100 what?!

100 Maneiras is the absence of rules but also the infinitude of forms

100 Maneiras. Or Ljubomir Stanisic. Because 100 Maneiras can’t be dissociated from Ljubomir – nor the other way around. We know what was born first – the cook, in 1978 – but we also know that talking about 100 Maneiras is talking about the most-Portuguese-Yugoslavian-cook-ever.

The name of the brand aims to provoke, stimulate, to think. It refers to the absence of rules, but also to the infinity of forms. Because this group doesn’t want preconceived norms and prejudice is not allowed. There are no limits to creativity. No barriers. Borders aren’t limited. There is tradition and there is innovation, knowledge and imagination, seriousness and jokes. The only absence is monotony.

Ljubo inaugurated the first restaurant when he was 26 years old and had been living in Portugal for seven years. The 100 Maneiras of Cascais was open between 2004 and 2008 and gave the Yugoslav knowledge (recognition) and experience. If the chef says that he has learned more from his mistakes than from his victories, the bankruptcy in Cascais was one of the setbacks that served him well.

In January 2009, after abandoning the idea of moving to China or Angola, he settled in Bairro Alto, in Lisbon, and with the help of three friends – Fausto and Carla Lopes and Nelson Santos – he opened the new 100 Maneiras. This restaurant in Rua do Teixeira was the first in the capital to serve a tasting menu at a democratic price. A small step for humanity, a small revolution in the city.

Ljubo’s cuisine opened up to a growing audience, which favors taste, discovery, experience, but has no need for pretension. And it was this combination of factors that, in September 2010, gave birth to Bistro 100 Maneiras. The society was then joined by another friend: Nuno Faria, responsible for the liquid area of the menus.

In the beginning, there was the word. Wish. A wish made of a handful of ideas brought from Festival Lumière, in Canada, in which Ljubomir participated, as one of the guest chefs representing Portugal, the country highlighted that year.

Then, the action. To transform this space full of history, once occupied by Tavares Pobre and Bacchus, into a timeless house. To make the Art Deco-inspired building, location of one of the oldest restaurants in the country, an eclectic and contemporary space, open every day, without stops, from noon to 2 a.m. A place where art and gastronomy, music and cocktails, the most conservative and the most eccentric, coexist.

With two floors and capacity to welcome around 70 people, Bistro 100 Maneiras is a hymn to pleasure. And this characteristic, which brings so much together, made it collect the prize that is, by itself, a reason for eternal pride: world number 1 at the Monocle Restaurant Awards in 2017 and the third place in the same awards in the following year. Hail, Bistro!

“Bistrot”, some call it, with French accent. Or simply “100 Maneiras”, forgetting that is the Bistro in its name that gives it part of its identity. Bistro means “clean and clear” in Serbo-Croatian. “Clean and clear” are the space, the ideas, the food. Here, comfort cuisine is served in a choice made à la carte, with creations inspired by the traditional Portuguese, “Yugoslavian”, French and Italian recipes, with an author touch and inspirations brought from Ljubo’s journeys and experiences.

Without pre-drawn limits. From foie gras to testicles, from shellfish to game, from the “luxury” ingredients to the most devalued ones. Included in the menu are suggestions for a quick bite and to share, a section for the brave, named “no questions asked”, a vegetarian menu, some seasonal dishes, timeless successes, impossible to replace, and of course an inevitable happy ending (for even sweeter dreams!).

The first 100 Maneiras in Lisbon is the first to serve a tasting menu at a democratic cost

Happy, too, are the suggestions coming out of Bistro’s bar, winner of the national 2017 Coaster Award for “Best Restaurant in a Bar”. Given annually in the World Class competition, the most prestigious cocktail competition in the world, the Coaster Awards recognize the daily work at the best cocktail bars.

Leading the counter are Jorge Camilo and Daniel Zamith, responsible for many of the liquid creations that make the bar famous. In 2012, Jorge was the winner of Gin Mare’s national competition. Four years later, it was Daniel who got the same award and a third place at the grand finale, in Ibiza. In 2014, Zest by Gin Lovers magazine published an article identifying Camilo as “probably the best bartender in Portugal”. And, in 2015, these two were responsible for the recipes of the first Portuguese big book dedicated to cocktails, 100 Cocktails 100 Maneiras, published by A Esfera dos Livros. A book which reflects the importance of cocktails in the restaurant and in the whole 100 Maneiras concept. It was not by accident that Monocle magazine considered Bistro the ideal place to have a cocktail in Lisbon…

These and other glasses can be drank at the counter, on the Chesterfield couch in the lobby or in Bistro’s Bedroom, for example. Opened in 2014 in the place where once functioned Ljubomir’s Pekaria (a Yugoslavian bakery), the only smoking space in this house was named after its intimate atmosphere. There is a desire to stay, always just for another minute, like someone who is in the house of friends… Designed by HA + JE Arquitectura, it is a place where liquid and solid dreams are served. Cocktails and appetizers for dinner – or before or after dinner. (As already said, no rules… 100 Maneiras).

The Hendrick’s Room sits at the top of the spiral-ish staircase that connects the two floors of the restaurant. A room that is a work of art! It became a parallel universe in 2016 thanks to two artists (and friends): Mário Belém and Filipe Pinto Soares. Here the illustrations of the first are joined by the technological installations of the second.

On the walls lined with poplar, the Hendrick’s botanicals serve as inspiration, with ingredients such as orange peel, cumin, lemon, cucumber, chamomile, coriander and holly, celebrating the liquid and the solid, the ordinary and the extraordinary.

Bistro 100 Maneiras is a hymn to the pleasure of being and sharing the best things in life with the world

Ready to be reinvented according to the tastes of the occupants, at Hendrick’s Room you can customize the scenery according to the mood (or the time of the day or night…) by controlling the intensity of ceiling and wall lights and even connecting a smartphone to choose the playlist. In addition to the eight-person oval table (with a mirror on the ceiling accompanying it), there are two benches built into the walls, next to the window. Because here the occasion makes the room – and it can serve the intimacy of a dinner for two, the privacy of a business meeting or the sharing of dinners between friends. Always with an open view to Chiado and a bit of Tejo in the background.

Eclectic and urban, with no presumptions or prejudices, Bistro 100 Maneiras is also the stage par excellence of some events with 100 Maneiras signature, where multidisciplinarity is imposed. These are the dates in which gastronomy joins cinema, music, plastic arts, travel or winemaking, promoting the spirit of 100 Maneiras beyond any frontiers. It is the bohemian Chiado that presents itself here, from the cocktails to the wines, with the people and the nights that linger, with the pleasure of being and sharing, with the world, the best things in life.

To share Portugal with the world, to put Portugal in the mouths of the World. No matter the changes on the menus of this mythical restaurant in Chiado, this will never change. Because it is a certain “portugality” that is exhibited, but also seasonality and, above all, a locality without frontiers. It is the world that emulsifies, that excites us. And it is emotion that we want to put in the glass, the stone, the pot or the dish. Because 100 Maneiras are not “just” restaurants. They are a family that eats and feels, drinks and desires, that looks at the world with the will to devour it. In a single sip – or bite.