Sardinha is a living example of what a ‘tasca’ used to be before Lisbon was changed by gentrification.Ran by family, usually with the woman cooking in a tiny kitchen and the husband serving tables, sometimes offspring helping on weekends. Paper towels and handwritten menus, tiles on the wall, a creepy device at the door with a blue light that buzzes each time it kills an insect, loners drinking small glasses of house wine and always homemade hot sauce available.A reductive description of what a 'tasca' should be, the Portuguese equivalent of a tavern that serves honest food at fair prices. Unfortunately, these places are on the verge of extinction, especially with the rising real estate speculation in Lisbon. However, a few ones keep preserving this cultural heritage.Sardinha is one of them. Run for more than 40 years by Sr. Duarte and D. Alda, husband and wife, it keeps the same energy for decades. On a first visit, Duarte might not seem the warmest person. He does not speak English, and I assure you will wish to understand some Portuguese words because his knowledge and vocabulary are outstanding. He can recite poems, comment on politics and tell you stories from the past in just one hour's meal. While you watch him engaging with regular customers, you can choose some dishes of the day. Still, I recommend trying a classic Lisbon hangover food most foreigners need to familiarize themselves with: the bitoque. The ultimate comfort food can be found in every 'tasca' as a safe order in case you don't fancy any of the fresh dishes of the day. A bitoque is a cheap beef cut, sliced from the whole piece by Duarte at the counter before he passes it to his wife in the kitchen. She fries it in lard, white wine, mustard, bay leaves and garlic and serves it in the tangy, balance sauce with rice, fries and an egg on top. Sardinha also serves a mean Feijoada, a Portuguese meat and bean stew. Duarte keeps buying his beans from the same supplier, soaking them in water and boiling them before preparing the dish with fatty and tender pork and juicy cabbages.