What makes Cícero Bistrot unique? This comfortable and beautifully decorated bistro uses local ingredients, cheeses, and duck imported from France, as well as several ingredients from the northeast of Brazil – such as dende oil and heart of palm, and prepares them using French culinary methods. The restaurant also showcases the works of contemporary artists with ties to both France and Brazil.
I was recently treated to lunch by the owner of the new Cícero Bistrot (opened July 22, 2022) in Campo De Ourique.
I drank two glasses of Vinho do Reino – Carlos Lucas red wine at 8€ each.
For an appetizer, I chose a traditional fish soup made with the local catch and served with slices of Portuguese truffle cornbread for 12€.
The cornbread softened up beautifully in the soup.
For my main dish I had red shrimp (carabineiro) and freshly caught sea bass in a coconut and palm oil sauce with basmati rice and parsley which sells for 39€.
I decided not to have a dessert, but the Pudim Abade de Priscos – a traditional Portuguese crème – caramel pudding served with a ball of lime sorbet, was highly recommended.
“It has a dichotomy of flavors with a beautiful contrast of eggs and lime.
A little pork meat is added for flavor,” said Marcelo de Magalhães e Sousa.
I asked owner Paulo Dalla Nora what he would choose from the menu, and he suggested the red shrimp, which I had.
“I like the carabineiro because of the dende oil. Its sweet flavor matches the carabineiro deep sea taste and merges very well with the oil, but the oil’s flavor is gentle and doesn’t overpower the flavor of the shrimp. It pairs well with fish and rice,” he said.
He also suggested a 12-day dry-aged young veal, “It is very tender with heart of palm (palmito). Chef makes a cream out of palmito. The veal is tender and the palmito blends well. It is cooked in a French style.”
Pleasant jazz played lightly in the background as I enjoyed my meal, and then afterward I was given a tour of Cícero Bistrot’s art collection.
Visitors can choose to take a tour of the gallery while their food is being prepared if they would prefer that.
The restaurant is inspired by and exhibits the works of two major modernist artists.
Cícero Dias (1907 – 2003) is one of the most famous modernist artists from Brazil. Cícero left Brazil to escape the dictatorship and moved to France, where he befriended Picasso. He worked in France until the Nazi invasion and then moved to Lisbon. The restaurant was named after him.
The other artist, Marianne Perretti, a French glass artist moved from Paris to Brasilia, where she designed the stained glass in the cathedral. She was the only female artist to have a role in the construction of the Brazilian capital. Her glasswork is one of the centerpieces at Cícero Bistrot.
The restaurant has three dining rooms and exhibits twenty-one works of art, including pieces by Cícero Dias and Marianne Peretti. Other contemporary artists in the collection include João Câmara, Lula Cardosa Ayres, and Killian Glasner whose work is also featured at the Gulbenkian Museum.
Chef Hugo Cortez was the chef of Tasca da Memória of the 5-star Wine and Books Hotel. He also worked with award-winning chef Henry Sá Pessoa at the Michelin Star winner Eleven.
According to Chef Hugo, he has visited the source of each of the ingredients that he serves, and samples everything that arrives at your table.
The wines are curated by sommelier Rodolfo Tristão, formerly of Michelin Star-winning Belcanto.
The restaurant is located in the Campo De Ourique neighborhood, near the final stop of Tram 28E.
If you are looking for something to do once you ride Tram 28E to the end of the line, you could hop off and have a meal and enjoy a great private art collection
Cícero Bistrot is located at Rua Saraiva do Carvalho 171. They are Closed Mondays. Lunch is served Tuesday – Saturday from 12 until 3:30. Dinner is from 7 pm until 11 pm. Sundays the restaurant is open from noon until 7 pm.
Served by Tram 25E, 28E, Bus 709, Bus 744
See the full menu here: