During my little trip to Lisbon, I took a day trip to Sintra to see the Castle of Moors and Pena Palace. Regular trains run from Lisbon Rossio station to Sintra, and then there are circuit bus routes that take you from the Sintra station to the hilltop. After a whole morning of walking (and a bit of a hike), I went back to the town centre of Sintra to find a spot for lunch. There are quite a few options available by the main roads but I got the impression that they could possibly be tourist traps. So I decided to wander off into the colourful cobbled streets of Sintra to find alternatives. And then I came across Tasca do Xico.
To be honest, Tasca do Xico wasn’t the first restaurant that caught my eye. But the other place I first spotted end up not open so I ended up there.
Tasca do Xico caught my attention with its adorable setting, with wooden tables lined with red and white checkered table cloth placed outside. On the other hand, the interior has a dimmer and more pub-style setting. The restaurant was really busy when I went and it took a little while before someone came forward to cleaned up one of the tables outdoors for me.
The menu offers a variety of classic Portuguese tapas dishes to choose from. Unlike a lot of the restaurants down the main road, the menu at Tasca do Xico isn’t overly broad and doesn’t serve a generic international tourist menu. That’s all pointing a good sign.
Gambas a Xico (€12)
I order some prawns as starters and chose Tasca do Xico’s house speciality one. Whole shelled prawns were used and it’s cooked in a lip-smacking garlic & tomato sauce. It’s very saucy and flavoursome, and the prawns carried a very fresh taste. It’s probably slightly messy to eat but in the best way. It’s been such a joy to be licking the sauces off your fingers. Would definitely recommend!
Prego Bacalhau (€12)
Prego sandwiches are a speciality of Portuguese cuisine. Since I yet to have one in this trip, I decided to try it out here especially when they have a non-meat option. This prego sandwich consists of a piece of bacalhau sandwiched in between a crusty prego bread roll.
The fish tasted fresh and it was so soft and flakey. The bread, though, was a bit hard to bite into at times. Despite knowing the harder crusty nature of prego rolls, they’re still too hard in my opinion. By the time I was done with the sandwich, it felt like my jaw just had an intense workout.
…Tasca do Xico had been a fairly good and adorable lunch spot in Sintra. I thoroughly enjoyed the prawns while the hard bread in the prego sandwich didn’t feel as nice. The staff were generally friendly but I feel the service could be quicker and more attentive. In overall, it’s a nice spot to stop by while you’re in Sintra.
After the meal, I continued strolling along Sintra centre with a satisfied belly and spent time taking in the spectacular views of this beautiful city. If you’re planning a trip to Lisbon, you MUST save a day just for Sintra!
Tasca do Xico does not serve halal meats. Seafood and vegetarian options available.
*Please double check with staff if alcohol is used for cooking in certain dishes