The Best Restaurants in Lisbon

Lisbon offers a concentrated slice of Portugal’s rich culinary culture, with everything from riverside cafés and neighborhood tascas to Michelin-starred destinations. Seek out the fresh seafood, unique cheese, and famous custard tarts.

Highlights
15 Rua Anchieta
At his two-Michelin-starred flagship restaurant, Alma, there is so much to love about chef Henrique Sá Pessoa, not the least of which is his charred red pepper paired with, among other things, red pepper coulis—a defining dish that stops taste buds in their tracks. At his flagship restaurant, Alma, he serves some of the city’s best tasting menus, paired with daring wines in a casual atmosphere that lets the food do the talking. Pessoa himself often makes the rounds, visiting tables to explain dishes like the succulent confit of suckling pig with turnip top purée, pickled onions, and pepper jus. There may be more famous restaurants in Lisbon, but none is better than Alma.
R. Nova da Trindade 18, 1200-303 Lisboa, Portugal
The latest from the man who is probably Portugal’s most famous chef, José Avillez (of two-Michelin-starred Belcanto), Bairro de Avillez does it all. Upon entry, guests are greeted by a traditional Portuguese taberna, where cheese, charcuterie, and Avillez’s take on traditional petiscos (finger foods) fuel a festive atmosphere. Further inside, you’ll find Páteo, a seafood-focused food court for classic Portuguese dishes, and Beco, a hidden restaurant that offers a gourmet menu alongside sexy cabaret shows. Plan to spend the night here.
2 Rua do Loreto
When in Lisbon, most tourists make a beeline to Antiga Confeitaria to try its world-famous pastel de Belém. The legendary custard tart is indeed delicious, especially when dusted with a healthy dose of cinnamon, but what these travelers don’t know is that is that the ones at Manteigaria are just as good—if not better. Plus, Manteigaria features an open kitchen, where you can watch the creamy treats make their way from dough to delivery. Avoid the crowds in Belém and get your pastel de nata here instead, then ride out your sugar rush nearby on the atmospheric Praça Luís de Camões in Chiado.
Escolas Gerais 54, 1100-214 Lisboa, Portugal
The name of this little-known Alfama gem means simply “Aunt Natércia,” and that’s exactly who will greet you if you manage to snag a seat. Here, you’ll find no-frills, home-cooked Portuguese dining, with classic dishes like bacalhau com natas (oven-baked salted cod with fried potatoes and cream), arroz de pato (duck rice), and folhado de bacalhau (salted cod in puff pastry) being upstaged only by Aunt Natércia herself. She’ll talk your ear off in Portuguese while she cooks and serves—it’s a one-woman show—but her food is so good you won’t even care. Reserve ahead.
Tv. Ferragial n.1, 1200-184 ferragial@gmail, Portugal
Yes, it’s a canteen, so self-service, but it’s delicious and affordable. The secret appeal about this place, though, is not the price, nor the décor (which doesn’t exist), it’s the wonderful view of the city. Arrive before 1 p.m. to snag a seat before the local workers arrive for their midday meals.
1 Costa do Castelo
Chapitô is a circus school but also a restaurant and a bar. It’s very close to the castle and has fabulous views over the river. It’s ideal for a romantic dinner. The cuisine is inspired by traditional Portuguese cuisine with a mix of international influences. I had dinner there this week and tried the codfish and I recommend it—but you have to eat it on the terrace, since this menu is different from the one inside the restaurant. You will be stunned with the views from the restaurant. Enjoy this beautiful city over a pleasant dinner. If you want to have a drink afterward, there is a bar on the lower floor, sometimes featuring live music or theater.
Tv. do Sequeiro 38, 1200-259 Lisboa, Portugal
Enter this restaurant and you will still be walking on Calçada Portuguesa (traditional Portuguese paving). You will feel like home in this typical and familiar Portuguese restaurant, offering good food and a good place to dine with friends, before you head to Bairro Alto for a drink. If you don’t like to wait for a table, try to arrive a bit before 8pm. My suggestion is Gambas à Guillo (garlic prawns) as an appetizer and tuna as the main dish.
Loja 7 Avenida Infante Dom Henrique
If you’re looking for a pizzeria, this is the place; you will find the best pizzas in town—in a perfect location. Pizzeria Casanova was opened by Maria Paola Porru, an Italian woman living in Portugal for 30 years. With long tables, the chances of meeting a stranger or making a new friend are quite good. There is a nice terrace outside (heated in winter and freshened in summer) just in front of the river, though the view can be blocked when a cruise ship is in town. Inside, you can see the thin-crust pizzas coming out of the oven, and lamps above your head allow you to “call” the waiter via a switch. By the way, if you have a desire for pizza at midnight, catch the metro to Santa Apolónia—where the kitchen is still open but you will probably find a line, even at that time.
