It's been a big few months for superstar Portuguese chef Jose Avillez and his flagship restaurant Belcanto. Not only did the two-Michelin-starred establishments make it to number 42 on "The World's 50 Best Restaurants List", but the destination diner has been moved to bigger, brighter premises.
It's a bold move, considering the original Belcanto opened in 1958, in Chiado, in the beautiful Sao Carlos Square, next to the Sao Carlos National Theatre and in the house where the great Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa was born. All that made it a venerable institution, with Belcanto a meeting place for the city's elite.
After an extensive refurb, Belcanto by Jose Avillez opened in 2012. In that same year, Belcanto was awarded its first Michelin star, and in 2014 its second, making the restaurant Libson's first to achieve that status, and Avillez the first chef in the entire country to be so awarded.
Avillez remains all about evolution however, and recently moved Belcanto – next door. The restaurant, with vaulted ceilings and blush pink accents is wider, but the kitchen is now closer to the dining room offering guests a more involved experience. Given his culinary vision – and the execution thereof by Belcanto's cooking team has been known to make people cry with wonder and delight – expect the tables closest to the kitchen to be in high demand.
Hugely awarded, with his own TV shows and a vast number of books and columns to his name, Avillez now has a dozen restaurants across Portugal, China and Dubai.
Belcanto is now at Rua Serpa Pinto, 10. See belcanto.pt