Restaurante A Cisterna, Lisbon – Where do I begin!
We should have taken it as a sign that it was extremely difficult to find, in fact we looked for two mornings in a row, before a Policeman kindly gave us directions, we should have given up when we had chance!.
I booked this restaurant because people on TripAdvisor were raving about it, perhaps we visited on an off day!
We arrived for our table and a sign on the solid wooden doors advised us to ring the bell, a dishevelled but pleasant older man answered and ushered us in, he then locked the door behind us, he asked us to go up the stairs, when we went through the door at the top, he then locked that behind us. Thankfully before us was the interior of a restaurant! ( I wondered if we had wandered into the town jail, or worse!). The inside was in need of a lick of paint and an update and nothing at all like the misleading picture it has posted on TripAdvisor, perhaps it looked like that 20 years ago!
We were seated in an empty dining room, however a few minutes later a French couple were seated near us, followed by a Chinese family. The menu was presented and it was ONLY in Portuguese and mainly hand written, impossible to follow or understand, so we asked for advice (as did the other diners) – this was our first mistake. The dishevelled chap asked if we wanted fish or meat, we discussed options and I opted for clams in garlic butter, followed by fillet steak, Pierre chose prawns in garlic butter, followed by Salmon. Sounds delicious right? think again.
When the prawns arrived just before my clams I thought, ooh yummy! then my not so yummy clams arrived, tiny little cockles, some smaller than a little finger nail, in watery something, no butter in site. We were also given bread rolls, which appeared on the bill at the end for 5 euros! the cockles were tasteless and so tiny it was hardly worth bothering.
We had a glass of white wine and a glass of red wine, to be fair the wine was pleasant, however it turned out to be twice the price of anywhere else in the area!
My – so called – fillet steak arrived, it was a thin piece of scraggy beef, overcooked by a month, in a bowl of watery liquid, the rim of the bowl was circled with round crispy potatoes (23 euros!). The steak was awful, tasteless, no seasoning, and quite tough. Pierre’s Salmon was also paper thin, full of bones and overcooked by a year (18 euros!)
How on earth Trip Advisor reporters can say this place is marvelous beggars belief!
Our bill came to 92 euros, twice the price of anywhere else in the neighbourhood, we were appalled. We paid up and got the hell out of there.
Once again the door at the top of the stairs had to be unlocked, we were escorted down and the big heavy wooden door at the bottom was unlocked, we ran for freedom!