Whoop whoop, put your hands up, if you’re a sweet potato fan! Whoop whoop, put your (…)! Can you feel the beat? I bet you can if thinking about sweet potato makes your heart race (mine didn’t stop yet). I can’t think in another ingredient that makes me feel so excited. Once featured in any dish menu, it’s mandatory for me to order it. Roasted, boiled, fried, mashed, raw (ok, too much) baked, dried, pâté, whatever – it always tastes great. Obviously there’s a nutritional aka guilty by association side that makes me love this super tuber even more but it’s the texture mixed with its natural flavor.
It’s one of those ingredients that doesn’t need much to shine and I respect its genuine simplicity.
In Portugal, the strongest regions producing it are the South (Alentejo and Algarve) and the islands (Madeira and Azores). So, let’s get down to business. Below you’ll find my most beloved recommended dishes that brilliantly display the sweet potato like royalty on a plate (and no, sweet potato chips don’t count).
#1. Fried scallops with Aljezur sweet potato, green asparagus and tomato by Cantinho do Avillez
I usually visit Cantinho several times throughout the year and I swear I always make a huge effort to not order this dish so I can try new ones but… it’s always a massive fail. Besides THE sweet queen (swaggy name!) it also features another of my favorites ingredients: scallops and asparagus! They put a few drops of thick balsamic vinegar on top which makes everything even better. It costs 19,55€ and worths every cent.
#2. Chicken salad with lettuce heart by Cantinho do Avillez
No, we’re not sponsored by them! What can we do if Chef José Avillez has an impressive good taste? Eat his food! They also have this fantastic salad (16,80€) paying an homage to the widely known Ceaser salad but way better. It has a smoky taste impossible to define. The lettuce heart is slightly chargrilled, the chicken breast is perfectly moist which tastes even better by the addition of fried bits of its skin. It also has prosciutto, cherry tomato, parmesan cheese and olives.
#3. Tuna steak in Madeira’s carob flat bread, herb butter and sweet potato by Sea Me
Everytime I order this dish, I feel I’m paying too much for it but then both the tuna and the sweet potato together battle against my financial instinct – it costs 14,50€. This is by far one of the simplest and best tuna dishes with sweet potato in Lisbon city. The crispiness crust outside and the soft mellow inside of the potato awake all my taste buds at once. It’s served with 3 sauces on the side (don’t miss the Dijon mustard!) and it can be ordered depending on the tuna availability.
#4. Slab of baby back Ribs with sweet potato fries by Ribs & Company
Odivelas?! That’s what you’ll hear from your companion about having dinner at this place, especially if you live more than 25km away (like me!). Swallow your pride and keep your head held high because you’ll be claimed winner at the end with a brilliant knock-out. This place has recently been added to my top favorite fast food restaurants. The sweet potato here is served as a side dish costing (1,75€) if ordered together with the main or as an extra (2,95€). Tender and crispy in the right measure, served in a large portion and orange, really orange like a sweet potato must be!
#5. Codfish by The Insólito
This dish was simply named Codfish but it contains a lot more than you can tell, like everything in this restaurant. It’s one of my favorites from their menu. The cod tenderloin is served with an olive oil confit, white garlic sauce, violet sweet potato purée, baby asparagus, quail egg and pak choy (19,00€). Uff! I don’t know any other restaurant in Lisbon doing violet sweet potato purée and for that I commend them! They have another dish with sweet potato gnocchi and if you’re not afraid to be called a weirdo (silently by the waiter), you can kindly ask if the Chef can put some for you on the codfish dish. If you’re too shy to do that, thank you for letting me be the only weirdo.
#6. Fried sweet potato with caramel and sesame seeds by Mr. Lu
Gotta tell you – Mr. Lu is the man. He owns a restaurant in Arroios which serves some of the best real and badass chinese food, from frog legs to duck tongue. Usually the desserts are not the most important pick on a chinese meal but this one made my umami heart cry tears of joy. It’s the stickiest dessert I’ve found in my food journey and is unbelievable good – sweet potato squares covered with a shiny glaze of caramel sauce with sprinkles of sesame seeds (4,90€)! Whatever you decide to eat at Mr. Lu restaurant, this dish is a must-order.
If by any chance you hate sweet potato but did read this entire post, you were warned that this was exclusively for fans and you might have a secret admiration for the tuber as well… weirdo! 🙂
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