A culinary trip around the Iberian Peninsula


On the Pass

José Avillez

Pastry Chef

Américo dos Santos

What's it all about? A legendary Lisbon establishment that opened its doors as a men’s club in 1958, Belcanto took on a new life when chef José Avillez took the helm in 2012. In 2019, Avillez moved the restaurant to bigger and better premises – next door. Under his culinary navigation, Belcanto has progressed to become the finest in Portugal.

What’s the vibe? The intimate restaurant lies under vaulted ceilings and minimalist chandeliers, while light streams through the high windows. Belcanto’s new home since 2019 offers its 45 guests two tasting menus, which take diners on a gastronomic journey of contemporary Portuguese cuisine, as well as an à la carte for those who prefer the luxury of choice.

Playing the hits: Standout plates include grilled hake with coriander, cured egg yolk and black truffle; roast squab, mushrooms, pastry, squab terrine and cinnamon and hazelnut sauce; and the whimsically named, ‘The garden of the goose that laid the golden eggs’, which features egg with crunchy bread and mushrooms. A taste of the seas comes from scarlet shrimp with green curry, sprouts and apple.

Other ventures: A well-known face on Portuguese TV for his cooking show Improbabilicious, Avillez has also published four cookbooks and his food empire harbours a cluster of restaurants in Lisbon and Porto, including Bairro do Avillez, a food hall housing four distinctive eateries under one roof. A wine aficionado, the chef has developed several vintages under the JA line with Quinta do Monte D’Oiro winery.

Worth noting: Avillez fans should book seats at Belcanto’s chef’s table for ringside culinary action in the kitchen.