The food scene in Lisbon has seen a resurgence in the past few years, and the chef that has been credited with sparking the revolution in contemporary Portuguese cuisine is José Avillez. His restaurant Belcanto was the first in Lisbon to earn two Michelin stars. He has added a number of new restaurants to his empire since opening Belcanto, and they include everything from pizza, to cafes, to a gourmet bar, to fine dining at its best.
Mini Bar was José Avillez’s third restaurant to be opened in the vibrant Chiado neighborhood. Originally located in the São Luiz Theater, Minibar has moved into Chef Avillez’s multi-venue Bairro do Avillez, in a space that celebrates the glitz and glamour of an earlier era and was formerly a cabaret. Unlike other bars, Mini Bar elevates everything it serves, from its specialty cocktails, craft beers and wines, to its amazing food offerings that are unlike any other food you have eaten in a bar before. It may be a bar with a relaxed atmosphere, but it’s still a José Avillez restaurant, which means that the food always takes center stage.
Keeping with the theatrical theme of the venue, the food is categorized into “acts” in a play with a variety of small plates offered in each act. The prices per plate range from €5 – €15 per item, with dishes such as Tuna Tartar Temaki Cone, Beef Croquettes, and Wild Mushroom Rice. The beauty of the small plates is that you can either create your own story line and select items from the menu a la carte, or go with the “Debut Menu” or “Now On Menu” of 10 courses designed by the chef.
Chef Avillez trained under Ferran Adrià at the highly acclaimed restaurant El Bulli in Spain, and you can see the influence this training had on him in the dishes he serves at Mini Bar. As it says on the playful menu “…where nothing is what it seems!” The 1st Act on the menu features two “mini cocktails to bite”, such as a Green Apple Margarita that you chew and the whimsical Caipirinha Belcanto delivered in a sphere. They are literally bite sized and a great way to start the gourmet show at Mini Bar, so rather than choose between them, just order both and enjoy. One item listed under the 2nd Act is a signature dish that pays homage to his Spanish mentor, the “El Bulli Olives Xl-LX”. It is a dish that is inventive, indulgent and delicious, and not to be missed.
Mini Bar serves dinner and drinks starting at 7:00pm from Monday to Sunday. Advance reservations are highly recommended.
- Rua Nova da Trindade, 18
- Lisbon, Portugal
- Phone: +351 211 305 393
- Website: Mini Bar
Photo credit: Mini Bar
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