Restaurante Bonjardim, Lisbon



I’ve just been to Portugal for The European Wine Bloggers Conference. Obviously this is a food blog, but I’ve been making an effort in recent months to really get stuck into the rather daunting task of learning more about wine. I drink enough of the stuff, yet always seem to have a problem retaining information about it; this must change.

That said then, I’m not actually going to write about the wine in this post, as I need some time to consolidate, assimilate and generally gather up my thoughts on a topic I’ve never been confident in writing about. The post will need some careful consideration. In the meantime, a review which skips off my fingertips with minimum effort: Bonjardim restaurant not far from Rossio square. We’d received a recommendation from Bibendum’s Willie Lebus who raved about their spit-roast chicken, and so we wasted no time in heading there on our first night and ordering a big pile of chook, chips and salad.

At most restaurants in Lisbon, the waiter brings a selection of nibbles such as ham, cheese and pâté to your table before you place your order. If you eat them however, you will be charged. Fortunately for us, the charming waiter in Bonjardim informed us of this; bonus points for that. We no doubt ordered a round of Super Bock: a refreshing, ice-cold lager which can be found everywhere in Lisbon, or was certainly to be found everywhere that we went, and was permanently attached to our hands (a person can get wined out you know). It was light, fizzy and went down like a dream. Bish Bash Bock.

The mountain of chicken arrived on a silver platter and the feeding frenzy ensued, with myself and my mate polishing off two quarters each and then splitting a third. It comes with a dinky little pot of piri-piri sauce which seemed to consist of chilli flakes, oil and salt as far as I could tell and was highly addictive. You dunk the brush into the pot, swirling to get a good dose of those spicy flakes and then brush onto your bird as desired. A few stray hairs from a well-used brush were picked off and then it was nothing but me, my face and chicken; we probably should have got a room. The skin was golden and crisp with just the right amount of soft fat remaining beneath, like eating really good crackling. The flesh was super juicy within. I suspect they turn over tables very quickly because the chicken was so moist; it had clearly not been hanging around for long. A well dressed salad offered some freshness and went some way to giving the impression of eating healthy stuff. The whole lot, including wine, came to around 15 euros each and we left with full bellies, high spirits and huge enthusiasm for a crawl of the famous Ginjinhas: shops which specialise in smooth and sweet cherry brandy served in little shot sized paper cups with booze steeped cherries lurking in the bottom, if you’re lucky.

Three days later, feeling delicate to say the least, my mate and I returned to Bonjardim to gorge ourselves once more. What better hangover cure than spicy chicken and lots of it, followed by a final mopping up of juices and a dunking of bread in the piri-piri pot. We washed it all down with copious amounts of Bock, naturally. Service was charming and sweet, our waiter waving us a cheery goodbye when he left at the end of his shift. We were still settled firmly in our seats, well on the way to our next hangover, which may have had something to do with the scale of our beers in the bar afterwards (see below); my puny wrist strained to lift the glass.

Bonjardim is a little gem, tucked away in the side streets of Lisbon among a lot of other restaurants which all look pretty much the same. I can’t comment on the rest of their menu, but I can advise you to order chicken and chips, lick your lips and eat, drink and be merry. Bonjardim does simple, unpretentious food in the rather shabby and sometimes dilapidated, yet always charming and pretty back streets of Lisbon; you’d be a fool not to pay it a visit.

Restaurante Bonjardim

Travessa de Santo Antão 12,
1150 Lisboa,
+351 213 427 424

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  • Avatar
    Reply Lizzie November 4, 2009 at 4:20 pm

    It was a great recommendation, I’m glad we went. Your lunchtime salad looks a bit healthier than the one we’d had a couple nights previous.

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    Reply msmarmitelover November 4, 2009 at 4:36 pm

    Beautiful photos…

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    Reply Su-Lin November 4, 2009 at 7:12 pm

    omg, i am craving roast chicken like nobody’s business.

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    Reply Wendy November 4, 2009 at 8:09 pm

    Lovely photos. Such vivid colours!

