Thursday, 6 January 2011

5 "Fado" Restaurants

I've decided to start the year talking about something unique, something that is an important part of Lisbon's culture: Fado.

Fado has its debut in Lisbon, during the 2nd half of the XIX century, reflecting a state of depression and unhappiness, Fado was, at the time, the way to express those feelings.

The taverns and brothels were the first place where Fado could be heard, surrounded by violence and prostitutes in the poor neighborhoods. Later, it captivated the curiosity of the upper classes and royalty and soon Fado could be heard in the aristocrat's salons.

During the Dictatorship Fado was considered a form of protest against the oppression, so there were few places where you could hear it. During these times people got together in an occasional space and sang Fado, Fado vadio, as it was called.

After the Revolution in 1974, Fado rose again, but this time in a more touristic way, but still carrying the soul of Lisbon in every word.

Below I will present some of the suggestions made by our Head Concierge, 5 of he's favourit Fado Restaurants. Enjoy!

  •  Clube do Fado - the Restaurant "Clube do Fado" is located in the heart of Alfama and just a "stone's throw away" of the renowned Sé de Lisboa (Lisbon's Cathedral). If you enjoy excellent Portuguese traditional cooking, the sound of Portuguese Guitar and want to hear the greatest Portuguese Fado voices, this is the place to go. 
  • Arcadas do Faia - more than a half century of existence always side by side with the great name of Fado, along with the dedicated respect for the rich variety of Portuguese gastronomy.
  • A Severa - a Restaurant opened in 1955 that got the name of "Severa" from a gipsy singer who was one of the greatest Fado singers ever.
  • Timpanas - Following the Fado's tradition, the Restaurant "Timpanas" ( the name recalls the coachman represented in the classic portuguese movie "A Severa") has a typical ambience and it is located, since 1963, in Lisbon's popular riverside district of Alcântara, near the Docks, a major leisure area. Arriving at "Timpanas" you will be transported to an emblematic and genuine ambience that will take you towards the old feeling sung in Fado.
  • Café Luso - the most renowned Fado and Folklore Restaurant in Portugal. Founded in 1927, its history is the history of Fado music itself, since all major singers and musicians performed here. Located in the Bairro Alto district, one of the most typical and historical of Lisbon, and also the birthplace of the 1980's nightlife boom that was to transform behaviours and mentalities. Café Luso occupies the charming former wine cellars of the 17th century Palace which survived the devastating 1755 earthquake.

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