To celebrate one of the foodies’ birthday we headed to Lisbon, Portugal last week for a few days. It’s a culinary heaven where you can discover the traditional and the bang on-trend within a few doors. Below is our list of Lisbon restaurants and bars that we really loved – thanks to the lovely staff at the boutique guesthouse Casa do Patio for recommending a few of those mentioned.
Embaixada Portuguesa – Calcada do Combro 87, Bairro Alto, Lisboa
Newly opened bar / restaurant, look out for the clogs in the window (it’s sister restaurant Taberna Portuguesa is just down the street). Specialises in Portuguese fine wines, cheeses, ham and toasts. Not cheap but excellent quality and quirky. 2 x glasses of wine, ham, cheese & bread = 18.50 Euro
Vale Do Rio – Largo Alfredo Dinis, 12-14 Almada, Cacilhas
As a birthday treat, we took a 15 mins ferry ride from Cais de Sodre across the river to the unpromising waterfront town of Cacilhas. This is where Lisbonetas come to eat seafood. A 40 Euro platter for 2 included a whole crab and lobster, king prawns, hot garlic prawns and clams in white wine.
Le Jardin – Praca Principe Real 26, Lisboa
Surprisingly inexpensive coffees, cakes and lunches in a Morrocan palace opposite the Principe Real gardens. The building also houses unique designer shops and a gallery around an atrium. 2 x galao (latte) coffees = 2.20 Euro
The Decadente – Rua de Sao Pedro de Alcantara 81, Bairro Alto, Lisboa
We ran into The Independente luxury hostel to get out of the rain, but the menu sounded so good we stayed all evening. Either make a reservation or there’s a waiting list for tables from 7.50pm. On-trend food including an ox heart salad, wild boar tagliatelle and a chestnut creme brule. Decadent ingredients and cooking techniques at a decent price. 2 x 3- courses, wine & coffee for 56 Euro.
Xapuri Bistro – Rua Duques de Braganca 5G, Chiado, Lisboa
Innovative and unique flavours are used to create fusion-food petiscos (Portuguese tapas). Quality wines, extensive weekend brunch menu, knowledgeable but rather formal service.
Restaurante Principe Calhariz – Calcada do Combro 28, Bairro Alto, Lisboa
Simple Portuguese dishes in a traditional tiled restaurant. Open grill for meat and fish in the front window. Menu changes daily with dishes from 6 Euro including veal, rabbit and saltcod. House wine 5 Euro a bottle. Amazing ‘Farofias’ dessert of soft meringue in cream.
Casa da India – Rua Loreta 49, Bairro Alto, Lisboa
Another busy, traditional Portuguese restaurant, crammed with office workers, policemen, fire fighters and grannies; the kind of place where people eat lunch every day. Cheap and fresh ‘doses’ (portions) of prawns and clams; tasty grilled chicken and carapaus mackerel. Daily specials for 6-9 Euro, house wine is only 1 Euro a glass. Lunch for 2 = 22 Euro.
Povo – Rua Novo do Carvalho 32-36, Baixa Chiado, Lisboa
Great place on Pink Street for hearty portions of grown-up petiscos. The game croquettes Bolos de Alheira and tempura-battered green beans ‘Peixinhos da Horta’ (little fish of the farm) were our favourites. There’s free live Fado every Wed and Sun night, where they showcase up and coming singers – this isn’t a tourist show. Wine & 5 petiscos = 45 Euro.
Sol e Pesca – Rua Nova do Carvalho 44, Baixa Chiado, Lisboa
Quirky little bar /cafe in an old fishing bait and tackle shop. The walls are lined with the retro designer tins of fish and that’s all they serve; just tapas of bread, olives and tinned sardines, tuna, octopus etc. A wide range of drinks, fishy snacks and local hipster vibe.