Lisbon is a great city for food. If you know where to go. Lisbon is on an uptick and so is its restaurant culture, so if you're willing to explore and be adventurous you will enjoy some amazing meals. I am not going to cover the fancy or expensive restaurants like Eleven, 100 Maneiras, or Belcanto. In this post, I will be discussing the best restaurants in Lisbon, Portugal that offer delicious food at great prices. But, before we get down to the places you should go to grab a bite, let me give you a few tips for eating in the city of Fado:
Tips for Eating In Lisbon, Portugal
Entradas are like the coperto in Italy or couvert in France. If bread, cheese, or olives are placed on your table, and if you decide to eat them, they will be added to your bill. Understand that the restaurant is not pulling a fast one on you, they are just doing what has been done in Lisbon for years. The entradas usually cost anywhere from 1-3€
Pratos do dia are awesome. Think of these as the French Formule. These dishes usually change on a daily or weekly basis and are made with whatever fresh ingredient was brought in that day. These tend to be the cheapest thing on the menu and super fresh.
Petiscos: Petiscos are small dishes, think of them as Portuguese tapas. These were typically served as a snack to keep you going between meals (and ususally with a drink). They've become quite popular with tourists, and you can now find restaurants fully dedicated to them. If you are looking for a slightly lighter meal, check out a place serving Petiscos.
Sundays are usually bad days. A lot of restaurants will be closed. So make sure to plan ahead for this day of the week.
Tipping it's not customary in Lisbon. Most people leave 1€ or 2, but if you tip somewhere between 5-10% your server will be thrilled. So go ahead and tip.
Where to Eat In Lisbon
Petiscaria Ideal (Santos-o-Velho Neighborhood)
Santos is a fantastic neighborhood for eating well. As mentioned above, Petiscos are Lisbon's version of tapas and Petiscaria Ideal excels at this type of dish. When you go here, the idea is to order a bunch of Petiscos to share. The dishes are priced quite nicely, and the atmosphere is friendly. Make reservations or go early to get a table, they fill up fast. Dishes start at abour 4 Euros.
Location: Petiscaria Ideal is located at Rua da Esperanca 100 in, Lisbon Portugal.
Hours of Operation:
While in Portugal this is more of a Brazilian style steak house. Note, this is not a churrascaria, but it serves Brazilian style steaks. The service is friendly, the food is tasty and the restaurant offers an incredible prix fixe for lunch at just 12 Euros that includes a soup, a main course, and dessert.
Location: Picanha is located at Rua das Janelas Verdes 96
Hours of Operation: Closed Mon, Tue-Sat 12:30pm - 3pm & 8:00 pm - 12:00 am, Sun 12:30pm-3pm
Le Chat (Santos-o-Velho - Museu de Arte Antiga)
If you're looking for a view in a trendy setting, this is it. The bonus here is that the food is great. Le Chat is just a few steps away from the Museu de Arte Antiga. The restaurant is a glass rectangle, so not matter where you sit you have an incredible view. The restaurant is known for their cocktails, and they offer very nice dishes like the octopus shown above and a perfectly cooked duck.
Location: Le Chat is located at Jardim 9 de Abril nº18
Hours of Operation: Sun 12:30pm–12am, Mon-Sat 12:30pm–2am
Martim Moniz Square (Martim Moniz Neighborhood)
We had many lunches and dinners at this lovely outdoor area. I had scoped it out before we got here and it did not disappoint. This square is not very touristy. I think a big reason for that is that the neighborhood is quite multicultural and most tourists that come to Lisbon like to hit up the touristy spots. Some spots in the neighborhood feel like Germany. There is a Chinatown. You can find Turkish Kebab houses and much more. The square reflects the multiculturalism. There is a stage, and when live music is not playing, there is jazz from a sound system to keep you company. On the periphery, there are small restaurants (much like food trucks or kiosks) that include everything from Chinese dim sum, doner shops, a batido (milkshake) shop, a Brazilian sandwich shop, sushi, burgers and more. What's even better, you can get pretty good food deals. Antonio picked up a beef doner with french fries AND a Sagres beer for just 6.50€. I opted for the "Brazilian" shop where I found a beef empanada and a "Cubano" for 7.50€. Mind you, my Cubano was not a Cubano (either Cuba is too damn far from Portugal...or they gave me someone else's sandwich), but I will say it was delicious and filling. This square is also pretty close to the Castelo, the Mouraria, and the water. It's a super chill spot. On Friday nights, DJ's play all kinds of music as all types of people: young, old, Portuguese, African, French, rich, poor, hippies, dandys, et all sit back and enjoy the music. I even got a 15 minute massage for just 5€. A lot of blogs had mentioned it was unsafe, but I had no issues whatsoever there. Forgot to mention that each kiosk has its own tent with tables and TVs - these came in handy when I needed to see the Colombia-Japan world cup game.
