History

The restaurant A Travessa was established in 1978 in the street A Travesssa das Inglesinhas in the Madragoa district, serving home-cooked food in an intimate environment.

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Fluent French speakers, their restaurant soon became a regular spot for employees of the Belgian and French embassies. With a bohemian and elegant atmosphere, the restaurant was also frequented by artists, intellectuals, politicians and journalists, and quickly became renowned in Lisbon.

Viviane Durieu, one of the original founders who still runs the restaurant, joined forces in 1994 with a new partner, António Moita. He brought to the table the flavours and ingredients of Portuguese gastronomy, shaping the cooking that had up until then been mainly Belgian-inspired.

Twenty years after it first opened, and located very close to its original premises, the restaurant A Travessa moved to the beautifully renovated convent, Convento das Bernardas. It has spacious and comfortable rooms that have been carefully restored, as well as outside seating in the cloister, allowing you to enjoy the good weather nearly all year round.

“When I arrived in Lisbon in December 1969, I was fascinated by the weather and the light. All the more so since I’d arrived from Belgium where the sky was cloudy for nine months a year. I remember being surprised there were still leaves on the trees at that time of year.” Viviane

The Convento das Bernardas do Mocambo (convent) was founded in 1653 with the permission of D. João IV. It is dedicated to Nossa Senhora da Nazaré and is aggregated to the Order of Cistercians. The Convent was closed to the public for cloistering in 1655 until the building was almost completely destroyed in the 1755 earthquake. Its reconstruction began three years later under the architect Giacomo Azzolini. During the period of reconstruction, the sisters moved to the neighbouring Convento da Esperança, which was subsequently demolished in 1889.

In 1786 the nuns returned to the Convent where they remained until 1834, at which time the dissolution of the religious order was decreed and they were consequently dispossessed of their property.

The former Convent was successively rented out for a variety of uses, at one stage housing a college. It was also the headquarters of the Amador theatre where the famous fado singer Hermínia Silva made her début, being the first to bring Fado to the theatre.

Now property of Lisbon’s Municipal Council, it was completely refurbished in 2001 and is home to the restaurant A Travessa and the Puppet Museum, with space for its inhabitants of the upper floor.