#01 – For a late breakfast or lunch, my go to place is the Nicolau Lisboa Café on Rua Nicolau; for eggs benedict, avocado on sourdough toast, or mascarpone and honey pancakes.
There are actually three Nicolau cafes across the city: the original Nicolau Lisboa, Amelia Lisboa (on Rua Ferreira Borges) and Basilio Lisboa (on Rua dos Bacalhoeiros) and all three menus are on their homepage at www.ilovenicolau.com.
#02– Casa do Portuguesa do Pastel de Bacalhau (on the crossroads of Rua de Sao Nicolau and Rua Augusta) is home to one of Lisbon’s most famous savoury dishes: Pasteis de Bacalhau. They’re delicious cod and potato fritters; the perfect snack when you’re on the move.
#03 – Lisbon’s oldest district Alfama has the city’s highest concentration of Fado restaurants. If you’re looking for an authentic Fado experience with a traditional Portuguese menu, head to Casa de Linhares (on Beco dos Armazens do Linho).
#04 – Where to eat in Lisbon like a local: Cervejaria Ramiro (on the Avenida Almirante Reis). It’s a well-known, well-loved restaurant amongst residents of Lisbon, serving traditional Portuguese dishes based around fresh, seasonal ingredients: Clams, Crawfish and Gamba a la Aguilho. The ground floor can be busy but it’s great to watch the chefs working in their open kitchen – if you’d prefer a quieter table, upstairs is best.
#05 – Where to eat in Lisbon for a special occasion ? One of the city’s most celebrated chefs in recent times has been Jose Avillez. He has several restaurants in the city – one of our favourites is Bairro do Avillez (on Rua Nova da Trindade) with it’s laid-back atmosphere, Bulhao Pato clams and coal-roasted blue lobster. If you’re looking for something a little different, book a table at the Beco Gourmet Cabaret. Inspired by the cabaret clubs of the 1920s, dinner and performance are intertwined – the menu isn’t revealed in advance and the whole experience lasts around two and half hours.
#06 – Heading down to the banks of the River Tagus, the city’s old Mercado da Ribeira river market has been revamped and repurposed as the Time Out Food Court. Many of Lisbon’s best chefs are conveniently collected together under one roof – there’s always a lively atmosphere and they’re open until 2am at weekends.
#07– From the Mercardo, it’s a short walk along Rua de Sao Paulo to another of Jose Alvillez’s projects at Cantina Peruana. It’s a joint venture with fellow chef Diego Munoz – a canteen and bar with a Peruvian menu: Munoz has long been a champion of South American cuisine.
#08 – Heading into the Principe Real district of Lisbon, you’d be forgiven for missing Tapisco – an unassuming little building squashed between an optician and a sports shop. Tapsico specialises in Portuguese Petiscos and Spanish Tapas.
There’s an important distinction to make between the two: whereas Tapas are distinct dishes in their own right, Petiscos are usually smaller, taster-versions of existing larger dishes. Tapisco’s creator is Henirque Sa Pessoa – owner of the Michelin-starred restaurant Alma in the Chiado district. Tapsico is a much-more informal affair.
#09 – The Food Temple is a super-informal vegan restaurant on Beco do Jasmim (in the maze of narrow streets between the Praca Martim Moniz and Rua Marques Ponte de Lima). It’s a little bit pricey for the size of the portions, but worth it: their creativity and presentation is superb. The fold-out tables on the steps outside are a clever touch – but book ahead if you’d prefer a regular table indoors.
#10 –Chiado has the largest concentration of vegan and vegetarian restaurants. A Colmeia is Lisbon’s oldest vegetarian restaurant (est. 1962). They’re only open for lunch (midday to 15:30) – you don’t get the high-end presentation of the Food Temple, but the portions are large and good value.
#11 – The Green Affair is also in Chiado (just around the corner from the Metro station). Wonderful soups, katsu curry, risottos, vegan burgers and steaks, and the service is excellent. Be sure to sample the cauliflower wings and the pepper-spiced fries.
#12 – daTerra is a vegan restaurant in the Bairro Alto district. Their lunchtime all-you-can-eat buffets are excellent value with delicious, dairy-free desserts.
#13 – Ao 26 is just off the Praca Luis de Camoes (on the first floor of #05 Rua da Horta Seca). They specialise in vegan versions of Portuguese staples, such as polvo guisado and francesinha – their vegan cheese board is a popular highlight.
