There are thousands of restaurants in Lisbon and a Google search for the best restaurants returns dozens of options. Unfortunately, many of these restaurants are overpriced, more touristy than authentic and lacking in service. However, there are many nice restaurants boasting traditional Portuguese cuisine with excellent old world service, you just need to steer clear of the most high traffic areas. The restaurants below are what I consider the best restaurants in Lisbon – authentic food, attentive service and an enticing atmosphere.
Disclaimer: Portugal is known for having great food at low prices and while that is true, these meals will not be cheap. They are on par with New York restaurants so while I am used to inflated prices, they are much more expensive by Portuguese standards than a normal restaurant. Dinner for two at one of these restaurants – appetizers, drinks, entrees, dessert and coffee – will cost around €100-€150 per couple.
The Best Restaurants in Lisbon
A Travessa is a traditional, authentic Portuguese restaurant that operates in a former convent, Convento das Bernardas, founded in 1653 and rebuilt after the 1755 earthquake. The restaurant is in a very typical residential neighborhood, down a series of narrow alleys which are quite dark at night, with children playing football in the street. The food is very good and the atmosphere is quite romantic.
Dishes to Try: Tuna Tartare!, Filet Mignon
Telephone: +351 213 902 034; +351 213 940 800
Address: Travessa do Convento das Bernardas nº12 (Madragoa neighborhood)
Hours: Mon-Sat 7:30pm-12:00am; Closed Sun
Reservations: Link or email@example.com
Getting There: A Travessa is 2km west of downtown Lisbon. There is a free transfer service from Parque do Largo Vitorino Damásio (Santos) (+351 968 939 125); The restaurant can also call a taxi.
Cantinho do Avillez
Cantinho do Avillez is one of Portuguese chef José Avillez’s restaurants and is my favorite restaurant in Lisbon. The food is interesting and much of it is a slight twist on traditional Portuguese dishes. One disclaimer – the restaurant is always quite busy and the service is lacking. Usually when we go we struggle to get the servers’ attention and have to ask for things several times; this has also been the experience of other people to whom I have recommended the restaurant. Having said that, most people think the food is great and worth the trip. I recommend going at 10:00pm or later for better service.
I would recommend any of the Jose Avillez restaurants (all of which are located in the Chiado neighborhood of Lisbon): Cafe Lisboa, Minibar, Taberna do Avillez, Pateo do Avillez, and, of course, Belcanto, which has two Michelin stars (reservations should be made 3 months in advance). There is also a Porto location of Cantinho do Avillez.
Dishes to Try: 21st Century Professor style eggs (this is a must! poached eggs with breadcrumbs and chorizo sausage); Tuna Tartar; Traditional Steak Sandwich; Hazelnut Dessert (Avela in Portuguese) (hazelnut ice cream and whipped hazelnut cream, must try!)
Telephone:+351 211 992 369
Address: Rua dos Duques de Bragança, 7
Hours: Mon-Fri 12:30pm-3:00pm and 7:00pm-12:00am; Sat-Sun 12:30pm-12:00am
Reservations: Call for reservations
Getting There: The restaurant is within walking distance of Bairro Alto, Chiado and Baixa; From Alfama take a taxi or tuktuk.
Café de São Bento
Café de São Bento is a great steakhouse west of downtown Lisbon, near the Assembleia da República (Portuguese Parliament). The restaurant has great service. It is rather small and popular so I recommend making a reservation.
Dishes to Try: Café de São Bento Steak; Gin cocktail
Telephone: +351 21 39 529 11; +351 913 658 343
Address: Rua de São Bento, nº 212
Hours: Open everyday for dinner 7:00pm-2:00am and weekdays for lunch 12:30pm-2:30pm
Getting There: A taxi from central Lisbon should be around €10; Bus lines – 727, 706, 773; Subway Station – Rato (Yellow line)
Restaurant Gambrinus is a great traditional Portuguese restaurant with the necessary ambiance and service. The only downside is that is in the very high traffic, touristy neighborhood of Restauradores, with dozens of restaurants all around it. But inside the restaurant is lovely. For a more casual but still great experience, I recommend dining at the bar.
Dishes to Try: Gambas da Nossa Costa (Prawns); Filet Gambrinus (Steak); Lobster!!
Telephone: +351 21 342 1466
Address: Rua das Portas de Santo Antão 23
Hours: Everday 12:00pm-1:30am
Reservations: Call for reservations
Getting There: Gambrinus is just North of Rossio Square and a few blocks from the Restauradores metro stop. It is a 15-20 minute downhill walk from Alfama, Bairro Alto and Chiado.
Restaurante Pabe is another great traditional Portuguese restaurant. It is not as popular as the other restaurants and is quiet – a good place to try if you do not have reservations. The service is excellent. However, smoking is permitted, so it possible you will encounter that while dining.
Dishes to Try:
Telephone: +351 213 537 484
Address: Rua Duque de Palmela, 27 – A
Hours: Everyday 12:30pm-midnight
Getting There: Pabe is just one block West of the Marquês de Pombal roundabout at the North end of Avenida da Liberdade. It is a handful of blocks East of the Rato metro station (yellow line). From most parts of downtown Lisbon a taxi ride should cost under €10.
Restaurante Tagide is a fine dining restaurant with a great view of Praça do Município. It has a quiet, romantic atmosphere and great service. I would recommend it for a special occasion but not a casual dinner.
Tagide also has a more casual wine and tapas bar next week with a small bar and a great view as well. It is a good place to get a drink before dinner or to have a group meal.
Telephone: +351 213 404 010
Address: Largo da Academia Nacional de Belas Artes, 18 & 20
Hours: Mon-Sat 12:30pm-3:00pm & 7:30pm to midnight
Getting There: Tagide is in Chiado, within walking distance of Bairro Alto and Baixa. A taxi from most places in downtown Lisbon should be under €10.
