JOSE AVILLEZ’ MINI BAR TAKES CENTER STAGE

In Lisbon’s trendy Chiado district, Mini Bar is immediately recognizable. The latest offering from renowned chef José Avillez, it’s housed within the Teatro São Luiz structure—a theater built in 1894 and renovated in 1928. It exudes the charm and understated glamor of an after-hours speakeasy with a menu that is literally, “Epic.”

The “mini” in Mini Bar refers to the food rather than the layout. Split into two sections, the front room plays host to a vast array of tempting cocktails. To the back, frosted glass dividers, wood paneling and art deco light fixtures set the scene for a memorable dining experience.

While the menu could be described as tapas-style, these dishes are quite unlike any you have tasted. Here, it’s best to expect the unexpected as Avillez and his team add an innovative twist to some of your favorite dishes served in “Acts”—as an homage to their theatrical home. Like to kick things off with a drink? Why not try a chewable Caipirinha or perhaps a bite-sized Margarita is more your style?

As for food, I recommend the Epic tasting menu which features over six courses chosen by the chef. It delivers a tantalizing selection of Mini Bar favorites from the incredible Foie gras Ferror Rocher bonbon to the moreish Algarve prawn ceviche served on a lime slice. Each dish is served on its own, specially designed plateware, and perfectly proportioned to add an explosion of flavor in one bite. Finish off with the memorable Lemon-Lime Globe then dance off the calories from 11pm as the DJ takes over. This is experiential dining at its best.— Mini Bar Teatro São Luiz Rua António Maria Cardoso, nº58 Chiado Lisbon, MiniBar.pt ANGELA GILLTRAP