A few weeks ago, my husband took me out for my birthday to Notes Bar & Kitchen, a newish restaurant in downtown Coimbra. We ate lunch here once before with friends when it first opened, and I'd been wanting to return to try their petiscos (Portuguese tapas) for dinner. Not only did the dinner menu look amazing, but they have a vast selection of wines and beers, including the less-commonly-served local craft brews. These beverages are displayed on the shelves near the bar and are available for take-away.
We were seated along with two glasses of prosecco on the house, which we sipped on while we perused the menu. There was a large selection of petiscos, some snacks and half a dozen entrees, most of which were modernized takes on Portuguese classics with a few European influences. We decided on the Beef Tartare, Salmon Ceviche, Pica Pau, and Roasted Padron Peppers (which reminded me of a much milder, thin-fleshed version of our New Mexican chiles).
I highly recommend all the dishes we tried. It was my first time tasting Beef Tartare, but my husband figured I'd like it since I'm a big fan of beef carpaccio. The fresh beef paired nicely with the spicy mustard and was gone in record time. The Salmon Ceviche was made with diced avocados in a soy sauce and citrus marinade and was excellent. The blend of spices and flavors in the Pica Pau was complex and tasty, and although the pork itself was just slightly less tender than I prefer, I would definitely try this again. The Padron Peppers were lightly salted and topped with a hard cheese similar to parmesan and brought back all kinds of nostalgia for chile season in New Mexico.
For dessert, we went with two of our favorites: Pavlova and a Quadruple Chocolate special. The pavlova was a light, crispy meringue topped with fresh whipped cream and a sauce of frutos vermelhos (red fruits or berries). The Quadruple Chocolate special turned out to be a light and creamy ice box cake over white chocolate mousse topped with pomegranate and walnuts. I'm not sure what the 4 types of chocolate were, but they blended together well in a dessert that I could have easily eaten twice.
If you haven't visited Notes yet, I highly recommend this restaurant with its tasty food and exceptional customer service. For any English-speakers, the omnipresent owners studied and worked in the UK before coming to Portugal to open this restaurant, so your language is spoken here. Notes Bar & Kitchen is located at Rua Doutor Manuel Rodrigues, 17, 3000-387 which is easily accessible by public transportation or private vehicle.