Américo dos Santos
What's it all about? A legendary Lisbon establishment that opened its doors as a men’s club in 1958, chef José Avillez took Belcanto’s helm in 2012. Under his culinary navigation, the restaurant earned its first Michelin star that year; a second followed suit just two years later.
What’s the vibe? An intimate and elegant salon for just 28 diners, slide into a brown leather banquette before choosing to dine à la carte or from the two tasting menus; the Classics showcases Avillez’s greatest hits.
Playing the hits: Making full use of Portugal’s coastline, standout plates include Dip In The Sea, also known as sea bass with seaweed and bivalves. Suckling Pig Revisited, teame with crips, orange and salad, is a stunning course from the land.
Other ventures: A well-known face on Portuguese TV for his cooking show Improbabilicious, Avillez has also published four cookbooks. 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, and Lebanese-Portuguese Za’atar. A wine aficionado, Avillez has developed three 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.