You know how it is. You visit another country, come back, miss the food, look for something similar and get mildly to greatly disappointed. With Italian its normally greatly. Aldea (Portuguese) was mildly.
I wanted to visit Aldea for a while now and somehow scored a last minute Friday 8 pm reservations which is a miracle for Michelin Star restaurants. Nice looking multi floor space with an open kitchen. You can even reserve a seat facing the open kitchen which is kinda neat. Every time I sit somewhere where stairs involved I 1) as a parent worry about the food getting to my table safely and 2) feel like I need to tip more.
The food was ok. Started with a selection of ham which was pretty good. They have 3 different hams on the menu but you can ask to try all if you cant make your mind. Sea urchin – I think I’m done with Sea Urchin after 3 tries. Add it to the short list that includes Olives and Bacalau (salted cod). In Portugal, they love their Bacalau and they say they can make it 365 ways for every day of the year. I think we picked the 2 worst days! Should have ordered the gorgeous looking Foie Gras instead of the Urchin
The Shrimp Alhinho was a hit. 5 large, succulent shrimp with a very complex and flavorful sauce that includes roughly 73% of your spice cabinet, Pernot, Brandy and 2 trips to the supermarket. Very nice dish!! Octopus however, not so much. Just not enough.. what you call it… Flavor. Even the squid ink puree couldnt save it. Couldnt help reminiscing about all the amazing Octopus we had in Portugal for a fraction of the price.
For main we had a good but unmemorable Skate and the more memorable house specialty Arroz de Pato. AKA Duck Paella on crack!! Toasty rice mixed with yummy duck, chorizo, not so yummy duck, spices and some clementine creme on the side (nice touch). Very flavorful!
For Dessert, a Banana mousse was a no brainer pick but it wasnt as amazing as it sounded. The Sonhos (little dreams) of chocolate-hazelnut, lemon curd, and salted caramel mini donuts was more like it.
Many items here reminded me of Marea. In Marea I felt like I ordered all the right dishes, but Aldea made me wonder what could have been.