Grown from tiny corner shop to Comporta´s first address for culinary delicacies, the Mercearia Gomes just opened a fine tapas bar.

A chat with Carlos Gomes, owner of “Mercearia Gomes” and “Gomes Casa de Vinhos & Petiscos”

Mercearia Gomes, also known as „Little Harrods“, is likely the most expensive grocery store in Portugal. In search of Russian caviar, French foie gras, dried bacalhau and the delicious salty-sweet cottage cheese from Alcácer do Sal, the tall, bearded, and Birkenstock-wearing global players from Paris, London and New York can be met here in high season in bathing trunks and tee shirts. When stepping into the often jam-packed mini-market, one wonders each year when Junior-Chef Carlos will finally replace the diabolical, dangerous saloon-style double doors with a proper entrance door.
”We will change them this summer”, says Carlos Gomes, when we sit together for a chat at his new venture, the tapas bar Gomes Casa de Vinhos & Petiscos.

The friendly but slightly reserved owner of both the Mercearia Gomes and new tapas bar is not fond of being in front of the camera. He prefers to sit behind the counter of his Mini-Mercado and sell exquisite delicacies. His fine selection of Portuguese wines, delicious pastries and cheeses and lovely packaged tuna and sardine tins is impressive. „The items in our shop have grown with our customers,“ says the forty-something, who was born and raised in Comporta. Carlos Gomes is unique. When not looking after his shop, he likes to cook for his family and travel the world. „I travel a lot“, he says. „This year we are going to Vietnam and Cambodia. I often find interesting things during my travels, which I bring back to Comporta and sell here in the shop.“

WORDS: Kerstin Bognár
PHOTOS: Mia Takahara