Belcanto – Lisbon, Portugal

Belcanto: Portugese Cuisine Revisited

Largo de São Carlos 10, 1200-410 Lisbon, Portugal
+351 213 420 607

Chef: José Avillez

Belcanto is the fine dining restaurant of Chef José Avillez. The restaurant is located on a premium location in Chiado, which is the historical centre of Lisbon. This charming area is the culinary heart of the city, with plenty of restaurant and bars. José Avillez is one of the driving forces of today’s culinary movement in this part of the city, and meanwhile he already manages no less than seven restaurants in the area with each one a different style and audience.

The original Belcanto restaurant was opened back in 1958. The name Belcanto derives from the opera style and the famous national opera house in Lisbon, which is located only a few metres from the restaurant. José Avillez took over the restaurant in 2012.

Today, the interior of the restaurant is bright and combines lots of wood, green chairs, art and luxurious elements. There is a cosy chef’s table in the pastry kitchen, where two to three diners can enjoy the vibes that the large kitchen team is giving.

Chef José Avillez gained experienced in restaurants like El Bulli, where he worked in the creativity team. Afterwards he changed the famous Tavares in Lisbon totally and got recognized in the culinary world.

In 2011 he opened not one, but two restaurants: Cantinho Do Avillez and a bit later in 2012 Belcanto. Afterwards the chef opened a pizzeria, Pizzeria Lisboa, and another restaurant, Café Lisboa, at the opera house just next to Belcanto. In 2014 he also opened restaurant Mini Bar, and his first restaurant in Porto, Cantinho Do Avillez Porto. Today the Chef he has no less than seven restaurants and restaurant Belcanto is the fine-dining flagship of the group.

What characterizes the kitchen of restaurant Belcanto is the fact that they combine interpretations from authentic Portuguese dishes with creative touches. All ingredients have a clear role and not one too many is used. You can clearly feel the influences from El Bulli, especially in the appetizers where some techniques are used that became world famous.

In his kitchen José Avillez is assisted by his right hand and Head Chef David Jesus and off course a driven, international team. During our visit it was chef David who was in charge and made our tasting menu an unforgettable one. The fine wines at Belcanto are superb and the perfect accompaniment for the dishes that come out of the kitchen.

At Belcanto you can choose between à la carte dishes or a discoveries menu, which is a sequence of surprising dishes. Or a Lisbon menu, which is an interesting compromise between legacy and modernity.

We started our Portugal tour with an excellent glass of rosé vinho espumante, Informal from Luis Pato from the baga grape which fruity notes and balanced acidity. Innovative appetizers followed this with some El Bulli spirit!

Yellow bean with liquid inside

Explosive olive, a tribute to Adria

Carrot & garlic reconstruction

White stones made from cacao butter and filled with cod fish liver

Bouquet with a cone filled with tuna tartar

Version fried chicken with avocado and liver paté

Shot corn cream with lecce, ceviche style.

Barnacles, seaweed and pickled green strawberries

Bread & Butter selection

Smoked red mullet, pickled seaweed and watercress

Portugese Red Carabineros with rosemary ashes.

Corn porridge, clams, broth, coriander, garlic and lemon juice

Poached seabass, kingcrab and jerusalem artichoke.

Cozido à Portuguesa: a traditional stew brought with respect for the original but with personal, creative touches from the chef. Vegetable cabbages puree with Dijon mustard, and infused with a flavourful broth.

Oxtail stuffed with foie gras, veal bone extract and finished with eel.

Suckling pig from Bairrada with orange puree, fermented black garlic, peppercorn sauce, braised lettuce heart seasoned with balsamic vinegar and an eatable bag of crisps.

Pre dessert; young peach & pumpkin.

Mandarin fallen from the tree: this dessert derives from a childhood memory of the chef where children went searching for mandarins that felt from the trees. A reconstruction of mandarin filled with a mousse of the fruit, sorbet, under it custard of mandarin, crumble from mushrooms makes the link to the earth where the mandarin falls on. It is very exceptional in terms of flavours and experience.



Be-Gusto score:                     8,7/10

Be-Gusto value for money: 8,7/10



Largo de São Carlos 10, 1200-410 Lisbon, Portugal

Phone: +351 213 420 607


Pictures by Belgian Taste Buds

Original review made for Discover the ultimate guide for food lovers, travellers and the restaurant business. Discover many thousands of images and hundreds of films of the most amazing culinary wonders in the world. An exclusive documentation of the very best.


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