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RIP – La Mensa

A slice of heaven for lovers of raw meat and fish

Largo do Santos, 14A

216 008 192, website
Mon – Thu, 11h – 23h; Fri – Sat, 11h – 24h; Sun, 11h – 23h

La Mensa is kind of the opposite of Portuguese home cooking: the restaurant’s best dishes aren’t cooked, the plates are far bigger than the amount of food on them, and there’s very little pork and cheese here. But like the best Portuguese cuisine, La Mensa’s platters are a delight to share among a big group nonetheless. The place serves piadinas (wraps) and salads, and they’re very good — but the real emphasis here is on everything raw, or almost raw: carpaccio, ceviche, and tartars, from beef to salmon. And it’s clear that the kitchen isn’t just following the latest fad, because everything we’ve tasted here has been prepared with loving attention to how various sauces and vegetables interact with the raw meat. This place serves some mean non-alcoholic lemonades and their wine selection is solid too. A bit more expensive than their competitors in this area of Santos, but well worth it.

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