Four weeks in Lisbon is nowhere near enough time to scratch the surface on the almost 5000 food venues the city has to offer. However we did discover that the food offerings of Lisbon would satisfy any foodie!
Across the whole city there is a great variety in cuisines and the quality in restaurants in general was excellent. So much so we are already planning our return visit with a list of new places to try and places we loved and want to return to!
We always like to plan some meals and other times just we wander and see what we like the look of. Some of the restaurants we had found through recommendations and review sites and others we stumbled across organically.
We have narrowed down our top 5 restaurants from our time in Lisbon. It’s quite an international varied selection, so here they are (in no particular order).
We were wandering the backs streets of Lapa near our accommodation and spotted this cute little restaurant at the top of ‘Rua do Olival’. A few days later we were looking online for good Italian food as we were really fancying pizza and pasta, and this came up as one of the best rated Italians in Lisbon. We totally understand why!
We popped in and booked with Rui for a Friday night at 8pm and he was very patient with us practising our Portuguese. Good start!
On arrival on the Friday we were greeted by Rui who remembered our names and from then to the end of the evening the service was impeccable. It was proper high quality service with the Italian flare. Rui and Cita looked after us well and were very inventive and gave great recommendations.
The restaurant is set over two floors and has great interior design and was cosy and atmospheric.
We opted for Bruschetta and Salmon Gravlax for starter which was served with some amazing Italian bread. The flavours were excellent and the fresh quality ingredients were obvious.
For mains I had ‘Angels Hair’ with fresh truffle and a buttery sauce, this was a fine freshly made pasta, the sauce was light and well seasoned and didn’t overpower the dish. It was the best pasta dish I have ever eaten.
On the theme of truffle, Nathan opted for a pizza with truffle and that was also fantastic. Straight out of the wood fire pizza oven which was in the partially open kitchen and it was great to see the chefs at work. The chef even came to check we were enjoying our meal.
We had two aperitifs, a bottle of red and two espressos and the drinks were very well priced. Mains ranged from around €10 all the way up to over €20 for the more expensive dishes and the starters also had a wide price range depending on what you fancied.
The pricing was excellent and you could have a full anniversary fancy meal here or it would also be a good place for just a pizza and a bottle of red if you didn’t want the full whack. We really liked that they could cater for both options and the service would lend itself to both.
It seemed like a very well priced meal for the quality and quantity and a must visit for a lovely authentic Italian meal!
Again this restaurant was somewhere we spotted on our walks in and back from Lusa Language School everyday and always looked popular and like somewhere we would enjoy.
Only a 5 minute walk from our accommodation we popped in late on a Saturday night and luckily there was a table available.
The cocktail menu was really interesting and exciting with lots of fruit cocktails and a great choice in flavours. We both opted for exotic fruit drinks which were lovely and fresh and well prepared by Rajani who was running the restaurant by herself, and doing a great job. The cocktails were well priced at just €5 each so we popped in on another night for just a drink.
We opted straight for mains and Nathan had chicken Tacos and I had a chicken Chimchanga. They both came with fresh dips and mine with some salsa and beans. The food was hearty well prepared Mexican food and really tasty.
We had a little room left so finished off with some naughty churros which were great too!
The pricing was really good and again somewhere perfect for going with a group of friends for a meal or just a drink or popping in for a quick bite.
Nathan spotted this on a Friday night as we were heading into the district Barrio Alto, which is known for it’s restaurants, bars and nightlife. It is perched at the top of the famous ‘Green Street’ on Poço dos Negros. They have a few tables outside on the street opposite which were all full, but we poked our head in and requested a table inside in the small yet cosy bar area. The waiter Milton let us choose a table as he was having a bit of a rush of customers, but was really good at communicating with us.
We didn’t mind as we were too busy admiring the cute interior and the little mezzanine. They had a great little selection of local produce for sale and we later found out that it is also has connections to a wine shop and distributor.
Milton mentioned he had made a batch of fresh sangria for the day and we opted for that, at €8 for a jug you can’t go far wrong. It was much more tasty than your bog standard sangria. It wasn’t a big venue but it was just being run by Milton and one chef and they were doing a great job and everything was presented to a high standard.
The restaurant serves ‘Petiscos Tradicionais’ and we felt it was like Portuguese style tapas but with a modern fusion twist. We weren’t overly hungry so just opted for a few dishes to share.
We ordered the tarditional portuguese couverts to start. These are a Portuguese sort of pre-starter that are on the menu in most restaurants. Usually bread, butter, sardine pate, cheese, olives and carrots. Restaurants sometimes experiment with these and do more snazzy options. The couverts here included a soft cheese and dipping oils. For mains we ordered padron peppers, a mussel salad, goats cheese with honey and walnuts.
The food was really tasty, reasonable and substantial and we left very full. All this food, and a jug of sangria for just €25.
The restaurant often has live music and on the weekends the street outside is pedestrianised so there are plenty of tables to sit out and enjoy the comings and goings.
With the friendly staff and great food and drinks this is another must visit for us!
We were so lucky to have so many great restaurants near in our area and this was another we stumbled across when trying somewhere out near by. It is right on the corner of a street in the Lapa district overlooking the fountain – Chafariz das Janelas Verdes. We booked ahead and got one of the few tables outside. When busy they can expand their restaurant to the square below.
The food is described as Portuguese fusion with offerings from other Portuguese speaking countries. The menu is really interesting and exciting with loads of amazing sounding dishes.
The lady serving us called Camila was really helpful and again very encouraging with us trying to speak Portuguese (it’s really nice when people help and are patient with you).
We had a beautiful sharing platter for starter that included vegetarian Bon bons, salmon pate and gyozas.
Then for main I had a Mozambique style duck and Nathan a Brazilian style steak. They both came with tasty accompaniments and we chose a crisp dry bottle of white.
The food, service and vibe was all spot on and a lovely place to for an informal dining experience.
Below our Airbnb in Praça da Amarda was the loveliest Portuguese restaurant – Zanzibar. This was our true local spot so we needed to give it a mention.
Zanzibar was quite a modern new restaurant serving traditional Portuguese meals and snacks.
There was a massive outside seating area that we looked over from our apartment and had lots of lovely sun in the day and then came alive with Portuguese residents in the evening, often filling up from 8pm onwards.
We had a meal here on the first night and then a few snacky meals throughout our stay. They also had a very reasonable happy hour so we often would just pop down for a beer and a read.
Ferdinando and the rest of the team were really friendly and we would see them as we were coming in and out most days so got used to catching them for a chat.
We had a portion of one of our favourite dishes Clams ‘Bulhão Pato’ style on a few occasions and it was spot on, great fresh clams (not sandy) with a lovely garlic sauce. Nathan had the pork croquettes and they also had traditional portuguese specialities like Pica Pau (woodpecker), bachalau (cod) and octopus.
Go visit the guys at Zanzibar for some great Portuguese dishes in a modern setting!
If you find yourself in Lisbon these are just a few of the amazing places we came across, all offering something different. Hopefully we can get back soon to try some more of the offerings the city has!