“LISBOA RESTOBAR IS THE HEARTBEAT OF CIUTAT VELLA OF VALENCIA”
24/7 Valencia: Tell us about the rebranding of your company. What was the motivation behind the change from CAFE LISBOA to LISBOA RESTOBAR?
Patricia of Lisboa Restobar: The name change finally came into effect in 2022, although it was something we had been thinking about for a long time. Since Ciutat Vella was declared a ZAS zone and the opening hours began to be cut back, we were forced to make a change as it was clear that we were not going to be able to survive for much longer just on coffees and drinks. So, now we give importance to our kitchen by prioritising lunch and dinner. It has been a very gradual change and little by little we have become what we are today. A Restobar with Mediterranean and market cuisine.
24/7 Valencia: I understand that your logo represents the link between Valencia and Portugal’s capital, Lisbon. Could you explain what you think are the parallels between these two European cities?
Patricia: Our logo goes right back to the first owner of Café Lisboa, Toni Peiz. He was in love with Lisbon, and he created a logo with great transatlantic ships that departed from its port…with something as typical and Valencian as ‘El Miguelete’. They are both cities that look out to the sea and whose people have similar characteristics. When Toni Rodilla and Pep Benet took over Café Lisboa, they maintained the name, the logo and the essence of the place.
24/7 Valencia: What cuisine does your restaurant focus on?
Patricia: Our cuisine is above all Mediterranean and market cuisine. We have a menu of Valencian dishes in the form of tapas. Here we are very fond of sharing everything and our menu is designed for this. As they say here, sharing is living!
We have everything from mackerel pickled by us (recipe of our head chef), more classic dishes like Iberian ham, assorted croquettes or Valencian tomato salads with tuna belly and pickles to start and we can finish with either meat or fish. Cuttlefish from the fish market with our picada or the marinated Iberian Secreto are our top dishes. Although we always have dishes off the menu, including our daily rice dish, which is different every day and ranges from the classic Valencian chicken and rabbit paella, seafood paella to sweet rice dishes such as those with octopus and artichokes.
24/7 Valencia: Given your proximity to Mercado Central, are your product’s ingredients locally sourced?
Patricia: The central market is one of our regular suppliers. All our vegetables, most of our meat, sausages, nuts, cheeses, eggs and a long list of other products come from the market. It is a real pleasure to be just a few metres away from the Central Market, a European benchmark, both on a gastronomic level and an architectural level.
24/7 Valencia: I have enjoyed your cocktails and seen more on your Lisoba Restobar Instagram page. Could you tell us more about your signature drinks?
Patricia: Our best-selling cocktail has got to be our Agua de Valencia by far! We were among the pioneers in including it in our offer back in the 1970s and even today it is still the queen of cocktails, but that’s not all we do here. We are lucky enough that one of our managers is also a cocktail maker and very passionate about cocktails so whenever she can, she surprises us with novelties!!
You can enjoy all our cocktails for lunch or dinner and then from 16:00h to 19:00h we close our kitchen to continue preparing for the next pass.
24/7 Valencia: Over the years, do you have any stories of anybody famous dining with you?
Patricia: Yes, to be honest many famous people from all walks of life and from all over the world have been here. From politicians, musicians, actors, writers, magicians, comedians, rockstars, the list goes on and they continue to visit to this day. We don’t give names because when they are sitting here with us, they’re not “famous”; they are just simply people enjoying their time with us.
24/7 Valencia: LISBOA RESTOBAR has been distinguished for its multicultural attitude. Could you describe to us the types of exhibitions, book presentations and talks that you host here?
Patricia: Yes, we have always stood out for that, and we continue to be open to proposals. We have made countless book presentations and held many social gatherings. We have also been the stage for video clips, TV commercials, short films etc. In the old days, we also held exhibitions and we always had one hanging on our walls, but with all the changes we have undergone there are now things that just no longer fit us in the same way as before. But as I say, we still have a receptive attitude to everything cultural and we do everything that we can.
24/7 Valencia: CAFÉ LISBOA has been around for a very long time withstanding a financial crisis in 2008 and a global pandemic in 2020. What do you hope for the future of LISBOA RESTOBAR?
Patricia: As Café Lisboa, we have been open since the 1970s and so we have been though all the crises since then. We have evolved through crisis after crisis in order to survive and all this has taught us how to keep going. Our hope is simply to continue for many more years to come…
Interview by Imogen Hockings
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