Ramiro’s seemed frantically busy, waiters rushing past with stacks of buttered rolls and platters of crab, lobster and other spiny creatures. But there were seats left empty between tables for two. We quickly understood why: cracking open crab claws is a messy business. They will bring you an ipad with pictures and translations into multiple languages, so that you can point at your preferred sea monster. Although there were a good number of tourists, a few locals still propped up the bar, with beers and plates of ham.
We ordered a plate of spiny snails, murex or canilhas, that come with a needle-like tool to pull them out of thier shells. Then a whole crab with two hammers. The delicate meat was perfect with the buttered toast, similar to an English muffin. After some crab went flying, the Portuguese gentlemen next to us showed us to put a paper napkin over the crab leg before whacking it. We mimed our apologies and our thanks. Then when they received a plate of buttery, garlicky clams it smelled so good, we instantly ordered the same although we we no longer hungry. With all the hard work and mess involved, somehow our cold beers seemed more appropriate (it is a Cervejaria, a brewing place, after all) than the white wine normally served with seafood.
Noisy and bustling and a lot of fun. There may be a wait in high season, but the turnover is quite quick. Drink a beer and watch the crustaceans crawling around in their tanks. Prices are in kilos which can be confusing. Expect to pay around 25 euros for a large crab, more expensive than some Lisbon restaurants but worth it for the experience.
Cervejaria Ramiro – 1-H, Av. Almirante Reis, 1150-007 Lisbon; metro: Intendente
Open Tuesday to Sunday 12pm til 12.30am; Closed Monday