Pharmacia opened it’s doors to the public in 2011 inside the old National Pharmacy Association building by the hand of Chef Susana Felicidade and Tânia Martins. The two were already responsible for two successlful projects in Lisbon restauration scene, Taberna Ideal and Pestiscaria Ideal, both specialized in serving mostly Portuguese tapas or petiscos, as we call them in Portugal. This lovely restaurant is located relatively close to Elevador da Bica, more precisely in front of the beautiful viewpoint of Santa Catarina, also known by locals as Adamastor, with one of the greatest views of the Targus river and 25 de Abril bridge. The concept of the restaurant and it’s decoration is originally taking you back to an old pharmacy environment, with cupboards full of old botles, medicine containers and other interesting decorating elements. The water here is served in flasks and some cold soups in test tubes, some might think this is pushing the decoration concept a bit to the limit, meaning that it might be a bit strange for some people…Me personally I still find it fun and original.
The food that is served there can be considered as a new take on some of the most traditional Portuguese dishes and you can clearly recognise that the influence on some of them is coming from the Southern part of the country (from where Chef Susana Felicidade is originally from). Most of the food I tried everytime I went there was well prepared, with flavours and combinations very well balanced. The ingredients shine in each dish with a play of contrasts, as being a recognisable trait of Chef Felicidade menus, that assiduos clients would recognise so well from the previous restaurants. I wouldn’t like to go on without mentioning that the food is served in the most beautiful Bordallo Pinheiro tableware. From the dishes that I tried there I would like to highlight the spotless Razor Clam Rice, that was able to impress a fellow Algarvia ( same region where this dish is originally from), the Shrimp à Brás, the Duck Croquettes with orange jam and the Pica Pau (Sirloin strips with pickles and fried potatoes). Once I was unfortunate to be served a Shrimp à Brás dish a bit underseasoned, but it is still a very good dish that you should try. Then, that good strawberry mousse to finish the meal almost made one forget about that salt issue. The waiting service I have to say that was at times not particularly polite and showing some amateur behaviours. The medium price of a meal here is around 30 euros, which can be a slightly inflated price considering the portion sizes and the waiting service level provided. But to be fair you should consider that you are also paying for the location.
Overall, it is a place that I am always glad to return, for the food and for the atmosphere that is really nice. Even though I have to admit that being a fan of Chef Felicidade, I still run back to Taberna Ideal every time I really want to experience great food, nice waiting service and a more authentic Portuguese tavern environment.
If you want to visit Pharmacia don’t forget to make a reservation first, otherwise you might end up having to go somewhere else. Remember the restaurant closes on mondays.
Rua Marechal Saldanha, 1 – Santa Catarina
Tel: 213 462 146
Open from 13:00 to 01:00 (except on moday)