Eneko is the latest endeavour by chef Atxa, who has five Michelin stars to his name.
When Basque chef Eneko Atxa saw what used to be Alcântara Café in Lisbon, it was like “a thunderbolt, as if I’d seen the love of my life”. It’s a place with history and character that the owner of Azurmendi in Bilbao (three Michelin stars) wanted to maintain and preserve, as well as being the Penha Longa Resort’s (Sintra) most recent restaurant project.
A fine dining establishment that opened towards the end of 2019, Eneko Lisboa joins its namesakes in Tokyo, London, Bilbao (one star) and Larrabetzu (one star), in addition to Azurmendi and Bodega Gorka Izagirre (also in Larrabetzu). The old Alcântara Café is also home to Basque, a more informal and relaxed eatery.
It would be fair to predict a Michelin star for Eneko Lisboa, but for Atxa, the real prize is “filling the restaurant and making those eating there feel absolutely satisfied”. The chef hopes that, within a year, it will be a place “that has managed to position itself in a city as important as Lisbon”.
There are two menus: Erroak (roots) and Adarrak (branches). Dishes include roasted and peeled lobster, juice, coffee butter and purple onion from Zalla; Iberian pork “castañeta”, Idiazabal cheese bonbon, and whipped mushroom broth. Atxa likes to think of his restaurants as the limbs of a single body, where the team – in Lisbon his right-hand man is Chef Lucas Bernardes – works towards a common goal. He describes the two places: Basque has dishes that “feel informal and are made to share and enjoy”; Eneko boasts “a more complex, delicate, elegant gastronomic experience, where you pay attention to every detail”.
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