Haven of modern Portuguese cuisine opens inside historic palace
Cavalariça is a new restaurant in the Alentejo region of Portugal that combines innovative cooking with historic surroundings and contemporary art
Cavalariça Évora, the new restaurant inside the sprawling 14th-century Cavadal Palace (Palácio Duques de Cadaval), is a haven of modern Portuguese cuisine. It’s the latest outpost for the Portuguese restaurant, following locations in Lisbon and Comporta.
‘Cavalariça Évora is the third space of the brand,’ says co-owner and chef Bruno Caseiro, ‘located in an iconic site in the centre of the city. Keeping true to the values of the brand, the food and drinks menus reflect care [taken over] the selection of producers and suppliers, respecting the seasons, [and working] with a sustainable and organic approach, trying to achieve the best quality possible.’
The new Cavalariça’s versatile menu is designed to appeal to all palates, making it a reliable and convenient watering hole in the heart of Évora. The most notable dishes on offer are a celebration of the Alentejo region’s cooking traditions and exceptional agriculture. On offer is a cured dogfish ‘punheta’, which combines traditional Portuguese raw salted cod with a local dogfish soup of vinegary onion, coriander, sliced garlic and coriander stalks; and tartar made out of Mertolenga beef sourced from a nearby farm and tuna cured in the restaurant; alongside a punchy Queijo da Joana sheep’s cheese.
The menu also features classic Portuguese dishes enlivened by international flavours, such as empanadas filled with local lamb and a freshly made green seaweed chimichurri; and runner bean, broad bean and pea tempura served with Japanese tendashi sauce infused with the flavours of Portuguese green sauce (molho verde).
The defining aspect of the restaurant’s interiors is a series of wall paintings and a courtyard mural by Esther Mahlangu that were commissioned as part of the Cavadal Palace’s 2018 exhibition ‘African Passions’. Mahlangu is a South African artist from the Ndebele nation and her boldly patterned, brightly coloured works are a direct reference to traditional Ndebele design. At Cavalariça Évora, her paintings are harmoniously situated within an interior designed by Jacques Grange, featuring a hand-painted black and yellow ceiling, white and green floor mosaics, rattan chairs and red booths.
By blending traditional cuisine, a historic location and modern design, Cavalariça Évora has poised itself to become one of Portugal’s best new restaurants. It is a unique location that, as Caseiro says, ‘represents Portugal and Alentejo with the Cavalariça signature’. §