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15 Best Restaurants In Lisbon – Selected By Locals

After living in the Portuguese capital for four years and eating at hundreds of Lisbon restaurants, we’re sharing our favorites which range from cheap eats to fine dining. In other words, these are our picks for the best restaurants in Lisbon.

Outside Adega das Gravitas in Lisbon
Image: ©2foodtrippers

Living in Lisbon for four years has been a ride filled with more bumps and curves than a journey on the city’s infamous 28 tram.

The Lisbon food scene was different when we moved to Portugal’s capital city back in January of 2019. Back then, it was typical to order a three course lunch, including a huge plate of Cosido a la Portuguesa, soup, dessert and a carafe of wine, for under 10 euros.

For better and worse, those days are pretty much over. Prices are up due to the current economy’s inflationary pressures. Three course lunches remain a great bargain for under 15€ while savvy diners can still find lunch steals for under 10€. And on a positive note, the number of quality dining spots has grown faster than the city itself.

Discover the Lisbon food favorites not to miss during your visit.

Salmon Roe at Omakase Ri in Lisbon
We still dream about this bowl of salmon roe that we ate at Omakase Ri in Lisbon. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Lately, each walk through restaurant-dense neighborhoods like Chiado and Principe Real reveals an undiscovered spot around every corner. While these new eateries excite us, we’ve learned to appreciate the simple pleasures of the Lisbon dining scene which celebrates both ageless Portuguese classics and impeccable sushi.

Some Lisbon restaurants are cheap. Some are cool and trendy. Others are family friendly or suitable for special occasions. But the best places to eat in Lisbon focus on one thing – great food.

Pro Tip
Make advance reservations if you’re looking to eat at one of the hottest Lisbon restaurants. Otherwise, you’ll likely experience dining disappointment.

Where To Eat In Lisbon | The Best Restaurants In Lisbon

Octopus Starter at Solar dos Presuntos in Lisbon
We order octopus whenever we see it on a Lisbon menu. We ordered this Galician octopus starter at Solar dos Presuntos. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

It’s no secret. Not all Lisbon restaurants are great. In fact, some are flat-out awful. Since we’ve lived here for a while, our goal is to point you in the right direction whether you’re visiting or just moved to the city. So, cutting to the chase…

These are our picks for the best restaurants in Lisbon, Portugal:

1. Cervejaria Ramiro – Iconic Lisbon Seafood Restaurant

Ramiro Building in Lisbon
Cervejaria Ramiro isn’t just the most popular marisqueira in Lisbon. It’s also our favorite marisqueira in Lisbon. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

We’ve eaten at a lot of seafood restaurants all over Lisbon. Ramiro is our favorite despite the constant flow of tourists who consistently flock to the Intendente marisqueira six nights of the week like clockwork.

This is the restaurant where we’ve taken many of our guests including both of our mothers. Nobody has been disappointed yet. Sometimes, though, we just go ourselves and order a plate or two of Gambas Aguillo. Yes – it’s possible to dine at Ramiro without eating the entire Atlantic Ocean.

Read our Cervejaria Ramiro restaurant review.

Garlic Shrimp at Ramiro at Lisbon Restaurants
The Gambas Aguillo at Cervejaria Ramiro is easily the best garlic shrimp we’ve eaten in Portugal. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

We dare you to find better Gambas Aguillo. The cooks just do it better at Ramiro. In fact, Ramiro’s garlic shrimp is so good that, if you’re on a budget, you could satisfy yourself with an order of shrimp, some clams and the restaurant’s butter-slathered Bolo de Caco, a style of bread more typically served in Madeira.

If you want to spend a little more, Ramiro’s big clawed sapateira (crabs) are a party for the table. Those who really want to blow it out can order lobster, percebes (goose barnacles) and spanilha (small conches). Ramiro’s enormous tiger shrimp are big, beautiful and unforgettable while their pricey carabineiro (red prawns) are unique to the Iberian peninsula. On the right day, if you’re lucky, lingueirão (razor clams) may be on the menu too.