Tasca da Esquina
Tasca da Esquina, in Campo de Ourique, is a charming little restaurant with a lot of windows and a small outdoor terrace. It is off the beaten path for most tourists so a nice change of environment. It offers a lot of small plates or a chef’s selection with a curated selection of dishes. Campo de Ourique is a beautiful neighborhood and I recommend a visit.
Dishes to Try: Shrimp in Garlic Sauce; Sirloin Steak; Tune Steak
Telephone: +351 919 837 255
Address: Rua Domingos Sequeira 41C (Campo de Ourique neighborhood)
Hours: Tues-Sat 12:30pm-3:30pm & 7:30pm-11:30pm; Mon dinner 7:30pm-11:30pm; Closed Sun
Getting There: Tasca da Esquina is in Campo de Ourique, 2.5km West of downtown Lisbon. A taxi should be under €15 from most places in Lisbon, or you can take trolley 28E (watch out for pickpockets).
A note on Estoril because I have not talked about it before: Portugal (especially Lisbon and Estoril) had a very interesting role in WWII – it was geographically removed and relatively uninvolved in the conflict, which made a great place for spies to work. Lisbon was considered the Espionage Capital of the World. Prominent royals lived in exile in Estoril – the Duke of Windsor and the Spanish royal family. Estoril and Hotel Palacio (discussed below) were the inspiration for Ian Fleming’s Casino Royal after he stayed in the hotel and the beginning of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service was filmed there.
Grill Four Seasons at Hotel Palácio Estoril
The Grill Four Seasons Restaurant at Hotel Palácio Estoril (you can read the history here) has the best service of any restaurant I have visited in Portugal. At times there were 3 servers waiting on us. They make the steak tartare tableside on a cart, which is a rare treat. They even had a women’s version of the menu that did not list the price of the dishes (I didn’t realize these still exist!). It offers a very traditional dining experience.
The hotel also has a beautiful bar, Bar Estoril, that I recommend visiting before or after dinner. Its where the spies used to meet!
Dishes to Try: Steak Tartare, Entrecôte de novilho (steak again),
Telephone: + 351 21 464 80 00
Address: Rua Particular, 2769 – 504 Estoril
Hours: Everyday 7:30pm-11:30pm
Reservations: Call for reservations
Getting There: The Hotel is in Estoril, right next to the famous Casino Estoril; Estoril station is right across the street from the hotel (the train from Lisbon’s Cais do Sodré station takes 36 minutes and costs €2.20)
Restaurante Cimas was opened in 1941 by a Brit and has a distinctly British flair to the food. It has a lot of game on the menu as well as seafood. It also has a WWII espionage history. The restaurant itself is very beautiful, as is its view of the ocean.
Dishes to Try: Broad Beans with Sausage (this is delicious!); Partridge in a Madeira sausage;
Telephone: +351 21 468 12 54 – 21 468 04 13
Address: Avenida Marginal, 2765 Monte Estoril
Hours: Mon-Sat 12:30pm-4:00pm & 7:30pm-11:00pm; Closed Sun
Getting There: Restaurant Cimas is across the street from the Monte Estoril train stop (Train is 37 minutes from Lisbon’s Cais do Sodré station; Cost €2.20). If you drive, the restaurant has its own parking.
Restaurante 5 Sentidos
Restaurante 5 Sentidos is a quiet, nice restaurant a few minutes’ walk away from the busy tourist area of Cascais. It has a small terrace as well as a second floor. Cascais has a lot of overpriced oceanside seafood restaurants; this restaurant has a more local feel and more attentive service with great seafood.
Dishes to Try: Garlic Prawns; Clams a Bulhão Pato; Any of the risottos or steaks
Telephone: +351 961 571 194
Address: Largo da Assunção N.º 6, 2750-298 – Cascais
Hours: Everyday except Tues 12:30pm-2:00am; Closed Tues
Getting There: From the center of Cascais, follow the road along the Praia da Ribeira de Cascais up the hill, past the fort to the roundabout; turn right on Largo da Assunção. Parking in Cascais is limited; there is a parking garage a block from the restaurant, across the street from Fundação Dom Luís I. (To get to Cascais from Lisbon, take the train from Cais do Sodré to Cascais, about 40 minutes and costs €2.20.)
Porto Santa Maria
Located on the beautiful Praia do Guincho (Guincho Beach), Porto Santa Maria is a traditional seafood restaurant with spectacular ocean views. Plus, the drive to Porto Santa Maria on N247, which runs between Cascais and Cabo da Roca along the ocean, is my favorite in Portugal; it reminds me of driving on Pacific Coast Highway in Southern California.
Dishes to Try: Any of the classic seafood (obviously) platters
Telephone: + 351 214 879 450
Address: Estrada do Guincho, 2750-642 Cascais
Hours: Everyday 12:15pm-3:30pm & 7:15pm-10:30pm
Reservations: Reservas@portosantamaria.com (Recommended, as it is usually busy)
Getting There: Porto Santa Maria is 8.5km from the center of Cascais. For most people, going by car or taxi from Cascais is the best method to get there. Parking is available. However, there is a bike path that to Praia do Guincho so it is possible to bike there as well. (To get to Cascais from Lisbon, take the train from Cais do Sodré to Cascais, about 40 minutes and costs €2.20.)
There are great restaurants in the Lisbon area with fresh seafood, attentive service, lovely views and interesting history. Do some research before you go and try to go off the beaten path to find an authentic, traditional Portuguese dining experience.
And if you have not been to Portugal before, I recommend reading my article on Dining in Portugal.