A Table with a View...
I had read about Ponto Final a few years ago and added it to my 'must visit' list for when we were next in Lisbon. My only downfall was that I had failed to take a note of the address so I found myself having to ask directions from a few locals whilst in Lisbon. A couple had never heard of it and then someone informed us that we were actually on the wrong side of the river as it was located in Cacilhas/Almada. We found that so funny because when we visit Portugal we actually stay South of the river Tejo rather than in Lisbon, so it was much closer to home than we had thought. The only information we were given, however, was that it was located on the riverbank.
So we drove to Cacilhas one early evening and found ourselves on a very narrow cobblestone waterfront pathway. We then realised that this was a bad idea as it ended up being a dead end. To my dismay (as I panic with just about everything!) we had to do a dodgy u-turn without falling into the river. To the local fishermen it's a doddle, but to me... it wasn't the best/safest scenario. Anyway, in the end it wasn't so bad and we luckily found a suitable space just before exiting the riverbank.
When we began walking along the waterfront (once I got over how close to the water we actually were), I instantly started admiring the awesome views, and they were extremely awesome! This spot has to be one of the best viewpoints of Lisbon from across the river. It's a photographer's dream... not only can you see Lisbon in all its glory, the bridge is also just as spectacular.
As we kept walking... and wallking with no idea of where we were heading, there was no sign of the hard-to-find 'Ponto Final'. It took around 10-15 minutes to reach the first restaurant 'Atira-te ao Mar' (although I think it may have taken me a little longer though as I was like a child in a candy shop - snap, snap, snap). Charming as the 'Atira-te ao Mar' may be, this wasn't our chosen destination so we decided to walk on by and just around the corner, there it was, 'Ponto Final' - finally!
To our dismay it was packed - it seems everyone already knows about this little special place but it didn't put us off having to share this experience. Unfortunately, we weren't able to get a table that day as we hadn't booked, so we decided to take a stroll and return on another day for dinner, which we did a few days later. Silly us, didn't book a table on our second attempt - it was heaving, yet again. But this time around we decided to wait it out and it was well worth the wait.
The food was excellent but the views were even better - they were incredibly breathtaking! Nothing could be more relaxing than sitting by the water's edge (literally) admiring the most perfect sunset and listening to the water hitting the side of the riverbank. The atmosphere was magical and what a magnificent setting - it's probably one of the most romantic spots around. (It reminded me of sitting by the canal in Venice - OK not quite as romantic, but close!). As it was so sensational, we have since revisited and have taken a very special guest there too, who also enjoyed it immensely and found the food as delicious as we did.
We highly recommended the fish dishes especially the 'Pataniscas de Bacalhau com Arroz de Feijão' (Cod Fritters with Rice and Beans).The prices are fairly reasonable, not really on the cheap side, but I suppose you're also paying for its superb location and views. Just remember though, there's no Health & Safety here so mind you don't fall in! Especially one table in particular...
And, finally 'Ponto Final' means Full Stop or Final Point - why not make it your final destination when visiting Lisbon. We still believe it's one of the best places around & well worth the Rio Tejo (river) crossing if you're travelling from Lisbon.
We will provide you with more details and photos of this wonderful riverbank and how to get there in Part II.
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