Be aware that you’ll likely encounter a wait for your table but that’s part of the Ramiro experience. Grab a couple aluminum bottles of cheap beer in the waiting area and expect to chill for 30 to 90 minutes. It’s worth the wait to eat some of the best seafood in Lisbon.

Cervejaria Ramiro is located at Avenida Almirante Reis 1 H, 1150-007 Lisboa, Portugal.

More Seafood Restaurants In Lisbon
A Cevicheria, Cervejaria Liberdade, Cervejaria Pinóquio, Marisqueira Nunes and Sea Me

2. Belcanto – Lisbon’s Most Lauded Michelin Starred Restaurant

Razor Clams at Belcanto at Lisbon Restaurants
Not only is Belcanto one of the best restaurants in Lisbon, it’s also one of the best restaurants in the world. This acclaimed Lisbon restaurant locally sources ingredients like these razor clams that we ate during our meal. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

We still don’t understand why Belcanto hasn’t won a third Michelin star. Are the Portuguese inspectors that picky? Or is it some special technical reason like not enough bathrooms? We’re really not sure since Belcanto is the finest restaurant we’ve yet eaten at in Lisbon and one of the best we’ve encountered in the world.

Read our Belcanto restaurant review.

Chef Jose Avillez at Belcanto at Lisbon Restaurants
Chef Jose Avillez stepped out of the kitchen to pose for this photo. He has built a restaurant empire in Portugal with Belcanto at the top of his portfolio. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

What we do know is that Jose Avillez’s Chiado dining temple offers Portugal’s best products prepared with imagination and precision. From blue lobster to carabineiro (giant red prawns), it’s all on the menu as well as incredible fresh fish and creative versions of traditional dishes like Cosido a la Portuguesa.

We also know that reservations are an absolute must for those with the means, time and interest required when dining at this and other Michelin starred restaurants in Lisbon.

Belcanto is located at Rua Serpa Pinto 10A, 1200-026 Lisboa, Portugal.

More Michelin Starred Restaurants In Lisbon
100 Maneiras, Alma, Cura, Eleven, Encanto, Eneko, Epur, Feitoria, Fifty Seconds, Kabuki, Kanazawa and Loco

3. Ponto Final – Traditional Portugal Food And Breathtaking Views

Cataplana de Marisco with View at Ponto Final in Lisbon Portugal
Ponto Final is our favorite Lisbon restaurant with a view. Ironically, it’s not technically located in Lisbon. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

“The view is great but how’s the food?”

We’ve heard that query from many smart travelers. Our answer is very good. Is it cheffy? No. But if you want to enjoy a great view while eating homestyle Portuguese dishes like Arroz Tamboril (monkfish rice), then this is the place to go.

Read our Ponto Final restaurant review.

Ponto Final - Social IMG
The views at Ponto Final are especially stellar during the magic hour when the sun starts to set. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

You’ll need to take a ferry to the other side of the Tejo if you want to eat at Ponto Final. To us, that’s part of the restaurant’s dining experience as well an extra motivation to make advance reservations.

Ponto Final is located at Rua do Ginjal 72, 2800-285 Almada, Portugal.

More Lisbon Restaurants With A View
Atira-te ao Rio, Bahr, Lumi Rooftop and Pharmácia Felicidade

4. Tapisco – Modern Lisbon Snack Food

Bacalhau a Bras at Tapisco in Lisbon
Although Tapisco seamlessly blends into its Principe Real block, there’s nothing average about this modern Lisbon restaurant. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Henrique Sá Pessoa’s Tapisco is unique.

While you can order Bacalhau à Brás at tascas all over town, Tapisco’s yolky cylinder of codfish and potatoes feels more worthy of a special occasion than a casual meal. Lisbon restaurants that serve traditional Portuguese dishes with precision should be as common as azulejos but, alas, they are not.

