Arroz de Tomate at the Hotel de l’Europe

Tomato Rice

In September 1930, Lisbon: Aleister Crowley’s lost diary of his Portuguese trip, we read: “Tues[day] 2. 3.45. Pessoa met us: a very nice man. Hotel de l’Europe. Lisbon, to judge by the noise, is a Greater London. Like a boiler factory with all the workmen caught in the machinery. Squalid, ill-paved, dirty, narrow, dull. Superradio in cafe: a literal hell of noise. Good food in hotel.”

According to Portugal Confidential the Hotel de l’Europe is now the Hotel Bairro Alto. “Erected in the 18th century, the hotel can be found listed in travel guides of the time as the Hotel de L’Europe. It was a world-class hotel, hosting artists and intellects from all over the continent, including famous French actress Sarah Bernhardt. In 2001, the hotel was bought by its current owners and transformed into the ultra-chic Hotel Bairro Alto.” The hotel website does not provide a modern day menu, but does tell us that the food “is based on typically Portuguese recipes, available only during lunch time, with different gastronomic proposals always with a common ingredient: long grain ‘Carolino’ rice served in a saucepan.” We present a typical rice dish that Crowley might have enjoyed in 1930.

Arroz de Tomate (Tomato Rice)Tomato Rice

  • 2 slices of bacon, chopped roughly (or use 2 tbs of olive oil)
  • 1 large yellow onion, peeled and chopped finely
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 2 cups fresh tomatoes, peeled, cored, seeded and coarsely chopped (or use canned if good fresh tomatoes are not available)
  • 2 cups chicken broth (or other liquid)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup long-grain white rice
  • pepper to taste
  • 2 tbs finely chopped fresh parsley

In a large, heavy saucepan or dutch oven, cook the bacon until all the fat is rendered out of it. Then remove the bacon bits (save it for garnish or another dish).

Stir in chopped onion and minced garlic. Sauté about 5 minutes until the onion is lightly golden.

Add tomatoes, stir and cover tightly. Simmer for 20 minutes.

Pour in the chicken broth and the salt and bring to a full boil.

Stir in rice, reduce heat to low and cover the pot. Cook for 20 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed. Check the rice to make sure it is tender. If not, add a bit more liquid and cook until done.

Stir in the chopped parsley. Check the flavor and add more salt and pepper as desired.

Garnish and serve.

Recipe adapted from


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