The restaurant A Travessa was created in 1978 by three friends, in the narrow Travessa das Inglesinhas, Madragoa neighborhood, where they served as if they were in their own homes.
“When I arrived in Lisbon in December 1969, I was fascinated by the weather and the light. Especially since I had come from Belgium where the sky is clouded nine months a year. I remember being surprised that there were still leaves in the trees at this time of the year.” Viviane
As they were fluent in French, soon they became the usual restaurant for the Belgium and French embassy’s staff. With a bohemian, elegant atmosphere the restaurant became a destination to artists, intellectuals, politicians and journalists , quickly becoming a reference in Lisbon.
From the initial founders, Viviane Durieu was the only one that remained until today. In 1994 a new partner, António Moita, was added, bringing the ingredients and flavors of Portuguese gastronomy to A Travessa´s cuisine, that was until then mainly Belgian.
Twenty years after the opening and very close to the old facilities, A Travessa moved to the renovated and beautiful Convento das Bernardas. Here there are large and comfortable rooms, carefully refurbished, and a terrace in the cloister where one can enjoy the good weather during most part of the year.
The Convento das Bernardas do Mocambo was founded in 1653 by the concession of King João IV, dedicated to Our Lady of Nazareth, and added to the order of Cister.
The Convent went in to religious closure in 1655. In 1755 with the earthquake, the building was almost completely destroyed. Its reconstruction began three years later, under the signature of Architect Giacomo Azzolini. During the reconstruction period the nuns settled in the neighboring Convent of the Hope, later demolished in 1889.
In 1786 the sisters returned to the Convent where they remain until 1834, when the religious orders were declared extinct and consequently expropriated of their property.
The former convent is successively leased out and, among others, it even housed a college. It was also the headquarters of Amador Theater where the well-known Fado singer Hermínia Silva, the first to take the Fado to the Theater, was premiered.
Currently owned by the City Hall, it was fully recovered in 2001 and is now the A Travessa restaurant location, the Museum of Puppetry and a residential apartments for local people on the upper floor.