Location: Tram #15 to Praça da Figueira & walk North.
Mercado da Ribeira (Cais do Sodre Neighborhood)
I have a thing for markets. Not supermarkets but galerias and les Halles. This falls into the category I love. It's a damn good place to go food shopping and to grab a bite. The market has been around since 1882 and it is located near the River and the Cais do Sodre station. You can get everything from octopus, escargot, funeral flowers (yup...funeral flowers), and of course bacalhau. I spent about 3.50€ on eggs, peaches, nectarines, pears, and strawberries. Prices for produce and meats here are amazing. This year, the market got a facelift thanks to "Time Out". It now has a fancy dining hall where you can find almost all types of food you could possibly desire. There are 30 restaurants in the market including Chinese, beef, sushi, and much more. It also serves as a beer and wine garden and since it is open to 2am on Fridays, it's a great nighlife spot. The restaurants here are more expensive than those in town, so don't expect a value here. I had a sandwich tasting trio from the Vitor Claro kiosk. Three tiny, but delicious sandwiches: Club Bijou - chicken breast, bacon, and egg, Escabeche - fish escabeche, and Lombo de sardinha - sardine filet. This and a glass of wine cost me 15€.
Location: Mercado da Ribeira is located at Avenida 24 de Julho in Lisbon, Portugal
Market: open daily 5am– 2pm. Closed on Sundays. Dining Hall Hours: Sunday to Wednesday 10am to midnight; Thursday to Saturday 10am to 2am
Farol de Santa Luzia (Alfama)
We read great reviews about this restaurant online and the price was right...keep in mind food in Lisbon is not as inexpensive as we thought it would be. Besides, this restaurant is situated between the Castelo & Alfama neighborhoods, so it made a perfect spot for our trip to the Feria de Ladras. Loved our server, he was one of those you could tell had been working professionally as a server for years. We declined the couvert because it was 3.50€ for olives, bread, and olive oil...and because we had seen pictures of the portions online. This was definitely a right move. Our dishes were HUGE. I ordered grilled sardines with potatoes. The fish was perfectly cooked inside and the potatoes were delicious. The sardines were a tad over salted, but that's just due to the method of cooking. Antonio chose the entrecote, pork ribs. His ribs were also (ever so slightly) oversalted, but they came with the most amazing rice and beans. Seriously - the beans were worth the meal. I'm Colombian-American. Antonio is Dominican-Cuban-American. We know rice and beans. If this is what Portuguese rice and beans taste like, I am a convert. Good food, good price, good service. I give it a thumbs up.
Location: Farol de Santa luzia is located at Largo de Santa Luzia, 5
Hours: Monday to Saturday 12 noon to 11pm.
A Cantina das Freiras (Chiado Neighborhood)
An amazing view of the Targus, and cheap-yummy homemade Portuguese food: don't miss out on this place. It's kinda hard to find. When you turn onto Travessa do Ferragial, you'll probably walk right past the entrance. It has no sign. It's in a really tall building. When you walk in, just keep walking up the stairs until you get to the top. At the entrance is a sort of delicatessen where you can purchase drinks and snacks. Walk past this into the dining room and to the cafeteria style area where you order. Prices are INSANE. What do I mean by INSANE? Here are a few examples:
- Salad + quiche 2.90€
- Omelet + salad 2.50€
- Soup + sandwich 3.50€
- Ementa: soup, main dish (example would be a huge portion of calamari, mashed potatoes AND a salad), and a drink 6.50€
We went, loved it, and went back. We sat in the sun with a gorgeous view and were not even able to finish our food. They even have beer and wine. Seriously - go. It's kinda awesome. Only downfall - cash only (but at these prices - who cares) and no English is spoken here (but who cares - you can always point and make an ass out of yourself - it will be worth it). Best deal in the Chiado neighborhood.
Location: A Cantina das Freiras is located at Travessa do Ferragial 1
Hours: Monday - Friday 11:30am - 3pm
Lisbon is filled with tiny mom and pops throughout the city. These restaurants feel kinda like you're eating at somebody's house. Leitaria Aviz is one of them. These restaurants are frequented by Lisboetas who work in the area. Usually a group of 4-10 of them will take a break from the work day and recharge here. You can get an incredible meal for under 10€. I had Arroz de Polvo, a Portuguese dish of rice, octopus, shrimp, chorizo. Antonio got Portuguese rice and beans along with some gorgeous pork ribs, and Nuno got an entire grilled fish with potatoes and broccoli. For dessert, we had Arroz Doce à Portuguesa. A sort of rice pudding sprinkled with the most charming designs in cinnamon. Our meal (with a 1/2 bottle of wine and one Sagres) came out to less than 20€. MIND BLOWN! Delicious food that does not break the bank does not usually happen to me. Check out this place on your next visit. Something tells me I'll be back before I leave town.
