A destination restaurant with panoramic views, windmills and alpine charm
Only about an hour north of Lisbon, high up on the windy mountains of the Serra de Montejunto, you will find an unusual restaurant with a beautiful panoramic terrace and an extraordinary view. Curral do Burro is one of the pretty old windmills that rise up into the sky immediately behind the restaurant, and it still supplies the restaurant with flour, which is then processed into delicious fresh bread and served with olives. However, around the mills, the wind is often so strong that we prefer to walk back into the wind shadow where the restaurant was built.
It pulls your hair,
tugs at your jacket,
presses against you,
tears at everything it can grab
and blows its eerie song
through the clay pots on the mill wings.
Originally, the small, flat building housed the donkey stable, which also gave the restaurant its special name. Donkeys were very important for the millers, as they were able to bring flour sacks to the surrounding villages, and were therefore very well cared for. Miguel, one of the owners of the restaurant, made the furniture himself, and it gives the restaurant an inviting, rustic charm.
Also, the decoration of the restaurant is wonderful, and it fits in well with the beautiful wooden tables and benches. The dishes themselves can be described as tasty Portuguese home cooking. You can also pre-order vegetarian dishes upon request. Delicious wines are served with the meals and desserts, which you can also enjoy on the terrace in front of the restaurant.
After our meal, we spent a pleasant, sleepy moment with full bellies in the spring sun on the terrace and looked contentedly and carefree into the far distance, until we were finally able to get ready to continue the short, beautiful walk on small roads to the Real Fábrica do Gelo.
A visit to the well-preserved ice factory is not necessarily exciting, but nevertheless we enjoyed the little walk and we were whisked away into a time in which there were no refrigerators and the ice for the noble Lisbon coffee houses had to be delivered awkwardly, overnight under great strain from the Serra de Montejunto by boat over the Tejo.
Whereas in the 17th century ice was brought to Lisbon for the royal table from the distant Serra da Estrela, in the 18th century the consumption of ice by broader sections of society increased to such an extent that it was now produced by the so-called true snowman in the mountains that were closest to the capital and had suitable conditions. He also supplied the royal house with ice in summer. He also owned most of the cafes in downtown Lisbon.
During the cold seasons, the ice was produced in large shallow stone basins and stored half underground in a huge room before sunrise. The building above the room looked like a monastery gate to us and probably dates back to the 18th century. In the storage room, we were able to show our children a few sleeping bats, who appreciated the cool and dark place. Bats, especially the mouse ear and the long-winged bat, can be found everywhere in the Serra de Montejunto, because the limestone mountains have many caves and crevices that offer the bats ideal living conditions.
It is not difficult to understand why the ice factory was built here, because the area is quite cool and somehow very humid. Many of the large trees in the area are lush with mosses and ferns and give the beautiful forest an almost fairytale-like appearance.
We are glad that beside the campsite and the numerous picnic opportunities a nice, cosy cafe was built in the fairytale forest, where we can warm up with Torrada, coffee and cake and try out the board games with the children.
In the surrounding area, there are some other interesting places for family excursions, such as the curious Buddha Garden Bacalhôa Buddha Eden in the Quinta dos Loridos, near Bombarral and of course the charming but completely overcrowded town of Obidos. We visited it mostly in the evenings, shortly before we started our way back to Lisbon, because by that time it is usually much quieter and you can enjoy a wonderful walk with the children through the car-free streets.
By the way, upon request you can visit the windmill next to the Curral do Burro at the weekend, and if you are particularly interested, you can even book a mill tour with a bread-baking workshop and lunch.
Curral do Burro
Rua da Bica 15
Casais da Foroana
Saturday: 12:00 pm to 9:00 pm
Sunday: 12:00 pm to 8:00 pm
It is best to book in advance by telephone and, if necessary, order a vegetarian dish directly in advance: +351 912 836 575
Real Fábrica do Gelo
Tuesday to Sunday
9:30 to 12:30 pm
2:00 to 5:00 pm.
10:00 am, 11:00 am, 2:00 pm and 3:30 pm
Bar Da Serra
Parque de Merendas
Friday: 12:00 pm to 7:00 pm
Saturday and Sunday: 10:00 am to 7:00 pm