Discover Ma
A Japanese Culinary Gem in Portugal

Nestled in the historical city of Coimbra, known for its rich cultural heritage and the esteemed University of Coimbra, lies a dining experience like no other. Ma, a beacon of Japanese culinary excellence, has been captivating food enthusiasts from near and far. This stellar establishment has rapidly ascended to become a highlight in Portugal’s gastronomic landscape, thanks to its innovative cuisine, exceptional ingredients, and the passion-driven vision of its team.

The presence of Ma in Coimbra is also a reflection of the enduring connection between Japan and Portugal that dates back to the 16th century. Portugal was one of the first European countries to establish contact with Japan, leading to a rich exchange of culture and knowledge that has continued for centuries. This historical bond adds an extra layer of significance to Ma, serving not just as a culinary bridge between the two nations, but also as a celebration of their shared history and mutual influence.

Situated at the heart of Coimbra, Ma provides a serene escape close to the monumental university. The interior design exudes a minimalist elegance, with elements of traditional Japanese aesthetics seamlessly blended with modern sophistication and Portuguese crafted ceramic dishes. Patrons are greeted by an ambiance that evokes a sense of tranquility, characterized by soft lighting, delicate décor, and tasteful artistic pieces that set the stage for a memorable dining journey.

Ma proudly holds a place in the prestigious Michelin Guide, a recognition that speaks volumes about its culinary standards and overall excellence. This shows the meticulous care and dedication that goes into every aspect of the dining experience at Ma. The Michelin Guide highlights the restaurant’s dedication to providing an unmatched dining adventure, celebrating the finesse and art of Japanese cuisine.

The brainchild of the visionary Chef Ricardo Casqueiro, Ma Restaurant was founded on the principle of introducing authentic Japanese flavors to Portugal. When dining at Ma you can clear sense the Chef’s relentless pursuit of perfection, constantly honing his craft and exploring new culinary possibilities. His creative vision harmoniously blends traditional Japanese techniques with contemporary innovation, resulting in a menu that is both avant-garde and steeped in tradition.

Ma’s menu is a testament to the culinary artistry of Japanese cuisine. Guests are treated to an array of exquisite dishes, each meticulously crafted to deliver unparalleled flavors and textures. The restaurant offers an Omakase menu, which represents the pinnacle of Chef Ricardo’s culinary repertoire, guiding diners through a thoughtfully curated journey of flavors and sensations. A seat at the Bar is mandatory to enhance the experience and truly appreciate the art of Japanese cuisine.


Ricardo Catarro / Ma
Ricardo Catarro / Ma

One of the cornerstones of Ma’s extraordinary dining experience is its unwavering commitment to sourcing only the finest ingredients. The restaurant uses the best products from Japan, ensuring authenticity and superior quality. Notably, the rice served to us at Ma is grown exclusively on 16 hectares in Japan. This rare and exquisite rice, with its perfect texture and subtle sweetness, is a testament to the lengths Ma goes to in ensuring every dish reaches culinary perfection.

If one could leave the restaurant with one word in mind it would be umami, as the essence of savory flavor, is evident in the carefully balanced and nuanced dishes that define the menu. The Omakase experience at Ma is a symphony of flavors, each course an exploration of umami that reflects the chef’s constant pursuit of culinary excellence and innovation.

While Ma honors traditional Japanese culinary principles, it is also a celebration of innovative fusion. Chef Ricardo artfully incorporates local Portuguese influences, creating a unique and harmonious blend of flavors with the best fish available. This fusion results in dishes that are familiar yet exciting, offering an exquisite culinary adventure that transcends conventional dining boundaries. The focus on seasonal ingredients ensures that the menu is dynamic and ever-evolving, with each visit offering a new and exciting culinary experience. The restaurant’s dedication to quality, innovation, and authenticity sets it apart as a leader in the realm of Japanese cuisine in Portugal.

At Ma, the commitment to excellence extends beyond the kitchen to encompass every aspect of the dining experience. The service philosophy is centered around hospitality, attentiveness, and ensuring that each guest feels special and valued. The sommelier is knowledgeable and passionate, providing insightful recommendations and creating an atmosphere that enhances the overall dining experience.

Based on our experiences and the feedback from numerous patrons, Ma is arguably the best Japanese restaurant we have encountered in Portugal. The entire Omakase Menu, beautifully embodies the essence of umami and showcases the art of sushi in its purest form.

To fully enjoy the Ma experience, it is advisable to make a reservation in advance, especially if you wish to experience the culinary art in it’s best form by sitting at the bar with only 12 seats. The restaurant’s tranquil ambiance allows you to savor each dish without feeling rushed.

Coimbra offers a wealth of attractions to explore before or after your dining experience at Ma. The University of Coimbra, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a must-visit, boasting beautiful architecture and a rich history. Additionally, the Machado de Castro National Museum and the historic Monastery of Santa Clara-a-Velha provide fascinating insights into the city’s cultural heritage. For a leisurely stroll, visit the picturesque Botanical Garden of the University of Coimbra, which is a tranquil oasis in the city.

The next time you find yourself in Coimbra, be sure to reach out to your Relationship Manager and make a reservation at Ma and embark on a gastronomic journey that celebrates the art of Japanese cuisine in the heart of Portugal.


Ricardo Catarro / Ma
Ricardo Catarro / Ma

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