Chef Henrique Sá Pessoa is the talk of Lisbon….OK, Portugal. Not only does he have one of the most popular restaurants in the capitol city, but he also has a weekly cooking show on the national network. The more you discover about Henrique, the more you understand his passion for food. It is in his soul. So, it is not a surprise to learn that the restaurant of the moment in Lisbon is Alma (Soul) Henrique Sá Pessoa.
Located in the increasingly trendy Santos district, Alma is an ideal spot to showcase Henrique’s abilities. The architecture of Eduardo Malhado and interior design of Catarina Ventura manifest an aura of bright whiteness that is clean, simple and elegant. Lighting from circular pockets in the walls and a large glowing cloud chandelier overhead offer enough illumination for intimacy while spotlighting the gastronomic artistry on the plates on the white table cloths.
There is no particular style, taste or regional flavor in the cuisine at Alma. Sure, as a Portuguese native, Henrique offers up his own version of some national favourites. Imagine, suckling pig confit with sweet potato fondant, codfish with chick peas and fennel puree, or tempura sardines with dried tomatoes. Yet other menus items, depending on the season or the night, could be of Asian, Italian or French influence. Keep an eye out for shrimp with pumpkin cream, fillet of grouper with mushrooms and potatoes, and a dessert favorite, petit gateau with crème fraiche and tangerine.
Behind the long rectangular window in the rear of the restaurant, guests can observe Henrique at work with his sous-chef of eight years, Daniel Costa. Together, they have worked at some of Lisbon’s most noted restaurants, such as Syrup in Cascais, La Villa in Estoril, Flores at Bairro Alto
Hotel and the rooftop Panorama at the Lisbon Sheraton. Henrique’s experience stretches further back to stints at the Park Lane Hotel in London, Sheraton on the Park in Sydney and the Lapa Palace in Lisbon. We probably shouldn’t forget to mention that Henrique was named Lisbon’s Chef of the Year in 2005, and he continues to receive awards from food and wine critics of all kinds.
Alma is considered a good value. Two tasting menus offering three and five courses are available. Also, keep in mind, Alma is consistently booked, so be sure to reserve a table well in advance.
Restaurante Alma Henrique Sá Pessoa
Calçada Marquês de Abrantes, 92
Phone: +351 213 963 527
Mobile Phone: +351 910 535 610
Hours: Tuesday through Saturday – 19:30 to 24:00