There are restaurants that even allow you to experience the true traditional food of our country, providing much more than a simple and tasty meal. The Maria Rita, close to Macedo de Cavaleirosis one of them.
They are spaces where we are taken on authentic journeys through time, sprinkled with the history and flavors of our land. This restaurant is an example of that and, therefore, you cannot miss going there!
Located in Jerusalem do Romeu, a fantastic village in the Northeast Transmontano, halfway between Mirandela and Macedo de Cavaleiros, Maria Rita is a veritable institution. There are even those who don’t haggle for miles just to have the pleasure of sitting down at this restaurant’s table and enjoying the fantastic cuisine served there.
Gastronomic trip at Maria Rita
Whether beaten by the summer heat that hits Mirandela every year, or by the cold that now grips the Trás-os-Montes region, Maria Rita has become an obligatory stop, almost a pilgrimage point, for all those who have a taste for gastronomy.
The restaurant is part of a farm that has organic production and excellent Portuguese products, such as the fantastic olive oil, raising more than enough raw material for a cuisine that deserves to be highlighted.
The place is charming, with a very unique decoration, providing a warm, romantic, rustic, classic and historic atmosphere. It depends on the occasion, of course. For example, the fireplace gives the space a distinct glow and its crackling helps to soften those colder days (and in the region they can be really cold) in the winter months..
Maria Rita has capacity for 140 people, but it is always advisable to make a reservation, so as not to suffer the disappointment of showing up and not having a place. Parking is always easy, as it has a private space for this purpose.
There are different options for dishes at Maria Rita that can make the whole gastronomic experience truly unforgettable. Thus, you can find, for example, codfish Romeu style, Mirandese steak, beans from Trás-os-Montes, casserole steaks, wild asparagus soup and dry soup. The average price per meal is around €20.
Maria Rita is a nationally and internationally recognized restaurant and TripAdvisor, a reference for all those who like to travel the world and look for the best references on the best places to visit, places the restaurant in the Hall of Fame of the site, for having received the Certificate of Excellence for 5 consecutive years!
Therefore, if you want to know more information about this charming space, you can always visit on here the Quinta do Romeu site, where you can gather more information about the interesting history of this farm.
So, in addition to learning more about the restaurant, wine and olive oil, you can get to know the Museum of Curiosities that you can visit there. Loja do Romeu is also a space that has unmissable products that make a great gift, such as jams and marmalade (among others).
Romeu’s Jerusalem, a must visit
Before or after a pleasant meal at Maria Rita, be sure to explore some of the local heritage.
Chapel of Our Lady of Jerusalem of Romeu
It is a chapel located a few hundred meters from this location, with a single nave chapel, with a portal surmounted by a four-lobed oculus.
It is surmounted by a triangular tympanum, flanked by pinnacles, and truncated by a small, simple bell, surmounted by a cross.
Inside, there is the main altar with the image of Our Lady of Jerusalem and a painting that represents the apparition of Our Lady to the shepherdess. The chapel is located in an enclosure where there is also a bandstand, a simple cross and a lake.
Old railway bridge
Near the north entrance to the village, there is a railway bridge, which is currently deactivated. This bridge was part of the Tua line and covered 134 kilometers from the mouth of the Tua River to Bragança. The design of this line began in 1878 and its construction began in 1884.
It worked in the village of Jerusalem de Romeu from 1905 to 1991 and in the 70s, many photographers came from all over Europe to record images of the steam trains that passed through here.
Museum of Curiosities
It opens from 12:00 to 17:00 and sometimes you have to notify the person responsible for opening it, who lives very close. It is closed on Monday and Wednesday afternoons.
It is located in the village of Romeu (Quinta Jerusalem do Romeu) and is a private collection of antiques and countless curious objects collected by members of the Menéres family, among which are vintage cars (a Ford T from 1909), examples of the first machines cameras, bicycles, bicycles, watches, sewing machines, oil and wine press equipment, horse carts, graphonolas and one of the oldest juke-boxes in the world.
a century old story
The history of Jerusalem do Romeu dates back to the second half of the 19th century, and its central figure is Clemente Menéres, who came from Vila da Feira and traded in wines and cork in the markets of northern Europe and Brazil. He had previously lived in that former colony for some time and traveled through Europe, the Middle East and North Africa.
In 1874, he visited Trás-os-Montes for the first time in search of the cork oaks that were said to exist there and that were not exploited. Immediately, he buys the ones he finds and that were located in the uncultivated lands where nothing else was given.
Thus, he created Quinta do Romeu, which later gave rise to Sociedade Clemente Menéres Lda, headquartered in the extinct Convent of Monchique, in Porto (15th/16th century), purchased at public auction in 1872.
Before he died, he formed the aforementioned limited liability company with his children, with the aim of keeping his properties undivided, given that the transfer of shares could only be made to his direct descendants.
He was succeeded by his son, José Menéres, who continues his work and creates the Confraria de Nossa Senhora de Jerusalem do Romeu to care for a 16th-century Sanctuary that his father found abandoned and rebuilt.
He founded the Cooperativa Por Bem to supply groceries to those who lived there and a Casa do Povo with a doctor’s office, pharmacy and library, where theater was also performed and films were shown, in a cinematograph machine from 1912 that worked at Cinema Pathé, in Porto, and at the Cinema Afonso Sanches, in Vila do Conde.
After José died, his brother Manuel gave new impetus to Romeu, improving the living conditions of the inhabitants of Vale de Couço, Vila Verdinho and Romeu, with the close collaboration of Prof. J. Vieira Natividade. Thus, he created a nursery and a kindergarten and built the Maria Rita Restaurant and the Museum of Curiosities.