Just after a year of closing, Celebrity Chef Henrique Sá Pessoa has brought back his signature restaurant “Alma”, much to the delight of Lisbon gourmands in the know, who used to flock to the old location in the Santos neighbourhood specifically for the Chef’s famous food.
Alma’s new location, in the heart of the Chiado neighbourhood just next to A Vida Portuguesa, opens up a whole new range of opportunities for the Chef. “We were in a small space in Santos, with a small kitchen, and with a very special target audience – people would go to Santos just to visit Alma. We almost never had walk-in clients. Chiado is very different.”
Indeed, the new space is much bigger and better, and Chef Sá Pessoa has one goal in his mind – a Michelin star, which he admits has been his dream for over 20 years. The new location next to Belcanto is also quite exciting, and we’re hoping another young Portuguese chef will join the ranks of José Avillez in gaining another Michelin star for the country, and the Chiado neighbourhood.
Inside, you just can’t miss the Chef’s table just in front of the lively open kitchen – seating 6 to 8 people, you can feel part of the action and watch the night’s preparations unfold. Also of note is the couvert; certainly not your average bread and butter, but we’re not going to ruin the surprise for you!
The Chef also personally introduces some of the dishes, and he is super friendly – between his restaurant and his TV shows, Chef Sá Pessoa has become one of the most beloved characters in the Portuguese culinary world.
As for the food, Alma’s old classics are present (as we hope they’d be), albeit some of them have evolved with the Chef’s new experiences. One of the most emblematic dishes that remains is the suckling pig – slow-cooked for 24 hours with sweet potato purée. A tasting menu and an à la carte menu are available.
Complementing the space, and opposed to the former space’s small, white and clinical look, are beautiful high stone-arched ceilings, the decoration is very warm and the seats very comfortable.