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Conventional concepts go contemporary cool

Portugal Confidential is always looking for the newest of the new, and the coolest of the cool.  Recently we stumbled upon a cool new restaurant and a cool new product that are not actually “new” but rather reconceived.  

Pizzaria Casavostra on Avenida 5 de Outubro in Almancil has always been popular with locals and visitors alike.

But recently, they closed their small shop, moved down the street into the Al4uatro Interior Design building and reopened as an ultra modern and hip restaurant, with a trendy urban feel.  

The entrance is deceiving. Step inside the chic Al4uatro shop and walk past the displays of scented candles, table lamps and other elegant items for the home.

Passing through a doorway in the rear reveals a massive contemporary space resembling a glass and steel warehouse. You have arrived at Casavostra.  

The main dining room is open plan with high ceiling. A large terrace runs the length of space outside and has a separate bar. Beyond that is a garden for additional seating. A wall fountain is a focal point for space-age lounge chairs that actually glow with light at night.

Casavostra dining area.
Casavostra dining area.

Fortunately, the menu is largely thE same as it was before. Portugal Confidential always prefers to start with the Bresaola, rocket and parmesan salad and move into the Rustico pizza (tomato, mozzarella, mushrooms, ham and oregano).

Yet, the menu is full of traditional and house specialty pizzas, calzones and pastas. Also available are meat dishes such as veal loin marinated in mustard, and sirloin steak in Mediterranean sauce.

For Portuguese die-hards, there’s also a cod fish gratin. Tiramisu and pannacotta round out the dinner. These are good, but we can recommend the chocolate mousse with coffee, and roasted pears in wine.

Find Casavostra in the Al4uatro building, sitting diagonally across the street from Apolónia.  

The heritage of the village barbershop is as much a part of Portuguese culture as Fado and Port wine. Our friends at innovative company 100ml Perfumaria & Cosmética have reached back in time to re-interpret this traditional product for the contemporary man.  

The inspiration for this product is the old barbershops in northern Portuguese villages. The Antiga Barbearia shave brush (€22.00 to €33.00) is made of imitation badger bristles, with 75% more bristle volume than in standard barbershop brushes.

The hand piece is wood and painted with Bordeaux and yellow lacquer. Best yet, the brush is stored away in a sliding lid wooden box (built by a manufacturer of wine cases).  

To accompany the brush, Antiga Barbearia has created shave, hand and bath soaps.  These yellow “Ribeira” soaps embody the pure essence of Porto and the Douro River with a woody citrus aroma. The original scent has notes of cedar and sandalwood, with hints of bergamot, bitter orange, musk, and a touch of labdanum. Prices range from €6.90 for 150g and €9.90 for 350g bars.

To complete the “heritage” of the product, packaging design is meant to represent features of the Ribeira district of Porto. Tans, yellows and reds reflect the tones of the old buildings and roofs. Intricate wrought iron trellis work on balconies is emulated in the graphic art.  It is truly Portuguese through-and-through.

In the Algarve, Antiga Barbearia products can be found at Casa da Bli (Quinta do Lago, Faro, Vilamoura, Loulé), Ex Libris Gourmet (Tavira), 100% Migó (Faro) and Feitoria (Aeroporto de Faro).

For more information on these and other cool things in Portugal, visit  Send us your suggestions at [email protected]