Cafeína was a medium sized place in the corner of a building and has been in business for 24 years. Small, closely spaced tables were set with white clothes and napkins and padded chairs. Music played in the background, the floor was concrete with a rug in the center of the room, windows to the outside were on several walls, steel beams were structural yet decorative parts of the dining room and a bar counter is at the entry with dining rooms on both sides. Noise was not a problem even when the room was full. The place had a relaxed atmosphere with guests enjoying themselves and many appearing to be ‘regulars.’ The menu was a la carte but at lunch they did have a special offered that was 3 course with choices for each course. Specials on wine were also available for lunch. The lunch special menu was not translated but our server was happy to help with any terms we didn’t know. Service was efficient, friendly and helpful. The lunch menu really appealed and so we chose that option and some of their wines by the glass. The pours by the glass were fairly generous.
Breads were white and brown rolls and you could have one of each. With the rolls they served butter with salt, olives and a tomato-pepper relish. The olives were coated with herbs and pitted. All were quite good.
Our first course was Brás de Legumes or eggs with vegetables. The shreds of various vegetables were mixed with soft scrambled eggs and topped with chopped chives. It was warm and delicious, very savory with a lovely feel on the tongue. It was a winner.
The main course was Saltimboca com Risotto de Ervas or Saltimbocca with herb risotto. Saltimbocca is usually veal but this was beef and instead of topping with prosciutto it was a thin bacon of sorts on the top. The beef was mildly flavored with some meatiness and fairly juicy. It was tender and the bacon added to the flavor of the meat. The risotto was nicely runny with well cooked rice. This plate had lots of clean flavors that were fun to eat. Nice tastes overall here.
For dessert the Tarte de Pera e Amêndoa (Meia Fatia) – pear and almond pie (half slice) was quite good. The pie was served with ice cream and wonderful crisp crumbles on top of a rich sauce. The crust was good with the interior of the pie being a warm custard like texture. Lots of almond flavor here – it was really good.
For our other dessert I got a tip from the friendly folks at the table next to ours. They suggested a Fondant Caramel that was not on the menu but sometimes the restaurant had them and we lucked out that they did. It was a thin layer of cake filled with molten caramel, topped with powdered sugar and surrounded by a circle of berry drizzle. It was served warm and when you cut into it the rich, tasty caramel ran out. It exploded with flavor and great textures. A perfect amount of sweetness, this was a dessert to come back for again and again.