Bacalhau a Bras at Tapisco in Lisbon
At his restaurant Tapisco, Chef Henrique Sá Pessoa offer an excellent version of the popular tasca dish called Bacalhau à Brás. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Pessoa, who also helms the two Michelin starred restaurant Alma, isn’t afraid to serve dishes that slightly speak of Portugal’s neighbor to the east. Case in point – Tapisco’s menu features le Bomba de Lisboa – a twist on Barcelona’s famous croquettes but stuffed with alheira, a Portuguese farce, instead of the expected ground meat and potato filling. However, in a nod to Spain, Tapisco’s croquettes are topped with aioli and bravas sauce.

Add excellent renditions of Portuguese Açorda and Spanish Paella Negra to your order and you have the makings of a great meal.

Tapisco is located at Rua Dom Pedro V 81, 1250-096 Lisboa, Portugal.

More Modern Portuguese Restaurants
Can the Can, Faz Frio, O Frade, Tasca da Esquina and Zunzum Gastrobar

5. Solar Dos Presuntos – Elevated Portuguese Restaurant In Lisbon

Solar dos Presuntos Dining Room in Lisbon
Solar do Presuntos bustles with Lisboetas of all ages. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Solar do Presuntos is the opposite of trendy with its brightly lit dining rooms and walls covered with photos of Portuguese dignitaries. And, yet, the centrally located restaurant remains super popular with Portuguese locals. Like us, they love both the restaurant’s old school vibe and its elevated Portuguese dishes.

The plates at Solar do Presuntos (which loosely translates to House of Hams) are simple – no foams, gels or spherifications are to be found here. However, who needs gastronomy when you can order blue lobsters and eat like a Portuguese government minister?

Goat at Solar dos Presuntos in Lisbon
This young braised goat (i.e. kid) was a dinner winner. Removing its crispy skin revealed juicy meal that we simply can’t produce at home. And, since this is Portugal, it was served with both potatoes and rice. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

We recommend starting your meal at Solar dos Presuntos with Polvo à Galega (Galician Octopus), slices of octopus that are pricey at just under 20 euros but also tender and flavorful. We also like the restaurant’s medallions of Porco Preto – thin, juicy Portuguese black pork steak.

Those without budget restrictions can and should splurge on marisqueira classics like sapateira (crab), spiny lobster, lagosta nacional (spiny lobster), lavagante vivo (live blue lobsters), grilled tiger prawns and oysters. Solar dos Presuntos sells them all by the kilo.

Solar dos Presuntos is located at Rua das Portas de Santo Antão 150, 1150-269 Lisboa, Portugal.

More Elevated Portuguese Restaurants In Lisbon
A Taberna da Rua das Flores, Gambrinus, Ritalinos, Taberna Albricoque and Taberna Sal Grosso

6. A Merendinha do Arco Bandeira – Traditional Lisbon Tasca

Inside A Meredinha do Arco Bandeira in Lisbon
Open since 1944, A Merendinha do Arco Bandeira is a neighborhood gem in the heart of Baixa. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Eating at a tasca during your visit to Lisbon is a must. The city is full of these type of working class restaurants where simple food is served for low prices. Walk along many Lisbon street blocks and you’ll find at least one tasca and sometimes two or three. This is even true in centrally-located, tourist-dominated neighborhoods like Baixa which is where you’ll find A Merendinha do Arco Bandeira.

Despite its Baixa location, A Merendinha do Arco Bandeira, which hides in plain sight, doesn’t feel touristic. It has a compact dining room with a dozen or so tables topped with checkered tablecloths, a bar filled with Portuguese pastries and a wall decorated with Luso memorabilia. The kitchen buzzes with action upstairs behind a glass window and a dumb waiter transports finished dishes down to the dining room.

Carne de Porco at A Meredinha do Arco Bandeira in Lisbon
Porco Alentejana is one of our favorite dishes at A Merendinha do Arco Bandeira. The dish pairs pork with migas and adds clams for good measure. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

We refer to A Merendinha do Arco Bandeira endearingly and simply as The Arch. Our go-to dishes include Pataniscas da Bacalhau (cod fish cakes), Porco Alentejana (slow-cooked chunks of pork served over migas), Arroz de Polvo (octopus rice) and grilled fresh fish like robalo (sea bass), carapaus (mackerel) and linguado (sole.) We typically make game-day ordering decisions based on what’s fresh and available.

