Eating at the seafood restaurant Cervejaria Ramiro is a bucket list item for food travelers who visit Lisbon. Discover what it’s like to eat a meal at the city’s most famous marisqueira.
Open since 1956, Cervejaria Ramiro is a local institution that’s been popular for decades with locals seeking the best seafood in Lisbon. Thanks to attention by the likes of Phil Rosenthal and the late Anthony Bourdain, food travelers have had no problem finding the popular seafood spot in recent years.
Discover more notable Lisbon restaurants.
Based on the crowds which convene at the marisqueira six days a week, it would be easy to discount Cervejaria Ramiro as a tourist trap. However, a close look reveals a good percentage of locals still in the mix. Plus, while marisqueiras are fairly common in Portugal, the unadorned Ramiro offers a wow factor that makes it one of the best seafood experiences on the Iberian peninsula.
As its name suggests, Cervejaria Ramiro was originally a beer pub when it opened more than a half century ago. The cervejaria reference remained in the restaurant’s name even after seafood and wine were added to the Ramiro menu.
Eating At Cervejaria Ramiro
Our first meal at Ramiro restaurant was a revelation.
We ate Gambas Aguillo (garlic shrimp), Amêijoas à Bulhão Pato (clams in garlic broth) and Carabineiros (scarlet prawns) for the seafood portion of our meal, washing it all down with Sagres beer. For dessert, we shared a Prego (beef sandwich) as is the restaurant’s unique tradition.
We’ve since returned numerous times for lunch and dinner at busy times as well as between pandemic lockdowns. The restaurant has become a go-to almost every time we have visitors in town as well as when we crave certain seafood dishes.
Ramiro has seating on two floors and, since the pandemic, also offers seating on an outdoor patio that was formerly used as a waiting area. After eating in both dining rooms multiple times, we prefer the downstairs room over the upstairs room. We also enjoy eating on the patio though that space tends to fill up quickly.
Cervejaria Ramiro is popular.
Getting a table involves taking a number and waiting at all hours of the day and night (except on Mondays when the marisqueira is closed). Unless you make an advance reservation, expect to wait for an hour and consider yourself lucky if your wait is shorter. Fortunately, in addition to repurposing the front patio, the restaurant has transformed its former takeout space into a comfortable waiting area.
We only recommend making a reservation if your time is really tight or if you’re dining with a large group. Not only does making a reservation require a per-person deposit, but it also practically guarantees you a table in the less desirable upstairs dining room.
The check-in process for those without reservations involves punching a screen to take a number from Ramiro’s advanced number system and waiting to be called. This non-sequential system is fairly sophisticated yet easy to navigate.
Cervejaria Ramiro closes for the entire month of August. Plan accordingly.
What To Eat At Cervejaria Ramiro
We’ve since returned to Cervejaria Ramiro more than a dozen times since our initial 2019 meal, often with visiting friends or family in tow. Read on to discover our favorite dishes on the Cervejaria Ramiro menu.
Pão Torrado Com Manteiga (Bread With Butter)
Bread is typically no big deal at Portuguese restaurants. However, Cervejaria Ramiro’s version arrives warm, buttery and impossible to resist. We sometimes order an extra bread basket, either with or without butter, when we dine at Cervejaria Ramiro. You’ll probably want to do the same.
Gambas A La Aguillo (Garlic Shrimp)
Ordering garlic shrimp is an absolute must at Cervejaria Ramiro. The marisqueira makes the best version of Gambas a la Aguillo that we’ve eaten in Portugal – and we’ve eaten this particular Portuguese food favorite all over the country from Porto in the north to the Algarve in the south.
Ramiro’s kitchen cooks their plump crustaceans in a mixture of coarse salt, minced caramelized garlic and spicy peppers. Most chefs will tell you not to cook your garlic bits until they’re brown. Ramiro never received that memo and we’re all the better for it.
The overwhelming fragrance and flavors from this dish’s garlic-infused oil make it a Lisbon classic. It’s so good that you’ll want to sop the oil up with bread, hence the need for a second bread basket.
Amêijoa Bulhão Pato (Clams In Garlic Broth)
Cervejaria Ramiro serves its clams swimming in broth and bursting with garlic flavor. You’ll want to dip your bread into the liquid elixir and lap it up like candy.
