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Luar de Janeiro – A Hidden Restaurant in the Sidestreets of Évora

Not long ago, we made a promise to add shorter posts to the Catavino mix. And while we’ve tried, old habits die hard.

Today, I intend to make up for our verboseness by simply giving a shout out to one of the best restaurants I’ve recently dined at called, Luar de Janeiro. While giving a social media workshop to a group of wineries in Évora, Portugal, a few speakers and I wandered the windy backstreets in search of a restaurant. Our friend Ricardo, having been there quite recently, suggested a location that only locals could ever find.

For those who aren’t familiar with Évora, it’s a walled city with such narrow streets that 2 people abreast find it difficult to maneuver their way down. Our destination just happened to be at the end of one such street; and I will say right now, if you are in Évora, DO NOT attempt to find this restaurant on your own! Ask directions. You won’t regret it.

The epitomy of a family restaurant, there are no fancy place settings or doting waiters, just an owner who knowledgeable and eager to help you with your order. On that particular evening, it was a Pork Tenderloin (Lombinho do Porco) and a bottle of Zagalos 2006. That’s it! Sure, there was a plate of homemade potatoes, a bit of creamy rice and a touch of spinach, but the main plate was primarily garnished with meat and a slice of lemon. Porco Preto, as it’s known, from the black footed pigs that give Spain its Jamon Iberico, is pure and exquisite. Quite often, Portuguese platters look stark, highlighting one singular item, but as the Portuguese are so confident of its quality, they know not to mess it up with extras.

The wine was a treat that I hadn’t had in a few years. Second label from Quinta do Mouro, it showed fine tannins and juicy chocolate and cherry notes with a fresh acidity – perfect to complement the rich porcine flesh.

If you are in Évora, don’t miss this back-alley treat. Order what the owner tells you to, and revel in the simple perfection of whatever is served.

Ryan Opaz

Luar de Janeiro
Travessa do Janeiro 13
7000 Évora, Portugal
266 749 114

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