As is usually the case at traditional Lisbon tascas, The Arch’s servers look like they’ve been working at the eatery for decades and a carafe of wine is cheaper than a bottle of Coca-Cola.

A Merendinha do Arco Bandeira is located at Rua dos Sapateiros 230, 1100-581 Lisboa, Portugal.

More Centrally Located Lisbon Tascas
A Provinciana, Das Flores, Zé da Mouraria and Zé dos Cornos

7. As Bifanas Do Afonso – Lisbon Street Food Icon

As Bifanas do Alfonso in Lisbon
We snapped this photo at a rare moment when As Bifanas do Afonso didn’t have queue. We then proceeded to order and eat bifanas because that’s what you do at this popular Lisbon spot. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Don’t be surprised if you see a long queue at As Bifanas do Afonso. Hordes of people line up every day (except Sunday when they’re closed) to order a bifana, Lisbon’s signature stewed pork sandwich, or two.

The excitement of eating an Afonso bifana begins when you glance through the shop’s window at the top of the hill on Rua da Madalena and see a bubbling cauldron filled with pork. It’s a must – if a bifana stand doesn’t have a bubbling pot, then you probably should go elsewhere.

Bifana on Napkin at As Bifanas do Afonso in Lisbon
The Bifana at As Bifanas do Afonso is a Lisbon street food classic. We topped this one with tangy yellow mustard. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

The queue leads to a small window where orders are placed. Expect to stand while you quickly eat your bifana since the nearby tables are for an adjacent restaurant.

We typically add Portuguese yellow mustard and/or spicy Piri Piri sauce to our bifanas and eat them on Afonso’s small outside ledge. We like to pair each with an Imperial (a small glass of Portuguese beer) and recommend that you do the same.

As Bifanas do Afonso is located at Rua da Madalena 146, 1100-340 Lisboa, Portugal.

More Lisbon Cheap Eats
Fábrica Imperial, Mercado Oriental Martim Moniz, Neighbourhood, Panda Cantina, Parreirinha do Chile, Restaurante Primavera and Time Out Market

8. Café De São Bento – Clubby Portuguese Steakhouse

Cafe de Sao Bento - First Floor Dining Room
We’re older than Café de São Bento’s classic first floor dining room. How is that possible? | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Lisbon has more that its fair share of steakhouses. Perhaps this situation is due to the city’s large Brazilian population or maybe Portuguese people just like eating grilled hunks of meat.

Either way, our favorite Lisbon steakhouse is Café de São Bento, a uniquely Portuguese spot right near the Palácio de São Bento where Portugal’s parliament assembles.

Read our Café de São Bento restaurant review.

Bife a Portuguesa with an egg on horseback at Cafe de Sao Bento
We went all in when we ate this Bife à Portuguesa topped with cream sauce and a fried egg. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

A meal at Café de São Bento is one of the city’s quirkier dining experiences.

The legendary ‘cafe’ has no outdoor seating and guests have to ring a bell to enter. Its clubby decor looks like it’s been around for at least a century even though the restaurant opened in 1982.

The steaks are excellent here. And, for those who order wisely, they’re served on horseback with fried eggs on top.

Café de São Bento is located Rua de São Bento 212, 1200-821 Lisboa, Portugal.

More Steak Restaurants In Lisbon
Atalho Real, Café do Paço, Carvoaria Jacto, IIIMPAR and Sala de Corte

9. Tasca Baldracca – Trendy Lisbon Restaurant

Dining Room at Tasca Baldracca in Lisbon
Tasca Baldracca is a favorite Lisbon restaurant when we want to enjoy great food and wine in a simple, convivial atmosphere. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Lately, ultra-casual, modern dining rooms have been sprouting in the Lisbon food scene like weeds. These restaurants offer a chef-driven twist on local cuisine and often serve natural wine to boot. Our favorite is Tasca Baldracca, a Mouraria spot notable both for street art decor and its trio of young restaurateurs with a shared passion for food.

