Asian Tavern

The first floor, the ground floor, is practically on the street; only a big window separating the city life from the hustle inside Soão. Coming in, Fujin, the Japanese God of Wind, welcomes us. We could actually be in one of the typical neighbourhood in Osaka, Shanghai, Bangkok, Tokyo or Hanoi, with unique the scents, the bustle and the restlessness of an Asian tavern, but being in Lisbon, in one of the city’s most vibrant restaurants.
In the room, the scents of the spices blend with the sounds of the art of cooking and with the conversations of the clients seated on the robata counter, the restaurant’s epicentre and the usual place for chef João Francisco, who cuts, grills and prepares some of the courses from the menu for the clients to see. It is precisely in the area adjacent to the counter that the sushi bar at Soão stands.
With 30 seats (12 at the counter), the room lives off the agitation associated to a typical tavern and is accurately decorated. Between the barrels of sakê, the paper lanterns, the bird cages, the kakemono engravings and a thousand and one objects that bring true authenticity of the oriental culture, an aquarium placed next to the counter stands out, designed exclusively by Fernando Ribeiro, the great global expert in aquariums. From there, lobsters, shrimps and the European lobster are taken for the chef’s creations.


Not being a Japanese restaurant, Soão dedicates one of his menus to the Japanese kitchen ex-libris. With its Sushi & Sashimi Menu, Soão honours the oriental gastronomy, or Japanese one.João Francisco Duarte, who adds to his curriculum passages at the sushi bar of the former Bica do Sapato, at Midori, now with a Michelin star, under the auspices of Pedro Almeida, at Penha Longa Resort, and an enriching experience at Sushi Samba, in London, one of the most renowned restaurants in the world, also with a
Portuguese executive chef, Cláudio Cardoso.

Talking about the Bar Menu, the restaurant’s head bartender, took his time researching Asia’s most traditional drinks with the purpose of creating a Bar Menu that was genuine and faithful to the Asiatic traditions. Through sakês he arrived to the universe of the Japanese whisky and to the less-known distilled, such as shochu, soju and baijiu. The cocktail menu drinks inspiration from the courses: it’s the countries they come from that inspire every tailor-made cocktail, thought as an extension to the gastronomic options. The gins, rums, vodkas and beers are equally from Asian origin. The tea also deserved the attention of the bar team. From a unique partnership in Portugal with the tea sommelier Sebastian Filgueiras, founder of Companhia Portugueza do Chá, resulted Soão’s six teas, ideal to pair with the course, and also three surprising harmonisations of tea and whisky.

In Soão’s Main Menu it is possible to travel around the world and taste specialties from India, China, Vietnam, Thailand, South Korea, Indonesia and Laos. From India come the typical samosas, from Thailand the aromatic pad thai and from Vietnam the famous pho; the dim sum take us on a journey to China, the spicy kimchi makes us jump to Korea. The duck soup with rice noodles tastes like Laos, but also Thailand.


Sushi & Sashimi