Unlike a decade ago, when I moved to Portugal, nowadays you can find all kinds of restaurants in Aveiro; from sushi and Mexican, to vegan and Brazilian "rodizio". Although I like to experiment with food, often I decide to go "back to basics" and so I end up eating traditional Portuguese food. There are no secrets in Portuguese cuisine. It's simple and honest, involves few spices and fresh ingredients, which is just enough to make it unforgettable.
I would like to share with you a few of my favourite places to taste real Portuguese food in Aveiro. Attention - I am not going to write about fancy restaurants here. These are genuinely local places where you can meet 3 generations of families having their lunch on a weekend, where tables are covered with cheap thin paper instead of tablecloth and there's a poster of owner's favourite football club on the wall. Certainly, you don't go there to appreciate decoration, it's just for the sake of food, and the authentic atmosphere.
This restaurant is as Portuguese as it gets. They don't accept reservations, might not smile at you while taking your order, it's impossible to pay with a credit card, they don't speak English, and might not let you in if you come "too late". Sounds terrible, I know. However, the place is the sanctuary of fantastic (and cheap) food. Don't get offended with the service and you will be able to get "dourada" fish grilled to perfection, with butter sauce. Or other delicious dish. "Evaristo" is conveniently located near the City Hall, in a small pedestrian street. Don't miss it. Or do miss it, if you are a vegetarian.
Already for a while I have been wanting to take a photo of a signature steak of the Cervejaria Restaurante Rossio, but my plate gets empty here so quickly that I never remember to do it on time. The steak is "Rossio" and I cannot recommend it enough. With crunchy potato-chips and cold "fino" beer, this must be one of the best lunch options for meat-lovers in Aveiro. I recommend you to start with octopus salad and olives, and if there's space for more, to finish with their choco mousse. The Cervejaria Restaurante Rossio also known as o Augusto (the founder), has been working ever since 1966. In 2007 the restaurant was awarded the medal of municipal merit, delivered by the chamber of Aveiro.
Although Peixaria Restaurant is located in an isolated coastal village of São Jacinto many locals from Aveiro drive 40 minutes to get here and have their Sunday lunch. Another option is to come by a ferryboat. This restaurant is huge but nevertheless it's impossible to get in without a reservation, especially on weekends. It offers traditional Portuguese food, being fish and seafood its specialty. Whatever comes from the sea is so fresh that it seems like it was still swimming in the ocean earlier on the very same day. The restaurant is 100% old school, expect everything but fancy. However, with their delicious food and fairly quick service, they don't need to be worried about their last century decoration. I recommend grilled squids; or anything else.
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