Multiple Michelin Star Chef, José Avillez, has created an intimate and comfortable bar, that serves some of the most creative cuisine we’ve found...in a bar.
Ask any concierge or any local in Lisbon, where to have a great dinner in a trendy atmosphere and guaranteed they will say Mini Bar. So after receiving countless recommendations, we decided to try Chef Jose Avillez first gourmet bar. We were told that the restaurant would be unlike anything else we had experienced and to be prepared...for everything at Mini Bar is not what it seems!
Mini Bar is tucked away in Chiado, one of Lisbon's most popular districts. You’ll notice the soft glow coming from the inside and a few stylish people mingling out front. A small sign indicates you’ve arrived and once you step inside, you're transported into a posh, yet very comfortable atmosphere. The decor is sleek, with a circus like theme throughout. Leather covered chairs, small nooks and a long bar make up the space and the loud bits of laughter surrounding you, make you realize you’re somewhere special.
This is a place where you can get crazy creative dishes (explosive olives and perfectly round balls for dessert anyone) without having to pay your typical Michelin star prices.
After a quick check in of our reservation we were taken to our table located in the back corner of the restaurant. The space itself is relatively small (thus the name?) and every inch of the restaurant was completely full. To my right was a smartly dressed group of thirty somethings, drinking pretty cocktails and to my left was an older couple examining the menu with complete adoration. From the trendy to the smart, this restaurant attracts all types.
You basically have 3 options when it comes to ordering. You can do the “On Now” tasting menu, the “Epic” tasting Menu or order a la carte. If this is your first time, go with the Epic tasting menu, which means you’re in the chef's hands and everything you receive will be a complete surprise. Handpicked dishes include all the favorites and will give you a full sense of what the menu entails. If you’re coming back for a second time, you can definitely order off the a la carte menu and just pick your absolute favorites.
Without giving too much away, our favorites included the El Buli olives (little explosions in your mouth) the Ferrero Rocher (definitely not what it seems) , smoked mackerel and the tuna tartar. Each dish is like a little tapa and can be eaten in one bite, unless you’re like me and try to savor every morsel. So in this case, more is definitely better!
Priced at around 3-12 Euro a dish, this is a fantastic way to try Avillez’s creations without having to spend too much money. Although an extensive wine list is offered, the cocktails are not to be missed. So start with a cocktail as you’re settling in and finish with a bottle of wine.
If you’re in Lisbon and looking for a great place to meet with friends, or a romantic date spot, Mini Bar is a fantastic option! We might have come back a few times ;)
To make reservations at Mini Bar, make sure to visit their website: