THE LISBON Tourist board has spent three-quarters of a million euros on a week-long fish festival, which aims to attract 15,000 visitors by Sunday.
The first ever Peixe em Lisboa festival, organised by Turismo de Lisboa and sponsored by several private entities, presented a fanciful haute cuisine fish menu with dishes created by some of Lisbon’s top chefs from the best restaurants for as little as five to eight euros.
The event, which is taking place in Terreiro do Paço Pateo da Galé, aims to raise the profile of the local fish industry, the importance of eating fish and hopes to attract more tourists to Lisbon.
Among the top restaurants represented at the event is Michelin star Eleven, Hotel Sheraton, Pragma, Gemelli, QB, Ribamar and Tivoli Terraço.
“The key objective is to put Lisbon firmly on the gastronomic map, which, in turn, could bring a lot of money into the country if we can exploit the best of what we have, which includes our great variety of fish and seafood,” said Duarte Calvão, who is directing the initiative.
On Saturday, April 5, the first day of the festival, which is also co-organised by Lisbon Câmara, 600 people turned up.
“This is a bit of a challenge for us. We have to prepare top quality fish dishes in a relatively small and unusual space,” said Eleven chef Joachim Koerper who created two of his own recipes – chocolate brownies with curry sauce and tiramisu with raspberry sauce.
Paulo Morais, the pioneer of Sushi in Portugal and chef of restaurant QB, thinks that the country should further develop quality tourism. “It’s quite in vogue now to do gastronomic tourism and Portugal should jump on board this bandwagon,” he said.
Augusto Gemelli, who owns the restaurant of the same name, agrees: “We need to broadcast our quality cuisine, especially fish dishes, and bring more tourists into the country.”
“Festivals of this kind are vital to bring quality tourism to Lisbon, and while we have quite a few other types of fairs and festivals, I think our gastronomic fish heritage needs to be explored,” added event organiser Duarte Calvão.
“Portugal has a great potential because of our long coastline and the Atlantic cold waters surrounding us are excellent for many varieties of fish,” said António Moita, head chef at Lisbon restaurant A Travessa.
What: Lisbon Fish Festival
When: Until April 13, daily from noon to 11pm
Where: Terreiro do Paço
Entry cost: 15 euros includes voucher for restaurant of choice.
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