#14 – Honest Greens in the north west district of Amoreiras is a recent discovery by our team member Steve. They’re not a 100% dedicated veggie/vegan establishment, but they have an excellent selection of veggie dishes on their menu. There’s a bit of a hipster-ish feel to the décor with big, shared tables and cool music, and it’s a good option if you’re staying out at the Hotel Dom Pedro Lisboa. They also have a branch just off the Avenida da Liberdade, in Chiado and at Cais do Sodre if you’re staying downtown, and there’s a branch down on the riverfront in the Parque das Nacoes if you’re looking to escape the airport for lunch between flights.
#15 – Central Lisbon is spread across seven hills and the city is dotted with miradouros – purpose-built viewpoints which make the most of the breath-taking views. There’s an almost equal number of rooftop bars, where you can enjoy a glass of chilled Vino Verde with Lisbon’s stunning nightscape as a backdrop.
Our first recommendation is Carpintarias – tucked behind the Sao Jorge hospital, the bar is also known as the Miradouro de Baixo with a view looking up towards the miradouro da Senhora do Monte, the Convento da Graca, and the Castelo de Sao Jorge’s northern ramparts.
#16 – One of our favourites is the rooftop bar at the Hotel Mundial. There’s an element of laziness at work, as we’ll often stay at the hotel when we’re visiting the city. Don’t let our nepotism put you off – they mix a great negroni and the view is arguably one of the best: a 270⁰ panorama with the castle and Alfama to your left, Bairro Alto to your right, and the Baixa heading downtown to the river in between.
#17 – On the other side of Rossio, the Carmo Rooftop Bar is tucked between two famous Lisbon landmarks – the Convento do Carmo and the Santa Justa Elevator. It’s on the sixth floor of the Martim Moniz shopping centre and is split across three levels. The upper level has shade from the afternoon sun, and looks across the Baixa rooftops towards the castle. The much-larger lower terraces don’t have as good a view but it’s often easier to get a table.
#18 – The old Brasserie Rossio has had a full makeover and is now the Rossio Gastrobar. It’s on the roof of the Altis Avenida hotel at the southern-end of the Avenida da Liberdade, and now has a slightly formal, art deco feel. The excellent view downtown remains the same.
#19 – Heading up to the northern end of the avenida, you’ll come to one of the city’s most-popular venues – the Sky Bar Lisboa on the roof of the Tivoli Avenida Liberdade Hotel. Spread over multiple levels, the night-time view down towards Rossio is mesmerising, as is their prodigious range of cocktails.
#20 – The V Rooftop cocktail bar is a couple of streets away, on the edge of the Principe Real district. Part of The Vintage Hotel, it has a mellow, urban garden atmosphere which reflects the feel of the hotel.
#21 – The Vintage’s sister hotel, The Lumaires, also has it’s own rooftop Lumi Restaurante and Bar. Located just across the road from the miradouro de Sao Pedro de Alcantara, the Lumi’s long terrace has a similar aspect, looking out across the Bairro Alto rooftops towards the river.
#22 – Heading down to the riverfront and Cais do Sodre – the recently renovated 8Building is just behind the Timeout Food Market and Jardim Dom Luis I. There are five or six restaurants spread across the ground floor – head inside, take the lift to the top floor and you’ll find Java Rooftop.
Inside and out, there’s a city-garden feel similar to the V Rooftop bar – outside if where Java excels, with it’s view over the rooftops and across the river to Almada, the Santuario de Cristo Rei and the Ponte 25 de Abril bridge.
#23 – Not on a rooftop and not just a bar – and strictly speaking, not in Lisbon – however, our last entry deserves a mention for it’s unusual riverside location on the south bank in Almada.
The Restaurante Ponto Final often tops ‘best of’ lists on where to eat in Lisbon – thanks in no small part to view west in the evenings, when the sun silhouettes the distinctive profile of the Ponta 25 Abril bridge. If you’re staying in central Lisbon, it takes a little bit of dedication to get there – the best option is a fifteen-minute ferry ride from Cais do Sodre to Cacilhas, followed by a ten-minute walk along the river. Is it worth it? We think so.
Our Where to eat guides are based on our first-hand experience and our love of great Portuguese cuisine:
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