We’ve all heard about the food in Portugal. Whether it’s the seafood, the cuts of meat, or even the wine, Portugal’s culinary scene has boomed in recent years. Some would say the best food is in the capital, Lisbon, or in other popular regions like the Algarve, Alentejo, or Douro Valley. However, there are always outliers. In the surf town of Ericeira, roughly an hour north of Lisbon, the ocean isn’t the only thing making waves. Emme Restaurant at Immerso is bringing in people from all over to dine at this culinary marvel.
To get to Ericeira you drive through the rolling hills until you reach the ocean. The beaches here aren’t filled with families or tourists but rather surfers and adventurers looking out to sea. Here amongst the hills, ocean breeze, and stunning scenery, you will find Immerso. This is the recently opened luxury hotel that has everyone talking. As you enter the hotel you see the Emme Restaurant front and center. In fact, as you drive up there aren’t only signs for the hotel but for the restaurant itself. From this, it is clear that both the hotel and the restaurant draw in a crowd. You don’t just find hotel guests dining here but the clientele is from all over, locals and tourists alike.
Emme Restaurant operates under the leadership of the Portuguese culinary giant, Chef Alexandre Silva. He first came to national prominence by winning the Portuguese version of Top Chef. However, he already had a following for his work at the restaurant Bocca. In 2012 when Bocca closed its doors Silva spent a few years working at different restaurants. Then, he finally opened his restaurant Loco, and his reputation was solidified by winning a Michelin star. He is considered one of Portugal’s most exciting and creative chefs and brings that flair to his work at the Emme Restaurant at Immerso.
The open-plan restaurant is set in a space with high wooden ceilings and floor-to-ceiling windows. This lets in tons of natural light and showcases the stunning views of the hotel. The windows of the interior open out onto a terrace where there is both a lounge and outdoor seating. If it’s not too windy, have dinner outside while watching the sunset over the sea. All the furniture is done in a wood and rattan combination that adds a rustic yet chic atmosphere to the restaurant.
When booking a meal at Emme it is good to keep in mind that there are two separate menus: an all-day menu and a dinner menu. The all-day menu’s starters range from ceviche to tartar, cheese boards to oysters. One dish that remains the same on both menus which is a must, is the selection of freshly baked bread with accompanying seaweed butter. For the lunch menu’s main course, there is a selection of sandwiches, salads, and grilled seafood. While it is tempting to make the trip here for lunch, dinner is the main attraction. When you arrive, talk to the sommelier about your order and get advice on picking a wine. There are tons of options including a selection of wines made in different parts of Portugal.
For dinner, pretty much anything you get is going to be top quality at Emme Restaurant. The fire-cooked oysters are something to behold, but the other starters are equally as compelling. The main course is an array of seafood, meats, and vegetables each arranged with precision and extreme attention to detail. The fish of the day is always a good choice because it is decided based on what’s available at the market each day. While all the seafood and meat are locally and sustainably sourced, the vegetables and herbs come straight from the organic garden at Immerso. This makes a difference to the flavors and when combined with the creativity and passion of the chefs you can’t go wrong.
From the moment you enter, you are greeted with the utmost hospitality and service. The waiters aren’t rushing you at any point of the meal. Take your time, and ask all the questions you want about the different dishes and wines so that you can order knowing what you want. On a personal note, when I went for dinner we didn’t say that we were celebrating a birthday yet they figured it out. We were brought glasses of champagne and they didn’t charge us for our desserts. These are the personal touches that take the Emme Restaurant at Immerso the extra mile when it comes to quality and service.