That food-focused trio serves shareable dishes that might include Xerém de Pato (duck with grits), a spin on the classic Arroz de Pato, or Bochechas de Vitela (veal cheek) with roasted chestnuts. It all depends on the season. They even pump up the typical Portuguese couvert with excellent sourdough bread and spreadable goat cheese.

Read our Tasca Baldracca restaurant review.

Octopus Galego at Tasca Baldracca in Lisbon
This Octopus Galegao dish we ate at Tasca Baldracca set a high bar for all other octopus dishes in Lisbon. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Beyond food, Tasca Baldracca serves unique wines sourced from Portuguese producers. Check the restaurant’s Instagram account for details about hours and reservations. Good news – it’s now open for lunch in addition to dinner.

Tasca Baldracca is located at Rua das Farinhas 1, 1100-177 Lisboa, Portugal.

More Trendy Restaurants In Lisbon
BouBou’s, Estrella da Bica, O Velho Eurico, Senhor Uva, Taberna do Calhau and Tricky’s

10. Omakase Ri – Transformative Japanese Restaurant

Chef at Omakase Ri in Lisbon
Part of the fun of dining at Omakase Ri is watching Chef Will Vargas create sushi, sashimi and wasabi. Another part is eating his culinary creations. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Humble Omakase Ri in Alcantara only seats eight people in a space decorated with twisting neon lights and funky, fish-inspired street art. You may walk past the Japanese curtained door on Rua Alcântara if your’e not careful. However, considering the extraordinary prices at omakase sushi counters from New York to Tokyo, you don’t want to miss this Lisbon sushi experience. While it’s expensive by Portugal standards, Omakase Ri is an international bargain.

To be clear, Chef Will Vargas, a Brazilian born chef, uses premium ingredients starting with impeccable, slightly tan (due to the special Japanese vinegar he uses), totally toothsome rice sourced from Japan. That special rice supports many of the flavorful pieces of fish that Vargas places on the counter from silky yellowtail to popping salmon eggs to multiple cuts of exquisite tuna.

Skipjack Sashimi at Omakase Ri in LIsbon
Our katsuo sashimi at Omakase Ri was flavored with wasabi, gin and soy sauce. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Vargas, who gained much of his sushi training at restaurants like Michelin-starred Midori and Ikegai (permanently closed) specializes in Edomae sushi. This process, which traces its roots to 19th century Tokyo, involves aging fish, sometimes in soy sauce and sometimes in special vinegars, to create distinct flavors.

Omakase Ri is located at Rua Alcântara 13 A, 1300-023 Lisboa, Portugal.

More Global Cuisine In Lisbon
Ajitama (Ramen), Acarajé da Carol (Brazilian), Cantinho do Aziz (Mozambican), Flor da Laranja (Moroccan), Lama Lo (Middle Eastern), Lupita (Pizza), MBH (Burgers), Oven (Indian), Nadi (Georgian), RePotzalia (Mexican) and Ruvida (Italian)

11. Adega das Gravitas – Off the Beaten Track Lisbon Restaurant

Inside Adega das Gravitas in Lisbon
Calling the decor at Adega das Gravatas unique is an understatement. There are neckties everywhere! | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Adega das Gravatas means tie cellar in Portuguese. Look up and neckties are impossible to miss at this off the beaten track restaurant in Carnide. There must be over a thousand ties, in all styles and colors, hanging from the rafters. Special ties are framed and there are even ties in the bathrooms. We later learned that many of the ties are autographed. But why?

It all goes back to the restaurant’s tasca origins. Apparently, the ties were presented to the restaurant by students in lieu of payment. Instead of taking the proverbial clothes off the students’ backs, they took the ties off their necks.

Pro Tip
Adega das Gravitas is a short walk from the Carnide metro station.

Polvo Na Grehla Lagareiro Up Close at Adega das Gravitas in Lisbon
The octopus at Adega das Gravatas may be the best in the city. It’s certainly one of the most picturesque versions we’ve encountered. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Beyond the restaurant’s cavalcade of neckwear, the traditional food at Adega das Gravatas is fun too.

