DE 36 | José Avillez


A city steeped in the Mediterranean Sun, history, and full of great culinary traditions, Lisbon is today’s destination. Join our hosts, Andy McNeill & Todd Bludworth as they explore the city for the best restaurants. Bringing two prominent people of the city, they talk to Michelin Star winning chef José Avillez and the General Manager of the iconic hotel Tivoli Avenida Liberdade Lisboa, Miguel Garcia. José shares his views about the best restaurants in Lisbon, the culinary traditions of Portugal, and his venue, Barrio do Avillez. Miguel then lets us in on his experiences running the most iconic 5-star hotel, what sets apart the Tivoli from others, and what he thinks are the must-dos in the city. Take a trip to Lisbon as you join today’s episode.

Andy McNeill and Todd Bludworth are travel and hospitality entrepreneurs and owners of the global meetings organization, American Meetings, Inc. From sourcing hotels in Lisbon to corporate event management around the world, their team selects corporate event venues and meeting planners for a wide array of enterprise business clients, providing ideas for convention themes and strategies for running global meetings and events. Learn more at

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Portuguese Michelin Star Chef José Avillez Talks Best Restaurants In Lisbon, And Meet Miguel Garcia, General Manager Of The Iconic Hotel Tivoli Avenida Liberdade

The city of Lisbon is the shining capital of Portugal, steeped in the Mediterranean Sun, history, and full of great culinary traditions. In today’s episode, Todd Bluddworth and Andy McNeill talk to Michelin Star winning chef José Avillez and the General Manager of the iconic hotel Tivoli Avenida Liberdade, Miguel Garcia.

José Avillez is considered one of the country’s most renowned chefs, receiving his first Michelin star in 2012 for his work with Belcanto, and winning his second Michelin star in 2019. José starts off this interview with a short but sweet introduction to the best of Portuguese cuisine, including the vaunted Bacalao.

Todd and Andy discuss José’s phenomenal rise in the culinary industry. José talks about the increase in growth of his restaurant when it won its first and second Michelin stars. He talks about gaining international guests and becoming the face of Portuguese cuisine, and how amazing the past 15 years have been.

The discussion moves on to Barrio do Avillez, a food venue where food meets entertainment. The venue includes a Taberna(Tavern), a Pateo focused on fish and seafood, a minibar, and a pizzeria. José notes that his restaurants are located in Chiado, a neighborhood steeped in literary and artistic tradition and history. You can get lost in Lisbon, but this can turn into an adventure, a feast for the eyes, mind and stomach. You can wander along the riverside, visit the historic churches and monuments, have a Pateis de Nata at one of the many small cafes, bask in the friendly neighborhood feel, and finally wind down with dinner at a Chiado restaurant with some fine Portuguese wine, cheese, and seafood.

Next up, we meet Miguel Garcia, the General Manager of the iconic Hotel Tivoli Avenida Liberdade. The hotel is the first 5-star hotel in Portugal and is located smack dab in the beating heart of the city.

Miguel offers authenticity and the historicity of the hotel as one of its great selling points. The staff is dedicated to providing the greatest experience they can for the guests. The Tivoli also hosts the GQ Man of the Year Event, an exclusive, black-tie event, and also an annual New Year’s Eve.

Miguel explains the origins and allure of Fado music and talks about the many Fado restaurants in the city. His three absolute must-dos in the city are:

  • Taking a tuk-tuk tour across the city
  • Visiting the castles and monasteries
  • Hitting up a Fado restaurant to close out the experience.

Todd and Andy next give a bucket list of some great activities to get into while in Lisbon:

  • Live music and great dining at one of the many Fado houses in the city. Listen to great music and enjoy wonderful food.
  • The Eduardo VII Park, named after English monarch Edward VII, who visited the country in 1903. Enjoy the park’s view of the city while enjoying a picnic with family and friends.
  • The Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology, found along the riverbank in the Belem district. The museum is open to the public.
  • Play golf in one of the many beautiful golf courses in the city, with great views of the city and the Atlantic Ocean
  • Surfing in Ericeira, the only European location listed in the world’s surfing reserves. It is 40 minutes out of Lisbon and a great place to catch the waves.
  • A sailing excursion along the Tagus River, with views of Belem and the Plaza de Commercio. Great for family outings and team-building events.
  • Join up with the private tram tours and see the city sights while enjoying pastries and wine.
  • Enjoy a culinary and artistic experience at the hip urban environs of the LX Factory, Lisbon’s cutting-edge hub of creativity.
  • Join the Sensorial Lisbon, a guided tour of the city of Lisbon while blindfolded, letting your other senses take over.
  • A quick flight to the Azores to explore the volcanic archipelago.

About José Avillez

DE 36 | José AvillezPortuguese and a chef, José Avillez’ main focus is to promote Portuguese gastronomy and contribute to making Portugal a top gastronomic destination. He’s considered one of the great references of gastronomy in Portugal and has stood out because of his enterprising spirit and drive to keep pushing further.

Currently, José Avillez has several restaurants in Portugal, in Lisbon and Porto, and also in Dubai, each with a different concept, but all expressing his passion for cuisine: Belcanto, distinguished with two Michelin stars and elected one of the 50 best restaurants in the world by the prestigious “The World’s 50 Best Restaurants”, Mini Bar, Bairro do Avillez (with Taberna, Páteo), Pizzaria Lisboa, Cantinho do Avillez in Lisbon (Chiado and Parque das Nações), Cascais and Porto; the three restaurants in the Gourmet Experience of El Corte Inglés Lisboa, Tasca Chic, Jacaré, Barra Cascabel (in partnership with Mexican chef Roberto Ruiz); Tasca, José Avillez’ first international restaurant project, at the 5 stars hotel Mandarin Oriental Jumeira, in Dubai.

Together with José Bento dos Santos and the Quinta do Monte D’Oiro vineyard, José Avillez produced the JA wines with his signature: JA Red, JA White and JA Rosé. José Avillez has also contributed to countless Portuguese and foreign books, authored and hosted TV and radio shows.

About Miguel Garcia

DE 36 | José AvillezMiguel Garcia, General Director of the Hotel Tivoli Avenida Liberdade and Regional Operations Director of Minor Hotels for Urban Hotels Portugal (the city hotels segment). Miguel Garcia, a passionate hospitality professional with 20 years of experience in the national and international hotel sector, has been Managing Director of Tivoli Avenida Liberdade since 2018. He accumulates the general management of Tivoli Avenida Liberdade with the responsibility of Regional Director of Operations for Urban Hotels since February 2020.

Miguel Garcia started his career going through several hotels in Portugal, but also abroad, at Le Meridien Copacabana Hotel, Four Seasons Hotel & Resorts in Lisbon and Geneva. He spent nine years in Brazil where he was General Director of Hotel Ponta dos Ganchos Exclusive Resort, Relais & Chateaux, located in Florianopólis. He was also Operations Director of Belmond Copacabana Palace (three years) and General Director of Tivoli São Paulo Mofarrej, located in the Jardins district, in the capital of São Paulo, transforming and repositioning the Hotel, being today recognized as a reference in this great city.

In 2018 he returned to Portugal to take over two units of Minor Hotels in the center of Lisbon, where he had the objective of reinforcing the positioning of Tivoli Avenida Liberdade, the historic hotel in the city of Lisbon that belongs to the Leading Hotels of the World.

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