I was excited about trying L’Anima, as it makes big claims about serving good higher-end contemporary Italian food – something that never fails to get me excited. It also boasts about a long list of awards, albeit all pre-2012.
I went there for a Christmas work do so I guess you need to take that into consideration. The experience of mass-production of food from a Christmas set menu is never the same as the free-choice smaller scale event. Nevertheless I think you can still get a view about a place if you eat there and get served by its people.
If you were looking for skilled service, beautifully crafted menus and intricate dishes look elsewhere. This place is all about no-frills authenticity. And it’s all about the food, or at least, it’s all about the octopus. You may be thinking why would anyone get excited about eating octopus?
This is still one of my top 10 restaurants and my current favourite in Porto. It specialises in traditional Portuguese food that has been elevated to a fine foods standard. But don’t be fooled by the hauteur of the food. This place has got lots of soul. The atmosphere is intimate, subdued and rustic. Think exposed stone walls, cast iron props and traditional pottery.
The service is impeccable, with a good balance between attentive and friendly. It’s the kind of service that is always there but you don’t see it. Your needs are looked after permanently – as you remove your coat, it gently and swiftly gets taken away, your glass is always full, the table always clean, and you barely notice it all happening around you.
I had high expectations for Nopi, after all it is one of the restaurants of the much talked-about chef Yotam Ottolenghi. It had been on my bucket list for a while.
As you arrive, the ambience is relaxed with the clean white walls softened by the mellow lighting. The staff were polite and efficient but not especially warm.
The menu is very interesting and quite short, which is something I like, ‘do less things and do them well’ is my kind of philosophy.