See what it’s like to eat at Belcanto, the best restaurant in Lisbon and the 46th best restaurant in the world. Our Belcanto review has all of our meal highlights including photos and menu prices.
Belcanto is the epitome of luxury dining – easily one of the best meals we’ve eaten in the last few years. Not only has the lauded Lisboa restaurant earned two Michelin stars, but Belcanto also occupies the 46th spot in the most recent version of the coveted World’s 50 Best Restaurants list.
Read about our dinner at the former #1 restaurant on this list unless you’d rather see the photos. Then check out our meals at the 31st best restaurant, the 22nd best restaurant and the 30th best restaurant.
In other words, Belcanto in Lisbon isn’t just one of the best restaurants in Portugal. With its trifecta of outstanding food, attentive service and exquisite wine, Belcanto fulfills expectations as one of the best dining experiences in the world.
Belcanto Chef José Avillez
Celebrity chef José Avillez helms Belcanto as part of his Portugal restaurant empire, but he’s more than a name on the masthead. Avillez was working in the kitchen when we dined at Belcanto, orchestrating a meal to remember.
Dining at Belcanto in Lisbon provides a series of mouth-wowing moments where you’ll wonder how they did that. Even bread service impressed us with seaweed flavored butter that transported us straight to the Atlantic Ocean.
Whether you’re an expert about Portuguese cuisine or are experiencing the food set for the first time, Avillez will surprise and delight you with every course at Belcanto. His approach to fusing modern gastronomy and traditional Portuguese foods is masterful as is his ability to source top quality Portuguese products in one of Portugal’s most gastronomic cities.
More importantly, his food tastes exceptionally good.
Belcanto Lisbon Dining Options and Prices
Scoring a reservation is the most stressful part about eating at Belcanto. You’ll need to decide between sitting at the intimate Chef’s Table or in the elegant dining room.
Most diners opt for the full Belcanto experience and order one of three available tasting menus – a six-course classics menu priced at 175€, a nine-course evolutions menu priced at 195€ and a unique chef’s table menu served in the kitchen priced at 250€, each available with an optional wine pairing. Note, prices are subject to change.
The restaurant offers a la carte choices for those not willing to put themselves in the restaurant’s hands. Eating dishes from the Belcanto menu can be more cost effective if you order judiciously; however, the tasting menus offer the most bang for the proverbial buck.
Plan ahead and make your Belcanto reservations in advance to avoid disappointment. Making an online reservation for either lunch or dinner is the easiest way to get this done.
Our Belcanto Lunch
Eating at Belcanto is an event worthy for a celebrating a special anniversary or birthday. It’s also a must for food travelers who visit Lisbon. Since we live in Lisbon, this Michelin-starred restaurant was at the top of our dining wish list.
Wanting to taste all of the restaurant’s highlights, we ordered the nine-course Belcanto evolutions menu paired with a selection of fine Portuguese wines. Course after course, this epic experience took us on a culinary Portuguese food journey in which each dish was a revelation in both taste and texture.
Discover our favorite Portuguese Food Favorites.
Our Belcanto lunch began with a range of amuse-bouches like suckling pig offals ingeniously shaped like cherries and gazpacho with almond foam so delicious that we wanted to lick the glass.
The carabineiro (giant red shrimp), deshelled and served with spherified clams and topped with shrimp head sauce, was a meal highlight. The restaurant exclusively sources its prawns from the Algarve and serves them in season only. As Daryl spontaneously exclaimed, “this is the best shrimp ever.”
The restaurant’s modern take on the peasant pork offal and cabbage stew cozido a la Portuguese was another standout with ingredients like locally sourced pork, cabbage and cubed lardo melting together in a synthesis of meatiness.
Having eaten the all-encompassing cozido at local tascas, we appreciate that it takes a large creative mind to synthesize the dish’s melange of porky elements into a cohesive, condensed ‘prato’. Avillez achieves this feat by taking the essence of cozido and ‘minimalizing’ the dish like a Frank Stella painting with key culinary elements in sharp focus.
And we can’t forget ridiculously fresh sea bass flavored with a hint of smokiness and topped with a rich avocado puree. We could go on, but part of the fun of dining at Belcanto is an element of surprise that we don’t want to ruin.
Belcanto Final Thoughts
Belcanto is probably the most expensive restaurant in Lisbon and a culinary splurge that not all can afford. However, food travelers who book ahead and have the resources will not want to miss out on this culinary experience.
Let’s face it – dining in Lisbon is typically cheap. It’s entirely possible for a couple to eat in the city for less than 50€ a day. We recommend that you use the money you save while eating at local tascas to pay for an extraordinary meal at Belcanto.
Belcanto is that memorable and special.
Go to another José Avillez restaurant if Belcanto isn’t in your budget or if you don’t score a reservation. Check out his current restaurant portfolio to find the Avillez restaurant that works best for you.
Belcanto is located at Rua Serpa Pinto 10A, 1200-026 Lisboa, Portugal.
While you can call or email the restaurant, the easiest option is to make an online reservation in advance of your visit. Belcanto’s reservation system accepts reservations for up to six people.
At the time of our meal, tasting menus ranged from 175€ to 250€ and wine pairings ranged from 95€ to 150€. For those who prefer ordering on an a la carte basis, individual dishes ranged from 45€ to 95€ while each dessert was priced at 25€. As always, prices are subject to change.
No. Tipping is optional in Portugal.
Belcanto doesn’t have a dress code. During our visit, most guests including us were dressed in a style best described as smart casual.
Belcanto is centrally located in Lisbon’s Chiado neighborhood. Depending on your location, you can walk or you can take a bus, car share, taxi or the metro.
At the time of our lunch time visit, Belcanto offered three different tasting menus plus an a la carte menu. In other words, there’s not one answer to this question.
Belcanto is a justifiable splurge for those who can afford the restaurant’s hefty prices. It’s a special destination that easily ranks as the city’s #1 restaurant.
Hungry for More in Lisbon?
Eating in Portugal is fun! Check out our picks for Lisbon’s best restaurants, brunch spots, pizzerias, pastel de nata bakeries, specialty coffee cafes and ice cream shops. Then check our our restaurant reviews of Cervejaria Ramiro, Ponto Finale and Tasca Baldracca. If you’re limited in time, consider sampling a range of Lisbon food favorites at the Time Out Market.
About the Authors
Daryl & Mindi Hirsch
Saveur Magazine’s BEST TRAVEL BLOG award winners Daryl and Mindi Hirsch share their culinary travel experiences and recipes on the 2foodtrippers website and YouTube. The married Food and Travel content creators live in Lisbon, Portugal.
Original Publication Date: September 24, 2020