The brainchild of journalist-turned-retailer Catarina Portas, the first outpost opened in 2007 in Lisbon’s bustling Chiado neighborhood, and last fall the Lisbon native opened a much-larger outpost in Intendente, one of the city’s most up-and-coming areas. Spread over two levels in a former ceramics factory, the store was, as Portas says, “born out of the will to create an inventory of the brands that survived the passage of time, to highlight the quality of Portuguese manufacture and to showcase Portugal in a surprising light.”
And it delivers on all points. Many of the brands she carries are indeed household names, but they’re packaged differently, with cool, contemporary graphics — like a boxed set of tins of sardines from Jose Gourmet for just under $4. Speaking of which, price is part of the surprise as well: On a recent visit, we found fluted, low-stemmed wine glasses for a mere $2 each, and handmade ceramic swallows ($11 to $25) packaged in a box that unfolds to explain the bird’s history and significance as a symbol of the city. There’s also a kids’ section and areas devoted to gardening and select fashion items. It’s impossible to visit and not make a purchase … or five.
Rima Suqi for "American Way"