Anyone who is familiar with the habits of Beira will know that the expression 'bem haja' often replaces a 'goodbye' or 'thank you'. It’s no wonder then that Isabel Raposa chose precisely these words to baptize in Lisbon, at Marcos Portugal street, nº 3, her establishment. Here, any meal is sorely missed and accompanied by the wish to return.
Isabel always ambitioned to have a restaurant and decided to create one from scratch, the Bem Haja de Nelas, whose name grew for 20 years. She then jumped south, more specifically to Campolide, where he stayed for two years. The space, however, was not what she was looking for and thus decided to bet in another area of the capital. Such a commercial adventure required a second strong-arm, and the ideal choice fell upon Antonio Paulo, a physician by profession, cousin by degree of kinship, and friend of Isabel's since forever, who promptly agreed to her proposal to create a restaurant in Lisbon.
When prospecting the city, they found in the Marcos de Portugal street, in nº 3, the perfect place, that already had lodged other restaurants. Here the quiet environment that is felt in the surrounding square spreads throughout the doors and the familiarity exudes from the furniture, in a duality of rustic-elegant that recalls the own house of many Portuguese. It may even be said that the expression 'bem haja' was not the only custom Isabel brought from Beira. In the restaurant, guests can enjoy gastronomic specialties such as grilled cod with mountain’s cheese, octopus a la lagareiro, veal with mashed fava beans and coriander, and migas from ‘beira’, made with cornbread, cabbage and octopus’s fillets. The mountain’s cheese is, moreover, a strong bet on the establishment, and the cheese production facilities that Isabel's husband once owned was undoubtedly an inspiration and support for this concept. As in any typical restaurant, you couldn’t miss the good wines and here are those of Dão, Douro and Alentejo that are present.
As for the clientele, it’s quite varied: habitués and tourists, both national and international, fill this establishment daily. Incidentally, many of the customers who frequent the restaurant, were already doing so in Nelas, proof that a good house creates lasting relationships.
Despite all the stability that Bem Haja enjoys, Isabel and Antonio do not hesitate to innovate. As examples of gastronomic innovation, we mentioned the veal steak, whose purée used to be made of apple and the presence of a cook who came to the restaurant to present two original curry dishes. As for events we can enjoy them in their most varied aspects, from opera to rock concerts planned for the near future. On Tuesdays we can also count on fado nights, which are a success.
The reception of this new phase of Bem Haja has been positive since the inauguration, in which were expected 20 to 30 people and appeared, much to the surprise of Isabel and António, more than 100, prolonging the evening until 3 am, with wines offered by Niepoort and href='https://www.sograpevinhos.com/' target='_blank' rel='noopener'>Sogrape.
This is a restaurant that’s a reflection of the street it’s in as well as street environment itself, with invitingly open doors and hot dishes on the table. Come in and treat yourself!