Beco São Miguel 7, 1100-538 Lisboa, Portugal
Here is a restaurant in Alfama without fado music but with a perfect location. In the wintertime, sit inside: It is very cozy, you will be amid portraits of famous actors on each one of the three floors. In the summertime, sit outside next to the caged birds on the terrace, framed by the picturesque alley of San Miguel. Here you will be among the locals, and you might hear someone calling out instead of ringing the bell. As a speciality, you have fried potato skins with mayonnaise. To get there, catch tram nº 12 or nº 28 and get off at Portas de Sol, stroll down through narrow streets and steps until you find the São Miguel Church. Or just ask a local if you get lost in Alfama labyrinth. Or, if you are near Fado Museum, you can go up Street São Pedro. http://www.siteantonio.com/
6 Praça Dom Pedro Iv
There is a fado song proclaiming that all artists and fado singers come to A Tendinha, here in one of the oldest areas in Lisbon, founded in 1840. At Rossio, between the old cafes like Suiça and Nicola and on the other side of the D. Maria II National Theatre, next to Arco da Bandeira, you will find this little tasca. Here you can eat ham or fresh cheese sandwiches, bifana (pork sandwich) or some fried petiscos (snacks) like the Pastel de Bacalhau, a codfish cake, and shrimp croquettes. Ask for a beer or red wine from the house to accompany.
nº14, Calçada Nova de São Francisco, 1200-300 Lisboa, Portugal
Fábulas is a bar, a restaurant, an art gallery—and a good place to get together. It makes you feel at home. You can choose a chair or a sofa (from different styles and periods), or you can sit at a sewing machine table (don’t worry, you don’t have to sew anything, but if you sit in one with drawers, open them and take a look). In summertime, sit outside at the terrace and eat one of the salads or the wonderful appetizers with hummus, cheese, and olive paste. If you go there at lunch, the three menu options are vegetarian, fish, and meat. If you go on a weekend, try the brunch while relaxing, reading a book, and listening to good music in the background. Fábulas is my spot for dinner almost every Wednesday, and most of the time I order octopus, which I recommend, but there are many other good choices—like cod—and you can finish with a dessert of roasted pineapple, spices, crumble, and ice cream. Delicious! If you want to take a peek at the kitchen, there are tables nearby and you can see the cooks in action.
R. Mal. Saldanha 1, 1249-069 Lisboa, Portugal
Ever wanted a different dining experience in Lisbon? Try out the new and trendy place, Pharmacia, which is designed with motifs from the pharmacy world. The restaurant is located in a 200-year-old building that once belonged to a rich family in Portugal and served them as a family residence. For the last few years the building has been home of the National Pharmacy Association in Portugal, and Pharmacia is located on the ground floor with a great outdoor lawn overlooking the river. The menu is such that people can order a few small plates to share with the other people around the table. Sort of tapas to share and not one main dish per person.
24 Rua João do Outeiro
Located in the Mouraria neighborhood—the birthplace of fado—this restaurant is a prime pick for sampling traditional Portuguese food. The codfish, or bacalhau, is a must here. It is served with plenty of bread to clean your plate. In the style of a classic tasca (Portuguese tavern), the walls are adorned with blue tiles and many photos, paintings and drawings.
15B R. Paraíso
This Lisbon restaurant, more than 30 years old, is known for its creative take on Portuguese gastronomic traditions. An extensive wine list represents the many regions of the country offering opportunities to explore by simply ordering a glass. Other bonuses: the restaurant’s glorious views over the river and its location, behind the Santa Apolónia train station, less than five minutes from the National Pantheon.
Jardim 9 de Abril, 1200-736 Lisboa, Portugal
Le Chat has an awesome view, it’s just perfect to finish the day or to have a long lunch. You can enjoy the view over the 25th April Bridge and the Tagus River to the other shore and maybe you will see a cruise ship leaving Lisbon and heading towards the ocean. This glass cube of a joint—near the National Museum of Ancient Art—offers seats inside and outside on a terrace. Even in winter the terrace is appealing, with heat lamps and blankets provided. Rather than ordering a full meal, share some appetizers like sweet potato chips, sautéed shrimp, and a traditional Portuguese dish, Peixinhos da Horta (batter-fried green beans), while enjoying the fresh air and expansive views.
R. Serpa Pinto 10A, 1200-026 Lisboa, Portugal
Superstar chef José Avillez’s flagship dining destination is considered the country’s top restaurant. One of Lisbon’s Michelin two-starred affairs (the other is Alma) and fresh off a recent refurbishment, Belcanto is indeed the perfect place to enjoy Portugal’s rich bounty in the most wonderous, creative, and experimental of ways. The classic tasting menu (€165) nets you Avillez’s signature Garden of the Goose that Laid the Golden Eggs (egg, crunchy bread, and mushrooms), his most famous work of culinary art. More experimental is the Evolution menu (€185), where dishes such as sea bass with smoked avocado, pistachio oil, lime zest, and dashi push boundaries of tradition. It’s a tough choice, especially considering the classic menu ends with Avillez’s wicked cold citrus bomb of a dessert, Tangerine. Belcanto rang in at No. 42 on the coveted 2019 World’s 50 Best Restaurants list.
Tv. Pedras Negras 2, 1100-226 Lisboa, Portugal
To open this all-organic small-plates newcomer near Sé Cathedral, Chef António Galapito imported a caravan of culinary wizardry from the U.K.'s Taberna do Mercado (the London restaurant of Michelin-starred chef Nuno Mendes), including four members of the kitchen staff. The daily menu is an imaginative—challenging, at times—procession of flavor and fun. Standouts might include a charred purple broccoli with buckwheat in a tangy red pepper coulis; a black pork tenderloin with quinces and chocolate peppers; or a portobello mushroom ice cream with pearl barley, sea lettuce flakes, and pork-fat salted caramel (you read that right). Whatever’s on, it will surprise and dazzle even the most blasé of foodies while recalibrating your idea of what Portuguese cuisine is and can be.
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