The neighborhood restaurant that became one of Lisbon’s most popular taverns – NiT

The entrance to Velho Eurico in 2023 is very different from what it was in 2019. If in the past the reputation of the tavern was one of the best kept secrets of the capital, today everyone knows it. There are those who say it’s been ruined by its popularity, others swear up and down that it retains what it has always been known for: “the incredible atmosphere, good drink and delicious food”.

For Zé Paulo Rocha, 25, it is obvious that “the Eurico of today is not the Eurico of three years ago”. Originally envisioned as a snack bar, something small with casual service, “it’s still all that, but on steroids.” “I think it’s the best definition of what Velho Eurico is, in 2023,” he tells NiT.

Let’s imagine the scenario: a group of college friends decide to open a restaurant, give a taste to Portuguese snacks and desserts, set up a tavern with a relaxed atmosphere and a playlist that starts with soft MPB and ends with Variações. The bathroom turns into a disco. In the midst of all this, they create the tradition that when the cutlery is crossed, it is time to put the homemade bagasse on the table to close the meal in full. This is Eurico’s wave, and the place of choice, for many, in the capital.

Here the sign speaks for itself. Black rectangle with large white letters announcing that it is a “typical restaurant”. Above the small entrance on the ground floor of a building in shabby red tones, it acts more as a confirmation than an enunciation of what awaits us.

Down the few steps, the setting is exactly what you’d expect from an authentic Portuguese taverna in the heart of Mouraria — no frills and no frills. At the same wooden tables where the dishes of the day arrive, at a good pace locals and tourists co-exist and chat happily with each other.

On the walls, the typical tile blends perfectly with the crockery and the large counters. Whoever says so, however, is not part of the house. It’s just that the idea of ​​the Eurico family is different. “The decoration is rough, with imperfections. Don’t expect perfection in our home. If we are not perfect, it stands to reason that the commitment will not be. I am talking about perfection in the eyes of the common being. We like chipped crockery, we bargain for it at a nearby fair.”

The staff is new, as is the boss, and everyone conquers in their own way. If some say that Zé Paulo’s good looks and composure are the keys to success, “João’s mission and the best tattoos” make his return even more promising. David, on the other hand, is noted for his good humor and ease. “There are more, and all individually,” many of the customers guarantee. Ze confirms the number: “Right now we are fourteen innkeepers.”

No frills, the menu showcases all things Portuguese. The list has changed over time, it is true, and sometimes it is even difficult to keep track of all the news. What is certain is that it always follows the order of traditional dishes, simple, but which is exactly what we want in a tavern – even in its modern version. “I’d say it’s an updated tavern. Not trendy or gourmet. I don’t even know if the term is still used,” he corrects us.

Some classics endure, while others, like Duck Rice or Onion Baits, are lost. And if you haven’t been to Velho Eurico this year, we have news that may be sad. The wildly popular Bacalhau à Brás, considered by many to be one of the best in Lisbon — yes, the liquid, with a good balance of cod, eggs and chips, what is essentially an old-fashioned bacalhau à bras, no inventions , “as you like it ” — is one of the recent losses.

In early February, Zé Paulo completely changed the menu. “We turned the graph 180 degrees,” reveals the project manager. Even so, he risks admitting that Bacalhau à Brás will truly be the “eternal best seller.”

In the end, whatever the dish, the verdict is usually one: we are always surprised by new and delicious things. Flavor and simplicity make the suggestions for the kind of dishes that please both the youngest customers and the most loyal ones who have followed the whole course. A popular tavern in the true sense of the word that has been serving for many years.

This was a neighborhood restaurant with a lot of history, frequented by the oldest residents. After 40 years with the same owners, it got a new lease of life on August 28, 2019. Velho Eurico opened about 4 years ago, just before the pandemic, and has slowly become one of the most popular and busiest new taverns in Lisbon. It opened in the place where there was a traditional restaurant with the exact same name: Eurico.

Located on Largo de São Cristóvão, it is halfway up the steep climb between Lisbon Cathedral and São Jorge Castle. The infringement, however, was granted only on the condition that Zé Paulo should retain its name. Eurico stayed and they only added the first part (Old Man).

Born and raised in Lisbon, the owner and chef of O Velho Eurico, is used to living his daily life between pots and pans. “I started working with my parents in typical casual restaurants,” he reveals. Before arriving at what is now his home, he worked at L’And Vineyards, Bica do Sapato, Pestana Palace and Les Lavande, in Monieux, as well as Restaurante Viva Lisboa and Taberna Sal Grosso.

Fábio Algarvio, his 26-year-old partner, also worked at Restaurante Viva Lisboa and also worked in the kitchen at Hotel Zenith. Even so, it is Zé himself who tells us that when they reached the city center “they were still very green.” With the experience they have gained in the field of business planning, they have rethought the space and could not be prouder, they assure us.

The waiting time to get a seat at the table is proof of that. “For dinner, it takes about two months. For lunch, the demand is less and lasts for a month,” he says. To the question about the secret of this success, the answer is: “here the art of hospitality is practiced. That’s what we work for. The atmosphere, the hospitality and what we do as fans of our gastronomy make us unique. We make good food and we work to develop in this area, but we like to be at home and we like those who visit us to feel the same.”

Click through the gallery to discover Velho Eurico, the coolest pestico tavern in Lisbon.

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The letter changed in February.

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