We arrived in Lisbon with a mission: to visit all the restaurant listed in the suggestions we received. The recommendations came from only one source and, although it has proven utterly reliable, we wanted to experience something new.
We obviously turn to foursquare, our ever trustworthy travel oracle, and the result is unmistakeable: Cervejaria Ramiro is the place to go. The reviews are almost unanimous, the best fish in Lisbon, or even the whole Portugal, but there’s some queuing to do. And so it is, we arrive and we take our place at the end of a 20-odd people queue, with some more beyond the door, but we don’t mind, waiting will only work our appetite.
After one hour we get only slightly closer to the entrance, close enough to be able to see inside the restaurant through the windows. There are empty tables, 16 seats to be precise, enough to accommodate almost everyone before us in the queue. But nothing happens and nobody complains. We’re getting seriously hungry, and nervous too, but we’re quite confident that the end is nigh and that we’ll be soon sitting there, enjoying the famous seafood.
Thirty minutes later we make it inside the restaurant, still standing and waiting, looking in amusement at the waiters running like headless sweaty chickens and a quarter of the tables available. Frustrations raises to the emergency limit when I see an empty table for two, I manage to stop a waiter, he nods and runs away. I want to scream and I day-dream of myself turning green and thrashing the bloody place.
Even the manager looks totally impervious at the disaster happening around him while he entertains a lady with some lovely casual chat.
Finally we take a table, the very table I’ve been frantically pointing to the dead-eyed waiter, and we browse the menu.
It must be a joke. The menu (ask for the English one, it comes on a tablet) is just a list of names of fish and seafood, no clue of how it’ll be cooked, priced per kilo.
Neither of us is an expert fisherman so we order quite random, relying to what we’ve seen on the other table and on the waiter’s judgement of how many grams of that and how many grams of those we’ll need.
All the food is good, but unimpressive, maybe the frustration for the long wait biased our tasting buds but, honestly, it wasn’t as outstanding as we thought. The only outstanding thing here was the bill. We asked for it shaking in anticipation, cold sweat running down the spine while we were betting on the figure to expect. We settled on 60 euros, four times our average meal in Lisbon… and we fell 20 short of the actual price.
This is by far the worst restaurant ever visited, and I will never stop recommending people to stay away from it.