Where We Want to Eat: Sardines on Cliffs in Portugal


Dishing, Dishing Magazine, Dishing JH, Portugal, Off-season dining,With the magazine going to press any day now and the Dishing crew taking some time to travel, we thought we’d ask a few friends for help this off-season.

So this is our new little series called “Where I Want to Eat.” We asked a few of our friends to tell us where they’ve eaten, or where they are dying to go.

Have somewhere you’d like to write about? Email us at info@dishingjh.com

Cara Rank: My love of food was instilled by my father, who was always looking for off-the-beaten-path restaurants. I remember meals in some strange locations as he searched for the “local flavor” of a place. Those have included dinners at a seedy Myrtle Beach biker bar and on a hillside above a sewage treatment plant in St. Thomas.

By far one of my favorite family vacation meals was eating sardines high on a cliff overlooking the Atlantic in Nazare, Portugal. Some day, I hope to return to eat exactly this meal again.

We stumbled upon this place in May 2008 on our first family trip to Europe. We had been exploring the towns along the central coast all morning and were starving. We wanted somewhere that the tourist books had not written about. When we saw the ladies outside, standing under umbrellas over a smoking grill, we investigated.

My mom had grown up on sardines, so when she saw rows of them on the carcoal grills, she declared that this was our restaurant. We ordered platters of sardines, salad, buttery potatoes and clams, and we washed it all down with Super Bock.Sardines, Portugal, Dishing, Dishing JH, Dishing Magazine, Off-season Dining

My sister and I had never eaten a sardine like this. That’s to say, you actually eat the tiny fish bones. She didn’t really have the stomach for it, with the eyes peering out at us and all. She actually had the gag face on at one point. So she stuck to the clams. But my mom, dad and I kept ordering more and more platters from the ladies manning the grill.

The lunch was simple in a way a meal should be on a really hot day at the ocean. We took a picture of the awning just to remember its name, Casa Pires. If you’re ever there, just take the funicular to the top of the cliff. There, in the square, you’ll see the ladies outside and know you’ve made it. (All photos taken by Sara Froedge. Thanks mom!).




About Author

Also originally from the South, Cara Rank discovered cooking was a creative outlet that helped her relax after long days writing magazine and newspaper articles during the past eight years in Jackson. Really, she just missed Southern food. A lot. During a 12-year career as a journalist, Cara has won numerous awards for her work and has written about everything from rodeo queens to Dolly Parton tomatoes. She spends her weekends making jars of pickles and jam and amazing dinners for friends. She loves shishito peppers, Chicago-style hot dogs and elderflower-spiked cocktails.

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