Eat ocean-fresh seafood like the locals: Cascais, Portugal’s Panorama Guincho

There’s a restaurant right on the Atlantic Ocean that’s been beloved by generations of Portuguese families for 30 years: Cascais’ Panorama Guincha. In a country rich with ocean and river seafood, they’ve been voted “Best seafood in Portugal”. It’s also been recognized by Michelin. I was happy to be hosted to experience it!

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The ambiance is kept contemporary, light and clean, so as not to distract from the spectacular views of the ocean and dunes.

As to the food, their fish is fished from the Atlantic Ocean. That means, they don’t serve anything from aquaculture, farmed. Their chef has been with them a long time, which is rare in the restaurant world. The recipes are simple and well done. Despite the modern decor, they consider themselves “old school”.

With bread service, they serve butter from their southern islands, the Azores. It had a clean, rich flavor, but without the sour lactic taste that’s common in European butters.

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They also served a Portuguese, domain-protected cheese: Queijo de Azeitao, D.O.P. I love runny cheeses that you can scoop with a spoon. With these, you definitely want to give them breathing time outside the refrigerator. This cheese is described in literature as “salty, sour, herby”. I noticed rich cream, mushrooms, a bit of salt.

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Next, I tried their version of gambas a la guilho: shrimp in garlic butter. Here, the owner of the restaurant developed their recipe with the chef. They add pimento to their golden, melted butter. Very tender and the garlic is subtle.

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Something that visiting families order for the table — and you should, too — is the whole baked in bread sea bass. It is their rare specialty! They bake a thin layer of braided bread around the fish until its really crispy. The fish inside keeps so juicy! It’s a clean, mild, flaky fish that is beloved by people young and old. They present it with gravy boats of herbed olive oil, a Hollandaise and a remoulade. Also, a bottle of local rich olive oil is available to really keep things simple but luscious. And yes, you eat the bread, too!

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I ordered a dessert that looked pretty for you to see. Others with me ordered more traditional, simple desserts like a citrus/coconut pie. They looked awesome: as in, you could sit in front of the tv eating one with a fork and find that you had gone through the whole thing.

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The house Port (well, it is Portugal!) is 10 year old Blackett white Port. It’s relatively new on the market. It’s got creamy white chocolate notes and you serve it very chilled. Fantastic!

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