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    Reply Helen @ World Foodie Guide November 4, 2009 at 10:25 pm

    Great photo of you from Lizzie! The chicken looks absolutely delicious…

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    Reply Helen November 4, 2009 at 11:47 pm

    Lizzie – ooh does it? I don’t remember the salad the first night. I wonder why?
    MsMarmiteLover – thank you, I have been trying to improve…
    Su-Lin – sorry about that!
    Wendy – thank you 🙂 Portugal is a colourful place.
    Helen – it was ollie!

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    Reply James November 5, 2009 at 12:04 am

    What a masterpiece – the chicken makes a great canvas.

    Nice ploy too – wafting stuff infront of you anfd charging when you eat it. Should try that one 😉

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    Reply ginandcrumpets November 5, 2009 at 9:14 am

    I can see I am going to be driven wild with jealousy by these Portugal posts. That chicken looks so good, I am considering finding an early morning rotisserie and having chicken for breakfast. There’s nothing better than ripping into roast chicken with your fingers – although getting to make it up first with peri-peri is a bonus.

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    Reply Isabel Nazare November 5, 2009 at 9:26 am

    Hi helen!
    I have been reading your blog for quite a long time and I am so pleased that you mention Portugal and particularly Lisbon where I come from.

    I am happy you enjoyed your stay there and your meals at Bonjardim 😉
    You should visit again, Lisbon has so much to offer in terms of food! (culture as well of course!)


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    Reply Gourmet Chick November 5, 2009 at 2:49 pm

    Sounds like you had a great time in Lisbon Helen. I went to Bonjardim when I was there in Feb and loved the spicy chicken as well – the chips were a bit of a disappointment but it really is a great place

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    Reply Gary Green November 5, 2009 at 9:28 pm

    I’m getting me some Super Bock tonight. Thanks for the great post!

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    Reply Mr Noodles November 5, 2009 at 10:25 pm

    “I drink enough of the stuff, yet always seem to have a problem retaining information about it; this must change.”

    I think this is a common problem and in my case, it isn’t just information about the wine, I struggle to retain.

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    Reply Dan November 6, 2009 at 1:42 pm

    Keep drinking tankards like that and those puny wrists will soon be transformed into bars of steel.

    Bock Bock Bock

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    Reply gastrogeek November 6, 2009 at 3:00 pm

    I wish I’d gone to this it sounds like you had so much fun! “Bish bash bock” Ha! where do you get this stuff from?! Classic.

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    Reply Faithful Foodie November 7, 2009 at 11:12 am

    Hi, I’ve just created a new website for UK food lovers, where you can share food recipes, food articles and food video’s. I am looking for members to submit some content before the site goes live. I would be grateful if you could have a look and maybe help me out by submitting some articles or recipes.

    Thank you
    Luke Williams
    (Faithful Foodie)

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    Reply Ollie November 8, 2009 at 12:21 pm

    Terrific write-up – that photo of the bottom of the Bock glass is worryingly familiar. It was a brilliant recommendation, wasn’t it? God, I could tuck into another chicken now…

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    Reply An American in London November 8, 2009 at 4:51 pm

    “Bonjardim is a little gem, tucked away in the side streets of Lisbon”

    You know, I remember this place being right off the Avenida da Liberdade, which is a tourist thoroughfare. I’d tried out Bonjardim because it was in my Lonely Planet guidebook, and overall, the atmosphere and company were better than the chicken.

    Sounds like a sunny, fun (boozy?) weekend away, though. : )

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    Reply Charlie November 12, 2009 at 2:27 pm

    AWEsome! get that stein down!

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    Reply nick baines November 18, 2009 at 1:58 pm

    your food styling and photography is amazing.

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    Reply vivienne November 20, 2009 at 2:39 pm

    would you come and talk us through the food down Peckham Rye lane for http://www.southcityradio.org ? I want to do an article and need to talk to someone who knows all about the food stuffs.
    please email southcityradio@googlemail.com

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    Reply Allison October 11, 2010 at 12:33 pm

    It’s a pity no prices are mentioned.

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    Reply Helen October 11, 2010 at 6:44 pm

    Is that a question, Allison? I can’t remember exactly how much the chicken costs but it is definitely a budget place – about 6 euros I think, something like that. Certainly not more than 10.

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