I decided to use Spring Break as the perfect opportunity to pig out and try new foods from each destination that I traveled to in Portugal and Spain. The first restaurant that we dined at during our travels was located in Lisbon. If you didn’t already know these countries are somewhat known for their seafood and aquatic dishes, so my friends and I came here with the intention of grabbing some at every destination.
Restaurante Leão D`ouro (Lisbon)
First off, eating out in Lisbon consisted of being aggressively prompted at almost every restaurant or bar to eat at a certain restaurant. They were really trying to pull you in, sometimes even literally! My girls and I had already researched this restaurant so we knew exactly what we wanted and where we wanted it. I opted for something authentic and something that I had never tried before. I got octopus Á Lagareiro, which was surprisingly tasty if you can get past the look of the thing!
Quimet I Quimet (Barcelona)
This small yet charming bar had some of the best tasting tapas I had ever tried. Everything is gourmet and made to order. The business is over 100 years old and is one of Barcelona’s most iconic tapas bars. Their menu featured bites such as Cecina con tomate (cured beef meat & sweet tomato) Langostinos con Piquillo (Prawns & backed red pepper), Salmón con huevo hilado (salmon with sweet egg) and Zamburiñas con caviar (scallops with caviar) all of which are included in the picture above. There are no seats at this bar only two small stand-alone tables, so you can imagine that this place gets pretty packed pretty quickly. It was interestingly exciting because there aren’t any waiters or waitresses. You shout out what you want to the masters behind the bar who will make it for you right there on the spot.
Hippie Market (Ibiza)
When I say I ate a lot of seafood on spring break I meant it. I loved Ibiza with its beautiful vistas and bohemian culture. On one of our days there, my friends and I decided to visit Las Dalias, the Hippy Market to shop for some cool and unique accessories and trinkets, but what we stumbled upon was this gigantic skillet of Spanish Paella. For only 8€ we were in seafood heaven! Paella is a rice dish that in this case was made with a variety of fish and shellfish each adding its own flavor and texture to the concoction. This one included jumbo shrimp, mussels, squid, clams, and so much sea-foody goodness.
Fishing LAB (Florence)
The fishing lab was a cool and casual spot that I’m so happy my friend and happened upon. After a week full of traveling we decided to put off going to the supermarket for another day and to get lunch and of course it just happened to be at a seafood restaurant! What we discovered was that during lunch everything on the menu is available as a half portion so that means more food for half the price! The menu here is designed for clients to decide what they want as a main dish, appetizer, or side dish and so on as opposed to having the dishes labeled as such. They offer street food options (I highly recommend the rock fish nuggets!) Raw fish dishes, specialty cooked seafood plates, and traditional Tuscan cuisine with of course seafood pairings.
The atmosphere was really casual and inviting and the service was phenomenal. During our visit one of our orders was delayed because of a technical issue, but effortlessly the owner came out and brought my friend and I two extra dishes on the house and got us our meals quickly!
Alaysha is a SAI Florence spring 2017 Virginia Commonwealth University student.