ROOTED IN TRADITION
Sintra remains a crown jewel among the Portuguese regions, and a host of traditional and family-run restaurants and markets are doing their part to keep the area’s culinary history alive and showcase the choice ingredients the region has to offer.
At the nearly four-decade-old Mar do Inferno, fresh shellfish is accompanied by a magnificent view of the Atlantic, where the restaurant’s seafood comes from. (Standouts include the bruxas, or “slipper lobster,” and the shrimp curry.) Tender Iberian pork, as well as other traditional Portuguese dishes like codfish, are on the menu at Adega das Azenhas, a family-run restaurant opened almost 30 years ago. The unassuming entrance ushers visitors into a world of dishes like espetadas de lombinho (pork skewers), bacalhau à Azenha (fried codfish loin) and filetes de pescada com arroz de tomate (haddock fillets with tomato rice).
The best ingredients Sintra has to offer can also be found at the Cascais market, Mercado da Vila, or at the regional farmer’s market, Feira de Almoçageme. The former, opened in 1952, is where you can find fishmongers, butchers, and, on Wednesday and Saturday mornings, the “mercado saloio,” a produce market featuring fruit, vegetables, flowers and cheese. At the latter, producers from surrounding areas gather at the village of Almoçageme, about a 30-minute drive north, to sell locally sourced products such as honey, cakes, flowers, bread and even goose barnacles.