With a vast culinary experience, Chef João Francisco - he worked in kitchens from Eleven, Arola and Midori, at Penha Longa Resort, Sushisamba and Bica do Sapato - designed his own gastronomic concept that mixes Asian and South American flavors, giving wings to his culinary imagination.
Let's start with the name: Tarara. It’s an agricultural machine that separates the wheat from the chaff. A copy of this machine is in the center of the room and belonged to the great-grandparents of Chef João Francisco Duarte, owner, and Executive Chef.
Set in the Beato, Tarara maintains the rustic look of the area with the ancient arcades, mixed with the more modern side like the vertical garden behind the bar or the pleasant lights that give a great ambiance to the place. I’m a regular at Tarara, which indicates something very positive. Whenever I go there, I experience something new or a plate that struck a nerve in my palate.
I can’t explain how good the tacos are. I'll start there. I have tasted tacos in different restaurants but it was here that I got hooked, especially those of spicy tuna and crab. Perfectly seasoned, they’re the most amazing way to start to a meal.
I followed it with gyozas of chicken and vegetables - slightly toasted as they should be - and then with two types of ceviche: salmon and strawberries and white fish with tiger milk. You want some advice? Try both genres. I can’t tell you which is best. The flavors are all there and they’re different, more refined and at the same time, it gives the sensation that they’re easy to make.
The Chef and his cooks make the food the key point of the restaurant and for that it has to be perfect, tasty and attractive.
For the main course, I always have the same good problem. Should I choose the steak tataki with Japanese purée or the yakitori skewers of black cod with miso? It’s a complicated choice. They’re the cherry on top of the cake, as they say. The steak comes slightly undercooked, sliced over a delicious purée. The combination is phenomenal. I had never eaten anything like it in Lisbon. The black cod skewers are a delicacy that takes talent to cook.
What I suggest is that you visit the restaurant more than once, so that you can try different dishes without feeling full. And if your preference is sushi, no problem. Every Wednesday the menu is transformed and you will find hosomaki, uramaki, niguiris, sashimi, temaki, tempuras, and tatakis.
Tarara is a different restaurant from the other fusion ones. The small menu allows each dish to stand out by itself, with the flavors and the presentation showing the love the cooks have for what they do. It's worth every bite.