Summer’s here and it’s time to introduce you to one of our particular favorites that is a great wine bar all year around: RoberTine. However, with the outside terrace located on a quiet street near Praça da Alegria, it’s a particular pleasure on a warm July evening. Simply put, RoberTine has a fantastically executed maritime concept, old-time jazz and blues music playing in the background and always serves you a delectable, original glass of wine with a smile.
RoberTine has been around for a year or two now and is run by Robert from the Netherlands and Tine from Denmark (hence the name, obviously). They are two passionate wine lovers who’ve explored the country scouring wine that you won’t easily find in other wine bars. Which is of course a huge part of the reason why you want to go to a wine bar in the first place.
That, and the atmosphere. Aside from the terrace, which is a huge selling point, there is the beautifully decorated bar, made to look like an old Dutch navy boat. It’s full of antique maps, ropes, a vintage steering wheel, barrels and wooden floors and boarded up walls. In the finest thought out details, you can feel the love the owners put into this place and it’s such a welcome, old-school change from all of the Scandinavian whitewall clean places that have opened up in Lisbon in recent years. Robert and Tine also share a great love for old time jazz and blues, which not only is the perfect, non-intrusive, very pleasant accompaniment to a wine tasting but also distinguishes them from so many other places around town.
All of this of course would be meaningless flimsiness if they didn’t have the wines to match it, but RoberTine delivers in spades. They have the RoberTine house wine from Lisbon, both red and white for 3,5€ a glass and then they regularly have another wine open for 4€ a glass. The white RoberTine has a lovely mineral quality to it with distinct notes of lemon and a slight hint of exotic fruits whereas the red one is relatively light in the mouth with flavors of red berries, subtly balanced by some wood and tannin. The lightness and crispness is something rarely detected in Portuguese red wines and an absolute welcome change in the Lisbon wine bar scene. When it comes to the fortified wines, aside from a moscatel and some excellent port wines, they also have a fantastic Madeira wine on offer which delivers big punches with oak, vanilla and loads of caramel. Prices can go up to 6€ a glass, but frankly, the selection on offer is something special and worth the price.
When it comes to food, it’s the usual Portuguese suspects: codfish fritters, an octopus salad, a fried steak with an egg and freshly cooked crisps, a tomato salad, etc. all of which can be either served as a dish or cut up in pieces to be shared, unpretentious as they are. The house specialty is the francesinha, a ludicrous Frankenstein-like dish which we already covered here and which in all of its indulgence is lovely, once or twice a year. At RoberTine, the francesinha doesn’t fall as heavy in the stomach as the brick that you might expect it to be, plus the good quality of the meat and the lovely fresh, vibrant, slightly piquant sauce is textbook and for 15€, that’s more or less what you would expect.
That said, the bitoque (a steak cooked in olive oil and garlic) was lacking the finesse that you might want from a dish for 12€ even though the crispy fried bacon bits on top was a nice addition. Considering the location, their main audience are tourists and for them it’s accessibly priced and good, for locals like us who live and work here, it’s definitely leaning towards the more pricey and there are places around town where for 12€ a dish, you can get something truly special and delectable (e.g. Mercearia do Século). There’s still room for improvement here, maybe in thinking out dishes or tapas with a more complex flavor profile that would set off the wine in a different way. In comparison to their well defined concept and original wines, you just kind of feel that they are still trying to find their gastronomic voice.
We wouldn’t be the perfectionists / dreamers / annoying people that we are if we didn’t at least think and dream about how such a strong concept, a beautiful interior design and fabulous selection of wine in combination with an equally personal selection of dishes would blow so many other wine bars in town completely out of the water and hopefully, that is what RoberTine will do one day. Until then and if you enjoy the finer things in life, there’s no good reason not to go here. RoberTine not only organizes wine tastings but on a rare occasion there’s also live music. It’s the perfect place to have a nice, quiet evening relaxing, drinking good wine, enjoying yourself and meet two truly passionate owners. There’s no reason not to walk the plank-boarded floors and dive into this place.
Opening hours: Mon; Wed-Fri: 15h00-24h00 / Saturday & Sunday: 12h00-24h00 (Closed on Tuesdays)
Address: Rua Das Taipas 65,67-71,71A, Lisbon
Phone Number: +351 919127895
IMPORTANT: The wall of the Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara (one of the very well known viewpoints) is being repaired. Therefor the street Rua das Taipas is closed. There is an alternative way without making a huge detour to arrive there. Check the map here.