Most hotels have restaurants attached to them, but few of those hotel restaurants are really inspiring. Inspira Hotel‘s Open Brasserie Mediterranica restaurant in central Lisbon, Portugal, is different and among the few hotel restaurants we’ll be happy to return to, whether we are staying at the hotel or not.
Last September we had the chance to experience this restaurant with its fresh, local cuisine, its professional yet friendly staff and the unique open kitchen concept. In other words, a pleasure for all senses (and for discerning travellers, that’s quite something!)
Why Open Brasserie Restaurant
Staying at Inspira Hotel Santa Marta in Lisbon, Open Brasserie was part of experiencing the hotel’s sustainability concept. The restaurant is of course a popular choice for hotel guests, but also open to the general public.
In terms of ambience, Open Brasserie just ticks the boxes and fits perfectly, adjacent to the spacious hotel lobby. First thing you see when entering is the open kitchen, humming with activity when we walk in around 8pm.
Restaurant tables are arranged in a way to allow enough space to breathe, a big plus for those of us who are a little claustrophobic in crammed places. Not here. Each table has a candle and a small real(!) plant. Decor in green and earthy colours, which creates a comfortable, relaxed ambience – just what we want after a day exploring hilly Lisbon.
In three words: we loved it. As for recommendations, we enjoyed the flat bread with grilled vegetables as starter. It comes with Azeitao cheese which just melts in your mouth. A traditional Portuguese cheese which trumps even our favourite, goat cheese!
As main dishes we chose fish of the day, usually the freshest option. In our case it was ray, nicely crumbed with vegetables and garnish sauce. Chef Joao Silva tells us that the fish of the day dish is always from sustainable and traditional fisheries. Creating dishes with fish that isn’t endangered and available locally can be quite a (pleasant) adventure, mostly because even locals have forgotten about the sorts and just how yummy they are.
As for dessert, don’t miss out on the crispy Banana from Madeira with salted caramel and yogurt ice-cream – the perfect finishing touch for a great dinner.
For our fish meal, we had (of course) white wine, and followed the sommelier’s suggestion. The Esporao Reserva from 2014, Alento, Portugal, was a good fit.
The service was excellent. Young, well-trained professionals, friendly and approachable, elegant and natural, not stiff. If only all waiters would be like that!
Not as unique in ambience as the hotel with its stimulating Feng-Shui concept, but great in serving local and regional cuisine. A restaurant that cares about its guests and the persons it works with, trying to be as smart and sustainable as possible.
Adequate, albeit on the expensive side, just like Inspira Santa Marta hotel. A place to spoil yourself and your friends or family – and to make your city trip to Lisbon memorable.
Great location if you are staying at Inspira Santa Marta Hotel (the restaurant is on the ground floor, where you’ll have your buffet breakfast). If staying somewhere else, Open Brasserie is an easy walk from nearby Avenida de Libertade.
Lisbon has many good restaurants, which makes the task of choosing the one and only difficult. However, if you want to give your taste buds a great time and experience a team of professionals who care about the environment, source locally when possible, put effort into building lasting relationships with their suppliers, use organic products, and offer options for all sorts of food allergies, then Open Brasserie Mediterranica is your restaurant. Say hello from us (Green City Trips) – Joao and his team will treat you well.
How to book
Check the Open Brasserie website for menu, opening times and booking options.
Restaurant experiences can be very subjective, depending on the food you order, with whom you go, how many guests there are and how well trained the team. If you’d like to hear more experiences (and report your own once visited), check out reviews of Open Brasserie on TripAdvisor.
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