Rua das olarias 2, 218-860-471
Jesus é Goês (Avenida Liberdade/Baixa Neighborhoods)
Jesus is indeed Goan, he's the Goan born chef at this wonderful establishment. Jesus left his homeland to move to Lisbon years ago without knowing a word of English. He learned his dishes from his mom and now shares authentic Goan flavors (as well as his wonderful spirit) with everyone who enters the restaurant. Although the restaurant was packed upon minutes of opening, he made it a point to walk to each table and give everyone personal attention. But the most important thing here was that the food was outstanding. I had not had such good Indian food since I last went to Junoon, a one star Michelin in Manhattan. We had chickpea fritters with coriander and chapati to start with. Both delectable and they came with a gorgeous cilantro chutney. I had the fish curry at 14€ and Antonio had the coriander chicken at 11€. Both dishes were exquisite, fresh, not oversalted in any way. This was one of our more expensive meals, but I say that with a grain of salt. The quality of the food served here is worth much more (if you're reading this Jesus - don't raise your prices - we like them just the way they are). Do not miss this lovely spot.
Location: Jesus e Goes is located at Rua de São José, 23
Hours: 12:00pm - 12:00am
Notes: Reservations are a must
Antonio hated this place...but I think that was mostly because his chicken dish did not fit his flavor palate. I quite enjoyed what I got and I would return. This place sits on the Alfama neighborhood, right across from the Statue of St. Vincent next to the Miradouro Largo das Portas do Sol. It has outdoor seating, so it is great for people watching...especially the tourists getting off the tram. Make a stop here and get the clams in duck bouillon. They cost 9€ and are absolutely delicious. Antonio's chicken dish was a Paillard...which I will admit was strange. It had a sort of scrambled egg sauce that I have never seen before. I'm not sure if it's a regional deviation or just something that is done at this restaurant, so skip that and go with my suggestion. Afterwards, sneak into the Decorative Arts Museum or grab your camera and cross the street to the overlook.
Location: Bar Cerca Moura is located at Largo Das Portas Do Sol 4
Hours: Mon-Sun 11am - 6pm
Stanislav (Avenida Liberdade/Baixa)
After we settled into the apartment, we needed to get SIM cards forour phones, so we decided to do that and get acquainted with the city. We had no destination and were lucky to walk into Stanislav. The restaurant was spotlessly clean, and a charming blend of Portuguese and Russian aesthetic. The atmosphere was relaxed and everyone spoke English (which came in quite handy as my Portuguese is "basic" at best. The restaurant offered a 15€ 3-course prix fixe lunch. Each course had 2 options, so Antonio and I decided to order one of each. Antonio chose the Borscht, and stuffed pork with mashed potatoes. I had the Sproti fish toast and the roasted potatoes with minced meat. Everything was delicious, but the star of the meal was the Borscht. It was served warm with Smetana sour cream. We kept dessert to a simple (but delicious) vanilla ice cream topped off with fruit. The wine selection at the restaurant was nice as well. Antonio had the Monte da Ravasqueira 2012 Vioignier/Albarino blend (had great mouth feel) and I had the Quinta da Pinto Vioignier/Chardonnay 2011 which was simply lovely. The meal came to a total of 33€ - that was for 2 people, 3 courses, 2 glasses of wine AND a bottle of sparkling mineral water - This restaurant was a great value. We ended up having to pay in cash because the restaurant only took debit cards. This is common in Lisbon - so always carry cash. We returned for dinner another night and loved it just as much.
Location: Stanislav is located at Rua São José 182
Hours of Operation: Mon-Sat 12:30pm - 3:00pm,,7:30pm - 11:30pm
Taberna dos Clérigos
Calçada de São Vicente, nº 10 - The thing about Lisbon is that you can walk the city and find deals almost everywhere. We found one of these deals at Taberna dos Clérigos in the hills of the Alfama neighborhood. Most of these types of restaurants aren’t fancy. They tend to feel as if someone opened up their home and decided to make a restaurant. The people who owned the place were incredibly kind. We normally do not take the couvert (beware – this is where prices can get high – restaurants will over charge for bread, olives, and cheese). But the couvert here was fair, and came in handy at the end. Dishes here cost under €10. The meats themselves were great, but as Antonio mentioned, the rice was not so good. It was soggy and overcooked…this was not that much of an issue since the meat portions were so big.
Phone number +351 218 861 229
Hours of Operation: Daily 10am – 2am Daily 10am – 2am