Prepare a gourmet Christmas menu with your family with Antonio Da Costa

Prepare a gourmet Christmas menu with your family with Antonio Da Costa

At the corner of an avenue in Montrouge, the glass roof of a restaurant catches the eye. Its deep blue evokes azulejos, the earthenware tiles adorning the facades of Portugal. “A nod” from the Da Costa to their native land. Because if Le Physalis opened twenty-one years ago on the outskirts of Paris, they have of course forgotten nothing of their childhood rooted in the mountains surrounding Porto, left at the ages of 3 and 19.

Just push the door to feel it. The scents of Mediterranean spices are fragrant, the plates are full of Lusitanian generosity, the menu combines flavors of the “blue country” and French techniques. In the kitchen, Antonio; in the room, Armanda, married for forty-three years. When serving, the restaurant team performs a captivating ballet. So, when eighty customers sit down, the help of the youngest owner, Alexandra, is not too much trouble. From time to time, Lexy, their 5-year-old granddaughter, flits between the guests and asks them, “Have you chosen?” “Are you waiting for someone or are you eating alone?” even if what she prefers is “cooking pancakes with grandpa”. Like her grandmother, the little one uses familiarity and contributes to the good-natured atmosphere of the place.

A family affair run smoothly for the pleasure of passing gourmets and the many regulars who feel at home here. And it is not a hazard. The 63-year-old couple works every day to satisfy “this second family”. Despite everything, fatigue is inseparable from “the beauty of this profession” and sometimes supplants memories of tandem escapes, trips symbolized by a plaque from Route 66 traveled on a motorcycle.

An intact passion

It’s been fifteen years since Armanda changed careers to work with her husband and made welcoming customers her daily life. The one whose smile does not exclude her character recognizes that “it’s not always easy. You have to learn to forget family tensions in the restaurant”, while Antonio appreciates collaborating with his wife “because we know who we are with. work”. If you have a late lunch, you might catch them chatting on the corner of the table, over salads and glasses of wine. “Sharing a meal, here or at home, allows us to come together.”

Antonio’s passion, having worked in the kitchens of Troisgros in Roanne (Loire) or La Tour d’Argent in Paris, remains intact. In jacket, apron and cap, he goes from the kitchen to the dining room and is delighted by the smiles of the customers and the empty plates. Armanda doesn’t forget them either. Attention, a hand on the back, a burst of laughter, and sometimes a port shared with the most faithful.

The owners are there seven days a week. On the other hand, at Christmas, don’t look for them. “This religious and family celebration is sacred.” So the restaurant closes. In their childhood, Antonio and Armanda received clementines or oranges as gifts. “The main thing was not in the gifts, but in the warmth of the shared moment.” A spirit that they keep alive around a patiently decorated festive table and cod cooked according to tradition, surrounded by their two daughters and their three grandchildren.

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