Written by local Lisboeta Bruno Massey-Silk
Lisbon has something in store for people of all tastes and preferences. One of the oldest cities in the world, its quirky streets, fabulous food and Fado music have made it a popular destination for travellers each year. Besides the beautiful architecture, friendly locals and days of endless sun, food and drink in Lisbon are still relatively cheap by European Standards.
We’ve put together a list of some of the best establishments for food and drink in Lisbon for those foodies who want something a little bit different this year. And those of you who prefer to prepare your own food while on holidays – no problem! Our great selection of apartments features well-stocked kitchens.
Eating in Lisbon
Looking for food and drink in Lisbon is never a problem as the city has an array of cafes, bars and restaurants.
Cakes & Pastries
Holidays are a time to let go and there is no other way to do it better than with sugary treats.
Portugal is famous for its cakes and patisseries, but no pastry is more famous than the Pastel de Nata, an egg custard tart that can be found inside the historic café and factory Pasteis de Belém, situated in the historical area of Belém. Another popular cake in Portugal is the Queijadas De Sintra, which can be bought almost everywhere. If you wish to visit the place where both come from, we recommend café Casa Piriquita in Sintra. It may no longer be the main production for queijadas, but it still remains the place to visit when walking around the magical town of Sintra.
For those of you who want to expand your tastes, check out café A Brasileira in Bairro Alto, a popular stomping ground for many tourists, all coming for cake and coffee – and to pose in front of the statue of Fernando Pessoa seated outside the café. Another great spot is Miradouro de Santa Catarina, where you can also enjoy a fantastic view of the river.
If you’re more in the mood to eat something more substantial, Lisbon has a vast selection of restaurants which cater to all tastes. Some of the following restaurants are new; some have been going for years. What they all have in common is great food, ambiance and service.
Casa de Pasto
Address: Rua de S. Paulo 20, 1200-014 Lisboa
Closed on Sundays | (+351) 213471397 | (+351) 963739979 | www.casadepasto.com
This unique restaurant is inspired by the latest 19th-century traditional eating-houses favoured by the bourgeoisie. It has remarkable vintage decoration, funny bathrooms and lively waiters. Situated near the docks of Lisbon, it serves fantastic and affordable food, with each mouthwatering dish leaving you begging for more.
Address: R. do Ginjal 72, 2800 Almada
Closed on Tuesdays | (+351) 212760743
This café/restaurant has perhaps the best view of the city of Lisbon due to its location on the south side of the river Tagus in the area of Cacilhas. We recommend that you save this restaurant for your last evening and dine as the sunset shines over the river and slowly disappears to reveal the city lights. During the summer months, the best time to dine here is the early evening to be able to capture a breathtaking view of the 25th of April bridge.
Casa do Alentejo
Address: Rua das Portas de Santo Antão, 58, Lisboa
Open Everyday | (+351) 213405140 | www.casadoalentejo.com.pt
This unusual edifice is situated in the heart of Lisbon, a few minute walk from Rossio Square, in a Moorish-style palace which was built almost a century ago. Casa do Alentejo has a library, a handicraft shop and a small cafe in the courtyard on the first floor, which is popular among the locals for its fish and beautiful traditional Portuguese tiles. The restaurant itself is on the second floor, and is perfect for fine dining: try the succulent tuna steak.
- Not all restaurants accept card, check before sitting down.
- Restaurants will always place bread, butter and olives on the table once you’ve sat down: these are not free and in some restaurants can cost as much as your meal.
Drinking in Lisbon
There are plenty of places in Lisbon to have a wild or quiet drink, so take your time in picking something that suits you. A cold glass of beer, a fruity cocktail or a delicious bottle of wine always tastes better in the right setting.
Address: Rua do Alecrim 19, 1200-014 Lisboa
Open everyday | (+351) 213143399 | wwwpensaoamor.pt
This bar/club is in the former red light district of Cais do Sodré, in a typical Portuguese 18th-century building, and was once a cheap guesthouse with rooms people could rent by the hour. Just the 2nd floor is open to the public now but customers can still walk up and down the stairs to admire the remake copies of old posters from burlesque and peep shows. The walls and ceilings are covered with mirrors, paintings, old posters and decorative pieces.
Address: Rua da Atalaia, Bairro Alto. Lisboa
Situated at the entrance of Bairro Alto, this lively bar serves XXXL drinks for a very reasonable price. We recommend you try the Morangoska which is made with fresh strawberries. Come by between 18:00 – 00:00 for happy hour and enjoy the lively music and friendly owners who always have a smile and a hug to give.
Address: Calcada do Combro 58, 1200-024 Lisboa
Closed on Sundays | (+351) 215914011
This rooftop bar is located inside a functioning car park, on the top floor. This restaurant/ bar/club is built completely out of wood and looks like an elevated garden terrace, but with the added bonus of a view of the 25th of April bridge and the statue of Jesus on the opposite side of the river. Balance the alcohol by enjoying lunch or dinner here from a relatively healthy menu. Or stay on the same level with a burger which can be made can be made vegetarian or with pork or cod.
Nightlife in Lisbon
This compact and modest sized city doesn’t seem a party city at first glance. This is very wrong; what the Portuguese do best is party and dance. See for yourself in the numerous abandoned factories that now house Lisbon’s most popular clubs.
Address: Rua do Alecrim 70, 1200-018 Lisboa
Open everyday | (+351) 212760743 | www.palaciochiado.pt
If you want to be “Lisbon cool”. then head to Urban Beach where fashion parties and VIP celebrations are often held. If that is not your thing, casual clubbers are also welcome. Inside the lounge-bar, clubbers will find a river view and plump sofas on a terrace perfect for chilling out during the summer. If the electric pop music playing doesn’t get you on your feet, the dancefloor’s enthralling lighting will have you moving in no time.
Address: Av. 24 de Julho 68. 1200-769 Lisboa
Closed on Sundays | (+351) 215914011 | www.mainlisbon.pt
Air, Room, Zero are the three concepts behind this sprawling club. Visitors who head to the top floor (“Air“) can have dinner at a trendy Japanese with an open-air terrace. Once your dinner has settled, you will find yourself easily dancing to Brazilian music, funky R&B and smooth pop. The floor below (“Room“) is where you go if you really want to dance to the strong beats of house and hip-hop. The final floor (“Zero“) is in the basement and is more of a chill-out area where the DJ plays electric and tech-house. Main has something for everyone, you could say.
We aspire to offer you the very best Lisbon has to offer – so we decided to go a bit further and suggest a place you might come across if you’re not a local.
Address: Rua Dom Pedro V, 89/91 | 1250-093 Lisboa
Open everyday | (+351) 213424729
For something totally different, head to Pavilhão Chinês. Guests here will find them mingling with old mugs, porcelain dolls, miniature trains, military helmets and uniforms spread across five rooms. Too crazy? The mouthwatering cocktails and pool table might be a little more familiar.