There are delicious meals that I keep in mind because they are absolutely phenomenal and O Frade is in my top 3, without any doubt.
This was a restaurant that I wanted to try for a long time, and I'm going to jump to the "end": it is divine. It deserves more than a visit. There is so much to taste.
It's very Portuguese to eat in taverns where the counter is the centerpiece of a meal filled with dishes with distinctive flavors and textures, some very characteristic depending on the region of Portugal.
O Frade is the prime example of the new modernity of a Portuguese tavern where typical dishes from Alentejo (specifically Beja), Trás os Montes and even Algarve are recreated. Located on Calçada da Ajuda, right next to Palácio de Belém, the restaurant was created by cousins Sérgio Frade and Carlos Afonso, in honor of their grandparents who had a tavern with the same name.
My girlfriend and I decided stayed at the counter - cus that's where all the action is! - and ordered several dishes to taste several options and started with gazpacho with Iberian ham and beef heart tomato.
I'm a loyal fan of gazpacho, although it is not a dish I eat regularly and it was great with many flavors that went altogether with the ham, which could only be of the best quality.
A cheese plate with figs and nuts served to further whet your appetite. The cheeses are of excellent quality as you would expect and combine well with the excellent wines that have been presented to us.
A significant detail must be mentioned: the bread. For those who like bread like me, you will be delighted with what is served at Frade. It is excellent.
Next came muxama with scrambled eggs. I had never eaten muxama so I didn't discern what to expect. The tuna is dry and salty with a rigid consistency and contrasts with the softness of the eggs which makes the dish more delicious.
We also tried coelho de coentrada which was my favorite dish. It was refined, tasty, spicy, well drizzled with oil.
The doses are perfect to share.
All the dishes are very well prepared and there is a concern of the employees with the customers and the experience they are providing. This makes all the difference for a foodie and a restaurant that manages to encompass the best that Portuguese pot food has to offer with the sophistication of cooks willing to assume risks, providing an experience close to a high-quality bistro.