Servers tend to recommend large steaks like t-bone or picanha (which are worthy, especially the monstrous t-bone) but we recommend the Naco de Novilho na Pedra – a monster sized hunk of meat served on a hot cooking stone. It’s great for a group. Not only will you have to slice it yourself, but you can also cook the steak, once it’s sliced, over the stone to your personal preference. It arrives very red in the center.

Adega das Gravatas also serves what could be one of the best and most picturesque versions of Polvo Galega (Galician octopus) in Lisbon. The generously sized, whole octopus is cooked perfectly, and arrives beautifully seared in the center of a plate over potatoes with sides of cut string beans and cooked cabbage. If you look around the dining room, the popular Polvo makes an appearance at practically every table. The same goes for its roster of Portuguese desserts which includes an outstanding version of Bolo de Bolacha.

Adega das Gravitas is located at Travessa Pregoeiro 15, 1600-588 Lisboa, Portugal.

More Lisbon Restaurants Off the Beaten Path
Mestrias Nova Tasca, Petisco Saloio, Tasquinha do Lagarto and Último Porto

12. Prado – Modern Farm-to-Table Lisbon Restaurant

Prado in Lisbon
Prado is a green oasis in urban Lisbon. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Prado’s name, which translates to meadow, belies the restaurant’s location in a former fish cannery. Trellised plants in the rear add a lush verdancy to the space while massive windows allow the sun to wash the dining room with natural light during the day.

However, night time is a great time to experience António Galapito’s take on Portuguese cuisine. This is when couples, as well as groups of friends, convene at the restaurant and order plates that are both creative and shareable.

Read our Prado restaurant review.

Cockles Dish at Prado in Lisbon
This dish featuring cockles and chard was one of many small plates we shared during one of our lunches at Prado. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Some of Prado’s plates live up to the restaurant’s name. They’re comprised of farm-to-table ingredients like acorn-fed pork, oyster mushrooms and seasonal fruits. Others feature fruits de mer like cockles, squid, razor claims, octopus and lobster.

Beyond savory food, Prado serves organic wine and desserts that practically demand to be tasted. We dare you to skip mushroom ice cream if it’s on the menu. If you’re as culinarily curious as us, doing so is practically impossible.

Prado is located at Travessa Pedras Negras 2, 1100-404 Lisboa, Portugal.

More Modern Restaurants In Lisbon
Boi Cavalo, Fogo, Invicta Madragoa, JNcQUOI, Plano and Sr. Lisboa

13. Cervejaria Trindade – Historic Lisbon Restaurant

Bar at Cervejaria Trindade in Lisbon
The walls of Cervejaria Trindade’s Sala dos Azulejos are adorned with 19th century tiles created by Fábrica de Cerâmica Viúva Lamego’s Luís Ferreira. His neo-classical art represents the four elements of nature. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Trindade looks like it’s been around forever. The restaurant’s walls are covered with gorgeous azulejos (tiles) and the tables are filled with a mix of locals and tourists. This is an old place with a long history of renewal and yet it’s only been open since 2022.

Originally a convent in the 13th century, Trindade’s building was rebuilt multiple times due to fires as well as the devastating 1755 earthquake. It transitioned from a convent to a brewery called Cervejaria Trindade in 1836 which is how it remained for more than a century.

We visited the brewery during our 2007 honeymoon and wondered why it was no longer open after we moved to Lisbon twelve years later. We later discovered the answer…

Seafood Tower and Beer at Cervejaria Trindade in Lisbon
We paired this seafood plate with beer in a nod to Trindade’s past life as a brewery. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Now simply called Trindade and owned by Sagres, one of Portugal’s mega-brewers, Trindade has a new life that transcends beer. While Trindade still brews beer, food now plays an equally important role.

Alexandre Silva, the chef behind Fogo and Loco, has designed a menu that features both meat and seafood as well as wine and desserts. Standout dishes during our visits include Presunto Porco Preto (Iberian ham from acorn-fed black pork), seafood soup and a ‘convento’ seafood platter topped with sapateira (crab), large shrimp and percebes (goose barnacles).

