Q: What is it? A: A nice fish and sea-food restaurant in one of the most notorious wave-crashing locations in the whole of Europe. That’s what it is.
Without fishing there would be no Cascais.
A tiny fishing village turned into a beach resort in the late 1800s. Conveniently located 30 kilometres from Lisbon, the royal family used to hang out here in the summertime. This became the steroid that helped this town grow as a tourist hot spot. Today it has 35,000 citizens and – a casino. The neighbouring town of Estoril hosted Portugal’s F1 Grand Prix for 13 years in a row. As you may already have guessed; this is an elegant beach area for the more well-off Lisboans. One part of the rocky coast is well-known as the Boca do Inferno, (Portuguese for Hell’s Mouth). Tourists come here to see the waves crash into the rock. It’s quite a show.
On top of Hell’s Mouth they serve superb sea food.
The recommendation came from Rui at the nearby Farol Design Hotel. He looked like a drop-out from an early version of Depeche Mode, (think “Speak & Spell” and you’ll get the idea), but was selling the concept of Mar do Inferno with an almost feverish intensity. He even recommended it instead of the hotel’s own restaurant. For that Rui should get a medal! He had a word of warning: The Mar do Inferno looks like just another tourist trap. The first visual impression should be ignored, though. The restaurant has a solid reputation for serving excellent shellfish. Some of the seafood that they serve are of the more obscure kind, such as percebes (goose barnacles) and small lobsters known as bruxas (witches). Don’t be alarmed, those witches taste wonderful.
It’s a family affair…
The people at the restaurant are serious about what they serve. You can expect the highest work ethics from the owner, Maria de Lourdes Tirano, his two children and their 25 employees. It’s a pity that the 104-seat restaurant is just one size too big to deliver the personal touch that would award it a fifth star in my book. Nevertheless, the food was well worth the walk along the water and to my surprise they didn’t charge me an arm and a leg for it. Thanks again Rui for delivering a great recommendation! If I’m not very much mistaken, the majority of the guests were locals, and if that’s not a sign of quality, then I don’t know what is.
Restaurante Mar do Inferno
Av Rei Humberto II de Italia
Boca do Inferno
Kitchen will close at 10.30 PM.