You may choose to order razor clams instead of regular clams. Be aware that razor clams are often unavailable and, when they are available, don’t arrive in a pot filled with glorious garlic broth.
There are two ways to eat crab at Cervejaria Ramiro.
The first and more fun way is Ramiro’s traditional Sapateira presentation which includes a shell filled with creamy dip made with crab innards. It’s a rustic dish with a taste that mimics the ocean itself. To some, though, the main event is pounding crab legs with a mallet and sucking out the meaty morsels.
The second way is to let the Ramiro kitchen do all the work. This option has pros and cons. On the upside, you’ll eat a generous amount of crab meat without doing any work. On the downside, you’ll miss out on the ‘crabalicious’ dip.
Percebes (Gooseneck Barnacles)
Not for unadventurous diners, gooseneck barnacles look like something out of a horror movie. In a fun twist of fate, the Galacian seafood specialty is considered a luxury seafood dish at Portuguese restaurants like Cervejaria Ramiro.
It took us a few visits to muster the courage to order Percebes and we had to ask our server how to best eat the creepy critters. Our reward was a slightly rubbery, totally delicious dish that made us feel like Ramiro pros.
Carabineiros (Scarlet Prawns)
A splurge, brightly colored scarlet prawns will likely be your meal’s show stopper.
If you order this dish, expect your server to proficiently slice the red beauties at your table before you dig in with utensils. Don’t be shy to follow our lead and suck the last bits of juice from the colorful crustacean heads when the meat is gone.
Gamba Tigre Grelhada (Tiger Prawns)
You don’t need to order a tiger prawn to eat well at Ramiro but doing so will surely ramp your meal up to the next level. It’s a dish we order when we have a special guest in town as opposed to just regular weeknight meals for the two of us. Hey, we’re special but not that special.
To be clear, we typically order one or two tiger prawns for the table as opposed to one tiger prawn per person. Not only are tiger prawns expensive, but they’re also large and filled with meat. And, in case we weren’t clear, they’re also finger-licking-good.
Prego (Beef Sandwich)
Eating a Prego for dessert would be odd anywhere except at Cervejaria Ramiro where it’s tradition to finish a seafood meal with a meat sandwich.
A few squirts of bright yellow mustard add a kick to the garlicky beef nestled between crunch bread slices. After a few bites, you’ll realize that it’s actually one of the city’s best sandwiches.
Don’t worry if you’re a pescatarian. The Cervejaria Ramiro menu also features traditional Portuguese desserts including puddings, mousse and fresh fruit.
Go To Ramiro And Go For The Gusto!
It’s no accident that Cervejaria Ramiro is so popular.
The restaurant serves superior seafood at relatively reasonable prices compared to similar restaurants around the world. Though you could easily blow a wad at the iconic Lisbon marisqueira, you don’t have to order a lot of dishes to have a great meal.
In many ways, less is more considering the generous amounts of butter and oil that make Ramiro’s food taste so good. However, if you love seafood and have money to spend, you might as well order it all.
Cervejaria Ramiro is located at Avenida Alm. Reis 1, 1150-038 Lisboa, Portugal.
Frequently Asked Questions
You can secure a reservation via Cervejaria Ramiro’s website BUT be aware that you’ll need to put down a credit card deposit which becomes non-refundable 24 hours before your meal. If your schedule is fluid or if you’re not in a rush, the better option is to skip the reservation and join the queue.
Cervejaria Ramiro isn’t cheap by Lisbon standards. Expect to spend 25€ to 50€ per person, though you can easily spend more if you order with abandon.
No. Tipping is optional in Portugal.
Although Cervejaria Ramiro doesn’t have a dress code, you should avoid wearing white since eating seafood can get messy.
Depending on where you’re located in Lisbon, you can walk or take a tram, bus, metro, car share or taxi to Cervejaria Ramiro’s Intendente location near the Martim Moniz metro station.
We recommend arriving early. Not only will you have a shorter wait, but you’ll also have a better chance of eating outside or in the downstairs dining room.
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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.
Original Publication Date: July 18, 2022