But, to us, Trindade’s historic building was and still is the star of the show. Its Sala dos Azulejos (Painted Tiles Hall) and Sala Maria Keil (Maria Keil Room) are gorgeous spaces that practically demand a visit. And, while you can certainly drink beer during your visit, you shouldn’t hesitate to order food and even wine too.

Cervejaria Trindade is located at Rua Nova da Trindade 20 C, 1200-303 Lisboa, Portugal.

More Historic Restaurants In Lisbon
A Brasileira
, Cafe Martinho Da Arcada, Café Nicola, Confeitaria Nacional and Pastelaria Versailles

14. Essencial – Date Night Lisbon Restaurant

Pate en Croute at Essencial in Lisbon
This Paté en Croute starter was made with duck, pork and foie gras. It provided an auspicious start to our dinner at Essencial. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Every time we start to lose faith in the Lisbon dining scene, we discover a restaurant like Essencial that rejuvenates our enthusiasm.

Located in the touristic Bairro Alto neighborhood and helmed by classically trained Chef André Lança Cordeiro, Essencial isn’t big or fancy. It doesn’t have a Michelin star and its food skews more French than Portuguese. Somehow, though, this upscale bistro offers a range of meticulously prepared dishes that are true of place.

Morilles Egg and Parmentier at Essencial in Lisbon
Artfully plated morels were the star of this starter. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Essencial didn’t immediately hit our radar when it opened in 2019. Back then, the restaurant produced à la carte dishes in an open kitchen for a relatively small number of tables. Fast forward to the present and the restaurant is in the same space but exclusively serves multi-course menus.

We started our three-course menu with Pate en Croute as good as any we’ve eaten in France and a gorgeous plating of generously sized morel mushrooms served with a simple soft cooked egg. We continued with a roulade of partridge, served with more morels and ramps, and exquisite simple roast pork plated with sauce and cubes of potato pave.

Arroz de Forno and Tamboril at Essencial in Lisbon
We’re pleased to report that this monkfish rice dish tasted as good as it looked. While it was plated or two people, it was easily big enough to feed three. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Our friends ordered well. They shared Arroz Tamboril (monkfish rice) for two – a modern rendition of the traditional Portuguese dish with rice cooked until the the top was caramelized and topped with tender white slices of monkfish. It was our pleasure to help them with the dish.

We’d be remiss not to mention our desserts which included two standouts – a unique Paris-Brest made with carmelized pistachio and yuzu and a salted caramel Mille-feuille. They completed a meal that was worth a trip through the noisy commotion of Bairro Alto.

Essencial is located at Rua da Rosa 176, 1200-390 Lisboa, Portugal.

More Date Night Restaurants In Lisbon
Mini Bar, Ofício Tasco Atípico and Plano Restaurante

15. Pastéis De Belém – Original Pastel De Nata Bakery

Pasteis de Belem Dining Room in Lisbon
Both locals and tourists trek to Pastéis de Belém to eat a Pastel de Nata or two at the pastry’s ground zero. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

While this restaurant guide is focused on savory food, we’d be remiss if we didn’t share our favorite Pastel de Nata bakery. After all, we’ve yet to meet a traveler who doesn’t want to eat at least one Portuguese egg tart during their visit. And by one, we mean one per day.

Let’s cut to the chase and confirm that our favorite Pastel de Nata shop is the world-famous Pastéis de Belém. Not only were Portugal’s most iconic pastries allegedly invented by monks at this pasteleria located next to the Jerónimos Monastery, but they also taste just a little bit better here.

Pasteis de Belem
We splurged and ordered four Pasteis de Nata with no regrets. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

We don’t come to this conclusion easily. We ate our very first Pasteis de Nata in 2007 and have since proceeded to eat many more now that we live in Portugal. Now we take pleasure in riding the tram to Belém, watching the baking process through a glass window and biting into the crispy shelled, creamy pastries.

We’d be lying if we said that we enjoy waiting in Pastéis de Belém’s inevitable queue. However, these sweet gems are worth their weight (pun intended) in gold. Plus the wait (pun not intended) never seems to take that long.

