Ânfora — Lisbon, Portugal
In a city that is as enthusiastic about cuisine as Lisbon is, the arrival of a new restaurant will always generate a buzz.
Set in Palácio do Governador - a swish hotel in Belém on the fringe of Lisbon’s city centre - Ânfora stands out for its elegant dining room designed by Nini Andrade Silva.
Vaulted ceilings - from the original 18th century building, which was the former home of the governor of the Tower of Belém - and soft considered lighting creates a cosy atmosphere that is freshened up by bold blue hues and a contemporary motif inspired by the traditional painted Portuguese tiles - or azulejos - that can be found on oversized cushions, wall hangings and crockery.
In the kitchen, chef André Lança Cordeiro - fresh from his post at Clinique La Prairie in Switzerland - has conceived a modern menu that highlights the flavours of Portugal, using fresh, seasonal ingredients. This translates into perfectly executed sole stuffed with spinach and mushrooms, or ribbons of squid served as carbonara with a deliciously soft slow-cooked egg yolk.
Of course, the best thing about dining in a hotel restaurant, is - after a sleepy postprandial cocktail - the idea of meandering upstairs to one of the property’s 60 guest rooms.