This post marks the very first of my family travel series! This series is going to be slightly different from the solo travel series, in that it’ll focus more on my food experiences and highlights of the family trip rather than every day’s itinerary. Simply because my poor old brain is fizzling out, and certain details are no longer as sharp/distinct since these trips happened a while back – some a year ago, others even longer. But I hope these memories and reviews will be useful for travellers intending to explore the same areas that I did; it’ll be amazing if y’all have as good an experience as I did 🙂
My family and I chose Portugal (Lisbon) and Spain (Barcelona) for our annual once-in-a-year trip in 2019. One of the greatest highlights of this trip was this particular restaurant in Sintra, Portugal. Sintra is a popular tourist destination, essentially a small town located in the mountains, and boasts numerous palaces and attractions. It’s a train ride away from central Lisbon if I remember correctly, about 45 minutes away from our hotel.
Before I ramble on, I need to mention that the name of this restaurant is called Restaurante Metamorphosis. I stumbled across this place the night before we were going to do a day trip to Sintra (aka the first night), which was when jet-lag was at its strongest and I couldn’t sleep. Woke up in the middle of the night feeling oddly awake, and hungry, so obviously there’s nothing better to do than to search for food recommendations at the place we’ll be heading to later in the day. A quick Google search sparked my interest in Restaurante Metamorphosis. It’s received over a thousand reviews, has really good ratings and best of all, it’s affordable! What a wonderful package! I searched up their menu and was very pleased with their selection and prices. That got me so excited, I had to screenshot and share the menu pages with the rest of my family in our chat group at 4AM in the morning whoops!
Later on in the day, when it was finally time for lunch we headed over to the restaurant which was located really near the train station. From the restaurant’s windows, you could literally see the train tracks. Since you had to walk a loop (kind of), that made the journey on foot approximately 10 minutes which ain’t far at all either! We didn’t make a reservation that day, so it was lucky that there was a table of 4 by the windows which was perfect for us. I remember that the restaurant was rather crowded, so I’d recommend booking a table if you intend to visit this place for lunch in order to avoid being disappointed.
Seeing as how it was our first time there and everything on the menu looked good, we wanted to order a lot of dishes. But the kind waiter recommended we order just 3 mains instead, since 1 of the dish was a portion for 2 and he was afraid we’d be unable to finish. Maybe it’s because the 4 of us look like we don’t eat a lot?
The first item to arrive was a bottle of red wine – my dad loves his wine so he ordered yes one whole bottle. While it’s for the 4 of us, but my sister and I are not big fans of wine (not yet), so he and my mom ended up drinking most of it. The taste of the wine was intense, rich, not too dry nor bitter (thank goodness) so it’s not too bad after all but this is from someone who doesn’t drink much so I’m sure it tasted great for wine lovers. My dad did seem to enjoy the many glasses he drank.
I got the loveliest souvenir from here too – and it’s none other than the cork stopper of this wine bottle. Love love love meaningful souvenirs like these because it brings back precious good memories of family bonding time and wonderful experiences – this cork stopper now stands on my bedside as a memento 🙂
The next thing to arrive was this beautiful large plate of mixed salad topped with shredded carrots, some sort of pink pickled vegetables, crunchy toppings and dressed in a slightly sour tangy yet refreshing sauce. Made my family order this dish because it’s important to get enough greens even while on holiday (see my post on how to stay fit while travelling); to balance all the rest of the sinful food we were about to consume. This was a very good appetiser, it helped to prepare our stomachs for the subsequent dishes.
The second dish to arrive was this beautiful plate of Grelhado De Porco Preto (grilled black pork). Oh my goodness… looking at this dish just makes my mouth water and my stomach growl as I recall the taste of this dish. For only NINE euros (WHAT a steal!), this was a generous serving of thick slices of pork grilled to a crisp juicy perfection. Each mouthful released a gush of warm meaty flavour, enveloping the whole tongue and leaving all the taste receptors buzzing with excitement. The meat had a springy yet tender bite to it, so it doesn’t feel like you’re chewing on rubber or gum. Surprisingly, this was not very heavy perhaps because of the pickled vegetables so thoughtfully placed as garnish which helped to cleanse the palate.
Next, the main STAR of the menu that we were all eagerly waiting for…*drumroll please*… it’s none other than the Arroz De Tamboril (Rice with monkfish, shrimp and clams)! Being Asian, rice is our comfort food so seeing that this restaurant serves rice on the menu? What a blessing!
This is probably my favourite dish out of the all the things we tried from there. The broth was so flavourful and rich, yet light and easy on the stomach at the same time. Most importantly, it was not overly salty. The prawns were large, plump, juicy and fresh. Scoop after scoop after scoop of rice and broth piled onto our serving plates, and we practically inhaled the dish. There was not a single grain left by the time we were done. I must say, this dish is perfect on a cold winter day – it warms you from the inside and out, up to down, leaving you and your tummy feeling very very satisfied.
After the main dishes were all served, we decided to go ahead with more…SOBREMESAS aka DESSERT! The waiter was probably surprised we still had room for more but y’know there’s always room for good food and a separate stomach for dessert. We ordered the chocolate cake and panna cotta, and the only thing I can say after the first bite is W O W. The panna cotta was smooth, creamy and silky which matched the sweet and tart berry glaze all of which glided down the throat effortlessly. But my ultimate bias has got to be the chocolate cake. I’m not even a crazy fan of chocolate cakes normally, but this…this was mouthgasmic and I still dream about it on some days. I mean, look at it!
This picture just reminds me of all the pleasure I had from every bite of this cake and it makes me yearn for it even more.
The chocolate was rich and creamy, thick and fudge-y, while the cake was moist yet fluffy and soft at the same time. Layers of spongey cake and chocolatey cream alternated with one another, resulting in a perfect balanced ratio that leaves one eager for the next bite and the next and the next… You know how with rich chocolate cakes, it can sometimes get overwhelming and you get sick of it after a few bites? Yeah, this had none of that. Within minutes, the entire slice was demolished and I was so tempted to get an additional slice. Almost did, except my protruding belly got in the way of it. But no matter, since my family and I would be visiting the restaurant another couple more times over the next few days! 😉
Stay tuned for the subsequent posts about my food adventures at Restaurante Metamorphosis! I hope I’ve succeeded in making you hungry like I am right now too…or maybe not please don’t hold a grudge against me ooops hehe *insert sheepish smile*