Sometimes discovering restaurants or bars is a bit like falling in love: last year we went on a date with the wine shop/wine bar Carinho do Vinho, came to the conclusion that we were a perfect match and now more than a year later, sparks are still flying. Especially now that they have some seriously great food on offer, too. So here is a small but necessary update on a true Lisbom pioneering favorite, still going strong.
Maybe we shouldn’t say that in case that there are some crazy stalkers (we know you’re out there) but anyone who knows us, knows that “Carinho do Vinho” has become one of our favorite hangout spots in the city. Which means that not all that much has changed since our last review: the wine is as good as ever (these days always with a couple of bottles of both red and white open so you can choose a bit more), lots of informality and talking to strangers and just in general a hoot to sit there at that long wooden table and just feel damn lucky to know a place like that. Plus, they’ve got a fancy stereo now too so chances that there is pleasant music playing in the background have increased significantly (also because we are going to provide them with a playlist).Thankfully, “Carinho do Vinho” is wise enough not to go all fancy on our fine asses when it comes to food. Instead, what they have on offer, is just a very personal take on simple dishes done right. A perfect example of that are the meat- and fishsticks, consisting of tender pieces of grilled meat (pork and beef) and some of the most succulent perfectly pieces of grilled salmon we must have had in a long time. The accompanying cream sauce with dill is refreshing and cuts through the richness of the meat and fish perfectly. Nice to know is that they get their meat and fish from the nearby butcher and fishmonger at Praça dos Flores. Local businesses supporting local businesses, as it should be.Now that summer has come along, there’s also nothing better than diving in to the super refreshing gazpacho made with homegrown tomatoes from a friend of theirs or going for the minty, fresh couscous salad with toasted nuts. Menuwise, there’s no going wrong here: no crazy combinations only a raving, lucky lunatic or a genius mastermind chef could make work, no ridiculous risk-takings, just simple food with classic combinations that work, like scrumptious dates with bacon or beautifully baked potatoes and sweet potatoes with rosemary and garlic.The portions are more or less tapas sized and it’s healthy, balanced and filling without being diet conscious or taking any of the fun away with useless nutritional facts we don’t care about when we go out to eat. By the end of the evening, having shared a couple of glasses of wine and some food, you’ll probably walk away paying not much more than 15-20€ per person which really is very fair for what you get and the quality of it all. Even though we’ve described the menu to you, don’t necessarily expect for it to be exactly the same when you go there: “Carinho do Vinho” is wise enough to adapt their menu and dishes depending on their mood and what’s available on the market and what’s in season and what isn’t – the erasable menu written on a tile gives that away.In that respect, it’s going to be quite challenging to find a better summer dessert this year than their strawberry pie, a buttery slice of sweet cake accompanied by some lovely summer strawberries and cream with the slight, fragrant crush of fresh vanilla seeds.Simple fare, sure, but totally unique in Lisbon as is the whole engaging, local atmosphere of “Carinho do Vinho”.And you know what makes the whole package even nicer is the fact that this is a family-run, small business with such open and kind people like Phillip and Ina who run the ship when the evening comes – and always have great stories to tell – or Sr. Luis (and his killer moustache really gives it away that it’s “senhor” and not just “Luis”) who sells the wine in the shop during the day. He is basically as old school as a wine merchant is likely to get – meaning: not getting this wine means tragically missing out on a life changing experience. You’d better believe himTo be honest, this kind of slow business not interested in making quick bucks but instead investing in connecting with the local community and using their space to serve as a meeting space for all kinds of people obsessed with wine and food is just a great source for optimism and pure joy. In the hustle and bustle of a continuously evolving capital city looking for the next rage, “Carinho do Vinho” is so unabashedly old school and basic in all of its humble simplicity, we can’t help ourselves but go back there time and again. That, and the wine of course, which is pretty good too.
Opening hours: Mon-Wed: 9.00-20.00, Thu-Sat: 8.00-23.00 (dinners from Thu-Sat)
Address: R. Nova da Piedade 23, 1200-241 Lisboa
Phone Number: +351 21 827 1872