Armenia is an ancient country situated in the Caucasus Mountains.
Armenia is one of the oldest centers of the world’s civilization; it was this country that became the first Christian state, ahead of Rome and Greece. The main symbol of Armenia is the sacred mountain Ararat, to which, according to the Bible, “in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month” after the start of the Flood, Noah’s ark moored. This is the mountain that gave its name to our restaurant.
Modern Armenia is a country with ancient history, extremely rich cultural heritage, picturesque nature and superb gastronomy.
Armenia, which is situated at the intersection of trade routes, connects Europe and Asia. There are strong historical ties between the Portuguese and Armenians. Both these nations used to belong to the Roman Empire, being situated on its two opposite “poles” – the West and the East.
The ties between the Portuguese and Armenian merchants have been known since the Age of Discovery. The Portuguese used Armenia’s neutral position to penetrate Asian countries closed for Europeans in the Middle Ages. As a matter of fact, Portuguese merchants used to change into Armenian clothes and raise the Armenian flag on their ships in order to safely make profitable deals with intractable Indians. For instance, Bento de Góis, a Portuguese explorer of the 17th century, is depicted in such an Armenian commercial costume on the monument in his native town of Vila Franca do Campo on one of the Azores Islands. This was the costume he wore to be able to visit China in the company of Saak, an Armenian. The Portuguese name Armenio appeared in the same period, which unambiguously hints that, in addition to commercial ties between the Portuguese and Armenians, there were much closer relationships.
There is a well-known story about the Armenians who arrived in Porto in 1453 with the relics of St. Panteleimon – they saved them from the Muslim Turks who had seized Constantinople. They left the relics in the fishermen’s church of Saint Peter (igreja São Pedro de Miragaia) and settled nearby, giving the name “Armenian” (Rua Armenia) to one of the streets of Porto.
But the most famous Armenian in Portugal is Calouste Gulbenkian. His name is known to every Portuguese. Gulbenkian, one of the most decent representatives of the Armenian people, an oilman, diplomat, art collector and outstanding philanthropist, dedicated his life to Portugal. The educational and cultural projects of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation keep on connecting the Armenian and Portuguese peoples.
Ararat Restaurant invites you to try traditional Armenian dishes and the dishes of the Caucasian countries bordering on Armenia, with new Portuguese character added by us.
We have thoroughly chosen local food, ripe vegetables, and fresh meat and enriched them with the Armenian millennial culinary experience, traditional spices and a mixture of fragrant mountain herbs delivered from the valleys of the Caucasus. The state-of-the-art equipment and air conditioning system allow us to cook meals in the very center of Lisbon in the traditional way on open fire and charcoal as if you were in an old Armenian house at the foot of Ararat.
Our chef Andronik Mesropyan and his team from Armenia rely on their many years of experience to create a real symphony of classics and experiment for Armenian cuisine in Portugal. However, we don’t merely want to make a gastronomic trip to Armenia, but we create a place in Lisbon able to tell the Portuguese about Armenia and Armenians through their unique cuisine and ancient traditions.
The restaurant is decorated in the Armenian style. We have brought from Armenia authentic Armenian carpets: the tradition of their manufacturing goes back millennia, and their “elder brothers” decorate the walls of the Museum of Calouste Gulbenkian , the great Armenian of Portugal. We have also brought pictures by modern Armenian artists.
Welcome and bari akhorjak! – Bon apetit!
The cuisine of one of the world’s oldest countries has been cherishing its traditional recipes for more than 2500 years. Almost every Armenian dish has its history and legend carefully handed down from generation to generation.
However, this is not only the ability to hand down interesting food combinations through centuries from mother to daughter and from father to son that makes the Armenian cuisine unique, but also the ability of the Armenians to borrow the best from their neighbours and tirelessly achieve even greater perfection.
Armenia lies at the intersection of trade routes, which allowed it to get acquainted with the cuisines of many countries, and, besides, the Armenians themselves became so widespread in the world that they were able to bring home recipes from the most remote corners of the globe.
The Armenians borrowed from the Mediterranean cuisine a great number of vegetables and learned to combine them in various dishes.
Oriental countries and nations gave the Armenian cuisine exquisite sauces and exotic spices. Ancient Turkic peoples, nomads and conquerors, game them meat roasted on charcoal and shish kebab.
The peoples from Asia Minor introduced Armenians to chickpea dishes, having enriched the Armenian cuisine with hummus and dolma
But none of the “borrowed” dishes was left without improvements. Any new recipe has acquired over time the Armenian accent and Caucasian flavour.