In a tough period that seems finally to give us a break, most of us have been self-isolated, eager to take some fresh air and fly abroad, visit new countries and cultures.
With this article, I’m launching a new series of short writings oriented to take some walks outside. For this first one, these “virtual walks” will take us to my hometown Lisbon and more specifically to the neighborhood where I was born. So, put on your slippers and follow me.
I will start this first tour in a very popular and old part of the city called Anjos and Intendente.
Let’s be clear right from the beginning. If a few years ago, Intendente was a prostitution area, nowadays most of the area that goes from Martim Moniz to Praça do Chile through Avenida Almirante Reis, is a very popular area where most of the Chinese, Pakistanese, African and other foreign population lives and transformed in some way this neighborhood.
Far from the tourist paths, it became a quite exciting area with its traditional shops, strong spices smells and tiny little Asian and African restaurants. So familiar these are that some look much more like canteens. Along with these newcomers, coexists plenty of trendy places such as bars, terraces and cultural spaces.
Let’s stop by Largo do Intendente. Formerly a prostitution and drugs square, it was recently completely “rebuilt” by the Lisbon city hall and the people living in the area.
It is now an extremely pleasant area, mostly on sunny days to relax at one of the many trendy terraces. Between them, don’t forget O das Joanas where you can have some typical “petiscos” (Portuguese tapas) with a craft beer or the Josephine Bistrô to try the famous “prego” or “bifana”, a popular garlic steak sandwich (beef or pork). Absolutely unmissable!
But we are not here just to eat, so look up at some of the most beautiful historical buildings from the Pombaline style as well as the tile façades as the “Fábrica Viúva Lamego” (you’ll find another one in Avenida Almirante Reis), next to the vintage shop A Vida Portuguesa.
For a bit of entertainment and culture, get inside Casa Independente, an independent cultural space, where you will find activities such as concerts, exhibitions, and artistic residences.
Continue to going up in the Avenida Almirante Reis, keep an eye at some more historical building and you’ll arrive at Igreja dos Anjos, a small local church. All the area behind this church is called Bairro das Colónias (“Neighborhood of the Colonies”), for the simple reason that most of the streets have former Portuguese colonies’ names (Timor, Cabo Verde, Mozambique, Angola).
Now, let’s go down to the main avenue (Almirante Reis) up to the nº117, and you’ll reach one of the most famous and oldest breweries in Lisbon, Cervejaria Portugália. You’ll find several restaurants with the same name in Lisbon, and even belonging to the same franchising, the one at Almirante Reis is the original one. Try their steak with an egg and true french fries done manually with the local craft beer and you’ll give me your feedback.
I honestly hope you liked this first immersion in a less known but not less interesting and vibrating area of Lisbon.
I leave you with this amateur video about the Intendente area.