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© Lydia Evans / Time Out

The best places to listen to fado in Lisbon

Get to know one of Portugal’s most amazing heritages. Here are the best places to listen to fado in Lisbon.

Written by
Time Out Lisbon editors
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Some are more touristic, others more typical. From sessions with renowned fado singers to some good old fashioned fado vadio (fado sung by amateurs). Being such an important heritage, you can't miss these places. This is the itinerary you’ll want to follow.

The best places to listen to Fado in Lisbon

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Restaurants
  • Santa Maria Maior

Located right next to Sé de Lisboa, this historic establishment had big names performing there over the years and it still does: Cuca Roseta, Rodrigo Costa Félix or Maria Ana Bobone are some of the fado singers who have already performed here. In the dining room, among all the stone columns, you can have a traditional meal while listening to fado singers perform among tables.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Restaurants
  • Estrela/Lapa/Santos

Seafood rice, lamb stew or monkfish cooked the “Sr. Vinho’s way”. The comforting and traditional dishes are savoured with a good bottle of wine (it’s not a coincidence that this restaurant’s name is “Mr. Wine”) while you listen to well-known Portuguese artists like Aldina Duarte.

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  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Restaurants
  • Alfama

In business for more than 50 years, this establishment created by the legendary fado singer Argentina Santos is an authentic institution that already took in singers such as Amália Rodrigues or Alfredo Marceneiro. Regular artists line up and perform
every night. Argentina herself, born and raised between Mouraria and Alfama, performs too – it started as a joke but, in the meantime, she even performed alongside Carlos do Carmo (a Grammy award winner).

  • Restaurants
  • Bairro Alto

Tourists, Portuguese, elderly or young, they all come in to watch or sing the authenticity of fado vadio celebrated here – it’s generally intense and emotional and sung by amateurs, although they also take in renowned artists, you never know who's going to sing. Either way, it’s a constant surprise. This establishment, filled with paintings, billboards, and photographs, is almost always fully booked. Alentejo cheeses, regional cold meats, and wine will keep you company throughout the evening.

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  • Restaurants
  • Santa Maria Maior

There are those who sing the songs they’ve written and those who are out of tune, those who are amateurs, and also those who are aspiring and disappointed musicians. But most importantly, there’s fado for everyone, sung by literally everyone, and great snacks to go with it. Drink some wine and taste the typical codfish with grain. 

  • Restaurants
  • Portuguese
  • Alfama

Reliable, modest and authentic. This is the place to be to listen to fado vadio, which is always sung with all the heart and soul one possesses (even if the talent is missing). The prices are somewhat affordable and it’s a less touristic place where you can surely find some of the neighbourhood’s locals.

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  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Restaurants
  • São Vicente 

The dishes may not seduce you (and the check may be a bit excessive), but we can assure that you’ll feel comforted by the uniqueness of the ambiance. At the restaurant, you can still see parts of a chapel that belonged to the old palace which used to be there – there are whole walls filled with ceramic tiles. If you’re lucky you may listen renowned singers such as Ricardo Ribeiro, Ana Sofia Varela or Pedro Moutinho live.

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