Anyone passing Number 108 on Rua D. Estefânia, in Saldanha, Lisbon, might think it’s just another American-inspired hamburger joint. But no, PoBrothers is Portugal’s first po-boy restaurant. Po-boy is a sandwich typical of the United States, specifically New Orleans, and consists of a baguette stuffed with chicken, pork, veal or shrimp. The name is derived from “poor boys” (poor youths, in Portuguese) because it was once their food.
The idea of opening an American concept restaurant came directly from the United States. More than 15 years ago, brothers Miguel and Pedro Silva made a trip through the south of the country, passing such states as Texas, Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, and in particular the city of New Orleans. In the latter they fell in love with the flavors and simplicity of American cuisine.
🇧🇷We were particularly amazed at the simplicity of the cuisine of the region, because they make things that are entirely piggy food but with a lot of elaboration. And we were very surprised by this, very tasty stuff at very low pricesMiguel Silva told MAGG.
More than 15 years ago, the idea was finally realized with the opening of PoBrothers, in Lisbon, at the end of August 2022. The brothers realized they had the opportunity to introduce a concept – po-boys – that had not been explored in Portugal. “There is nothing like it in Lisbon or Portugal. There is no concept of boys or French dipping,” says Miguel.
We are invited to join the PoBrothers in a relaxed atmosphere. The decoration is based on American culture, with many paintings on the walls of the restaurant with images of baseball and American football figures, and personalities such as Marilyn Monroe and Elvis Presley. As soon as we enter, in the background we see the US flag matching the seats – red and blue – contrasting with the dark wood of the tables.
But, after all, did we taste a boy or not? Clear. Shrimp Po Boy (€9.20) is a sandwich stuffed with breaded and very succulent shrimp, with ranch dressing, tomato, lettuce and pickles.
However, we were really surprised by another suggestion: French veal (€9.25). French dips are “sandwiches stuffed with meat that’s been stewed for eight hours and sliced, with a cheese or gratin on top, and then you have the sauce on the side. And then the dip, which is the dip, to really wet it up. She takes the sandwich and dips it in the sauce.”Miguel explained.
And yes, it’s as good as it looks: the meat is juicy and flavorful, the bread is lightly toasted on the outside which when wet doesn’t quite get wet, and the sauce makes the whole experience. But beware, prepare to eat in large quantities and run the risk of getting dirty.
For starters, you can count on peanuts with honey and macaroni chips (€1.95), accompanied by ranch dressing, an exclusive PoBrothers creation, which we guarantee is the most addictive pasta you’ll ever try. Among these there is also a baguette with chevre cheese and ranch dressing (3.50 euros) and crispy shrimp (7.50 euros).
Since a North American-inspired menu is not to be missed, you can always count on the classic hamburger option (€7.50) with French fries with cheddar sauce and bacon (€2.50).
To sweeten the end of the meal we were surprised by Crunchy walnut pie with vanilla ice cream (€ 2.50), which balances the crunchy texture of the dough with the texture and flavor of the fillingo, with brownie with red fruits and almonds with vanilla ice cream (€ 2.50), ideal for chocolate lovers.
In terms of customer acceptance, Miguel says acceptance has been very high, though slow because it’s “a very small place”. However, PoBrothers has already taken in many American foreigners who, according to Miguel, “liked it so much, they said it was as good or better than some places over there”.
“I had people from New Orleans, Mississippi, Alabama, and they loved it so much.
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