Diana Castello Branco
Cascais-born Diana is a real foodie. When she’s not busy being Four Seasons Hotel Ritz Lisbon’s Public Relations Director she’s her friends’ 911 call for the city’s top dining tips, from the snazziest hotspots to hidden local gems. At the weekend she loves enjoying the good weather whilst playing golf with her husband, all the while planning her next big adventure …
“Lisbon has the perfect balance of the traditional, the historical and the contemporary. From Eléctrico 28 and Mosteiro dos Jerónimos to pop-ups, concept stores and exhibitions, it is buzzing with energy – and endless Instagram photosharing opportunities!”
We asked Diana to answer a few questions, so you can get to know what she’s all about.
– Favourite vacation destination outside of Portugal:
* My second city has to be London. I learned to love musicals in the West End, and it was where I saw punks for the very first time. There is no other city in the world like it. There is always a great exhibit I want to see, the opening of a trendy new restaurant, or a lovely little pub I want to try.
It has to be the best place in the world to shop, after all it is home to Harvey Nic’s and Harrods! And has the best window displays. If I had an unlimited credit card I could definitely do some real damage. Plus I can people-watch to my heart’s content and never be bored.
* I always skied with my family, and have the fondest memories of being with my nephews and having my pockets filled with gummy bears and Daim Bars, and eating countless crepes with Nutella!
Nowadays I ski mostly in Val D’Isere. I find it is just perfect, it still has the charm of a traditional French alpine village, in essence it is ski in, ski out, and the ratio of gourmet Savoyard restaurants per square meter is just too good to be true!
* For adventure I would have to say safari in Africa. If I had limitless holidays, I would go back again and again. Spotting the big five in the wild, the unique smell of the savannah, the lodges, the 360º African sunsets, the sounds of bush, sundowners, safari tents, breathtaking views… together they are just the perfect combination for an unforgettable holiday. If I can combine this with some days scuba diving off some small lost island, then that is just pure bliss!
– Music: What’s in my Ipod
* I’m very, lets say, eclectic in my taste… and my playlists will include golden oldies like Abba’s Mamma Mia, Beatle’s Yellow Submarine, lots of eighties classics like U2’s Sunday Bloody Sunday, Bryan Adam’s Run to you, the greatest Rock n Roll band in the world; The Rolling Stones, and Frank Sinatra.
More chartsy tunes from One Republic, Avicii, Swedish House Mafia, 30 Seconds to Mars, The XX, David Guetta’s Without You is a personal fave, all the tracks from Phantom of the Opera, Hotel Costes soundtracks and movie soundtracks like Reservoir Dogs, Electric Dreams , Never Ending Story…
Finally, some Portuguese cheesy stuff like Da Vinci’s Conquistador, Doce’s Amanhã de manhã and Amarguinha’s Just girls. The only Fado reference on there is Mariza.
Whether its when I’m driving to work in the morning, when I’m at the gym, or having a dinner party at home, there’s always a special playlist to fit the mood!
* Business: Ted Baker for the romantic, flowery vibe and Karen Millen for edgier cuts and Twin Set.
* Casual: Zadig & Voltaire cashmere, Marc by Marc Jacobs for fun city wear, love uniqlo for basics, La Perla swuimsuits, and Christophe Sauvat for holidays in the sun. Online, ASOS, Topshop, net-a-porter and Shopbop. Nike, Oysho, Adidas by stella McCartney & Sweaty Betty for the gym.
* Dresses: Red Valentino, BCBG
* With unlimited credit I would raid Chanel and Burberry
* Loubies, Choos, L.K. Bennett, Tory Burch boots and Portuguese brand Luis Onofre , which has just opened a flagship store in Avenida da Liberdade.
You know what Marilyn Monroe said: ‘Give a girl the right shoes and she can conquer the world.’
– Make up
* I’m a big fan of everything by benefit – and i just love the quirky names and super packaging.
– Icon of Elegance:
* Coco Chanel – Without her we may not have discovered the potential of the little black dress and the all-time ‘it’ bag, 2.55 quilted Chanel bag!
* Icon of coolness: Definitely Kate Moss, she is a true icon of our times. She has managed to reinvent herself countless time during her 25 years in fashion, and has a timeless appeal.
* A convertible!
* I’m crazy about Sushi and the best traditional sushi really is at the Ritz Bar. I also like heading to my home town of Cascais for some fish in salt and ‘percebes’ (goose barnacles) – if you haven’t tasted or even seen these, you just have to try them! I always tell my foreigner friends that they look like mini dinosaur paws… enough said.
* I do also really enjoy Dim Sum and the traditional Portuguese ‘prego’ – steak sandwich. ‘O Pregon a Peixaria’ has a great tuna alternative too, in the traditional bread from Madeira island, ‘bolo do caco’.
* Fruit juices have been part of my daily routine for many years now, and I recently discovered liquid store in Chiado and did the most amazing juice detox with them.
– Restaurants in Portugal:
* Cantinho do Avilez (Yes I’m a José Avillez fan!)
* Kaffeehaus – For a lazy Sunday brunch
* Outro Tempo Bar – my local, which serves until 2am, for a good old steak with mustard and cream sauce. Very light…
* Ritz Bar sushi lounge – for live sushi Wednesday through Friday, the seafood platter and the salmon burguer.
* Mar do Inferno, aka ‘tia Lurdes’ – great seafood, serves all day and has a relaxed vibe, even though its always packed, especially on the terrace
Pap’açorda for a very Portuguese dish, croquettes with tomato rice, and rich, thick chocolate mousse for dessert
* Golf! A wonderful way of enjoying the great outdoors and our lovely weather, a sport I hope to play well into my 80’s and keep enjoying the 19th hole even after that.
* I am addicted to fashion and travel magazines, and have a bit of a Sunday morning ritual on my terrace at home in the company of UK and Portuguese Vogue, Elle, Maxima, Time Out Lisbon, Monocle, Conde Nast Traveler, The Sunday Times and the FT.
* Planning my next holiday is a constant “hobby”, if I can call it that! I spend countless hours reading reviews, researching hotels and mouthwatering restaurants, sights, beaches, hotel pools…
* Finally, I’m a real foodie, so I love to check out the new restaurants on the block.
* My dad’s Vacheron Constantin
* Day to day Chanel J12
– Favourite shops in Portugal:
* Embaixada lx in Principe Real – I can always find something to take home
Amélie au Théatre also in Principe Real for their quirky fashion
Casa Pereira in Chiado, especially for their chocolate almonds
Fashion Clinic – a cool luxury multi brand store in Avenida da Liberdade
Luis Onofre in Avenida da Liberdade – a girl can never have too many shoes