy garlic sauce, with fried potatoes and white rice. The potatoes loosely reminded me of Spanish patatas bravas.

The shrimp were cooked perfectly, not too short and not too long. It’s a different kind of garlic sauce, though. If you’re thinking of the type of garlic sauce served with shrimp and broccoli at your local Chinese restaurant, you’ll be disappointed. The potatoes were kind of bland, and the rice was just okay. I wouldn’t order this dish again.

Garlic cream shrimp at Old Lisbon restaurant in Miami (Portuguese food)
Camarão ao creme

The service was spot-on, I must say. My water glass was constantly refilled, I was offered a second basket of warm buns, and was asked if everything was okay. The décor is simple, with blue, brown and white dominating the interior. The dining room is very spacious. Even on a crowded night, it doesn’t seem as if you’d feel like people were on top of you. You wouldn’t have to tell anyone “Don’t Stand So Close to Me”. 

There’s also a huge wine rack, which makes sense, since the Portuguese are known for port wine, which you can enjoy after your meal. I skipped it though, because I’m all about the food.

Old Lisbon


1698 SW 22nd Street
Miami, FL 33145
(305) 854-0039
www.oldlisbonrestaurants.com

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