Pastéis de Belém is located at Rua de Belém 84 92, 1300-085 Lisboa, Portugal.

More Pasteis De Nata In Lisbon
Read our guide to discover the best Pastel de Nata shops in Lisbon.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the top foods to eat at Lisbon restaurants?

Lisbon’s top foods include Alheira, Azeitão and Serpa Cheeses, Bacalhau, Bifana Sandwiches, Caldo Verde Soup, Caracois (tiny snails), Chouriço, Pasteis de Nata, Piri Piri Chicken, Presunto (cured ham), Polvo (octopus), Seafood of all types and fresh Sardinhas (sardines) during the summer months.

Are Lisbon restaurants expensive?

Lisbon restaurants range from cheap eats to fine dining. Prices skew a bit lower compared to restaurants in most European capital cities.

Is tipping necessary in Lisbon?

No. Tipping is optional in Portugal.

Where did Anthony Bourdain eat in Lisbon?

Anthony Bourdain visited 100 Maneiras, A Ginjinha, A Tasca do Chico, Alma, Cantinho do Avillez, Cervejaria Ramiro, O Trevo and Sol E Pesca while filming the eighth season of No Reservations.

Where did Phil Rosenthal eat in Lisbon?

Phil Rosenthal visited Alma, Belcanto, Cervejaria Ramiro, Ginjinha Sem Rival, Jesus é Goês, Manteigaria, Nannarella, Pasteis de Belem, Ponto Final, Time Out Lisbon and Wurst while filming the first season of Somebody Feed Phil. He also noshed at Piriquita in Sintra.

What time do people eat dinner in Lisbon?

Tourists typically eat dinner between 7pm and 9pm in Lisbon but locals tend to start at 8pm or later.

Are plates sharable at Lisbon restaurants?

While most tascas serve food on metal platters that can be passed around the table, the concept of shareable plates is prevalent at the wave of trendy restaurants sprouting throughout Lisbon.

Are restaurant reservations necessary in Lisbon?

Yes – reservations are necessary at restaurants in Lisbon. However, you should be able to walk into most (but not all) tascas without reservations though you may need to wait for a table.

How many Lisbon restaurants have Michelin stars?

Lisbon currently has 13 Michelin-starred restaurants including two two-star restaurants (Alma and Belcanto) and 11 one star restaurants (100 Maneiras, Cura, Eleven, Encanto, Eneko, Epur, Feitoria, Fifty Seconds, Kabuki, Kanazawa and Loco).

Video Recap

Beyond The Best Lisbon Restaurants

Lisbon Street Scene
Hop aboard! It’s time to explore Lisbon. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Eating is one of many things to do in Lisbon. Consider the following activities and tours between your meals:

Lisbon Planning Checklist

Check out our guide to eating in Portugal as well as our picks for the best Portuguese foods and the best Portuguese desserts before your trip.

Hungry For More In Lisbon?

Lumi Pancakes during Lumi Rooftop Brunch in Lisbon
Brunch Spots
Pastel de Nata by Tile Wall at Pastelaria San Antonio in Lisbon
Pastel De Nata Shops
Diabla Pizza Slice at La Pizzeria MattaLa Pizzeria Matta in Lisbon
Pizzerias
About The Authors

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. Since launching the site in 2012, they’ve traveled to over 40 countries in their quest to bring readers their unique taste of the world.

Learn European Portuguese

Are you thinking about visiting or moving to Portugal?

We strongly suggest that you start learning European Portuguese now. Not only is it a challenging language to learn, but most apps teach Brazilian Portuguese.

We were thrilled to discover Practice Portuguese, an inexpensive system that makes learning European Portuguese fun.

Disclosures

Article Updates
We update our articles regularly. Some updates are major while others are minor link changes and spelling corrections. Let us know if you see anything that needs to be updated in this article.

Funding
We purchased and ate the food featured in this guide with exception of the sponsorship noted below.

Sponsorship
We thank Belcanto for hosting us with no express expectation of coverage.

Original Publication Date: April 9, 2023

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