As someone who’s had the pleasure of living in Lisbon this past year, I know that the city is never lacking in restaurant options. Although most establishments are small, the diversity of cuisine and the quality of ingredients make Lisbon a top foodie destination.
Below, allow me to share some of my favorite spots.
Open since 1982, Café de São Bento is famous for it’s traditional Portuguese steak. You can have it grilled, covered in the beloved, creamy house sauce and of course served with an egg on top. I would definitely recommend to make a reservation in advance as the host may not let you in without one when you ring the bell.
2. Nossa Cassa
A small spot in Bairro Alto that creates it’s menus based off of fresh ingredients. Plates are meant to be shared “family style” and highlights include seafood and meat dishes paired with great local wines. Reservations are definitely a must!
3. Da Noi
Modern international menu ranging from blackened chickened thighs, gnocchi and tacos. Both the food and the cocktails are so good I made a point of trying to come here at least once a month. Reservations in advance are highly recommended.
4. O AREGOS
Everyone coming to Lisbon should experience the beauty and simplicity of Portuguese cuisines – the right way. O Aregos is one of my favorite local Portuguese restaurants. Come in for a steak, grilled dourada or swordfish with a side of potatoes and vegetables. The restaurant is unpretentious (as is it’s wine menu) and filled with regulars.
*Tip: if you sit down and get presented with a selection of bread, olives and cheese, please know that those come at an extra charge. You can always ask the waiter to take them away.
Just like many places in Lisbon, this small restaurant packs a punch with it’s equally small but selective menu. Favorites include seafood rice, braised oxtail, duck stew and poached pear for desert.
“Apricot Tavern” is a wonderful spot for local Portuguese cuisine in the Santa Apolonia / Alfamma area. Although the menu is in Portuguese, one of the waitstaff will be happy to advise you the perfect option for you and your party.
7. Senhor Uva
Finally, a vegetarian option on the list! Senhor Uva has a fantastic selection of natural wines ranging from white, green, red and rose wines. The staff is more than delighted to assist you to make the right choice. Their menu has a range of delicious plates which can be ordered for the table to share or individually. The restaurant/bar has gotten so popular that they even expanded across the street.
When I think back on some of the best cocktails I’ve had in Lisbon, I think of Matiz Pombalina. As you’re coming off the street, make sure to ring the bell as the bar is located below the owners apartment. There is no food served here, but the quality of cocktails and variety of spirits is unparalleled. Say hi to Manel for me and let him recommend you a drink!
This hole in the wall in the Alfamma is the perfect place for an afternoon pastry an a coffee. They’re particularly well known for their bean cake or “Pastel Feijāo” – soft in the middle and delicious and crunchy on top just like a creme brulee.
10. Pastéis de Belem
No Lisbon foodie list is complete without mentioning the famed Pastéis de Belem. Overhyped? Yes. Touristy? You betcha. And yet, they consistently produce fantastic custard tarts just as the monks have done when they originally created the recipe in 1837.