By Time Out Lisbon editors
Posted: Wednesday October 3 2018
Welcome to the Time Out EAT List, our handpicked ‘best of’ Lisbon’s food scene. These are the tastiest places to eat in this city right now: the freshest, most inventive and most memorable, ranked by expert local editors.
Time Out’s local experts scour the city every day for great eats, great value and insider info (like a certain steak place’s secretive BYO Mondays). We value fun, flavour, freshness – and value at every price point. We update the EAT list monthly, plus whenever there’s a truly spectacular new opening. It could be a mega-hyped destination restaurant or a pop-up-turned-permanent in a shipping container: if it’s on the list we think it’s awesome and reckon you will too.
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Recommended: The best fish restaurants in Lisbon
This restaurant was born in 2009, with a unique tasting menu, where the irreverent chef Ljubomir Stanisic shows his most authorial side, in original creations. In this laboratory of his, each dish is a voyage through Portuguese flavors – working more and more closely with national suppliers - and, for now, there are only 30 seats available for you to get to know it. Soon, with no set date yet, the 100 Maneiras moves to another number on the same street and is likely to bring some novalties with it - if there is someone who likes to surprise, it's Ljubomir Stanisic.
Perfect for: an unpretencious and laid back author’s cuisine experience
Must try: the estendal do bairro, the sole fixed resident in the restaurant’s menu.
Time Out usually defines this restaurant as the right place to get a cod overdose. The joke is obvious as it’s name translates to “The House of Cod”, but we have not yet found a better way to describe this house - a real house, with stone arches, which once housed the stables of the Palace of the Duke of Lafões - where they are so loyal to this fish that it’s represented in 25 of their dishes. From cod the Brás to Gomes de Sá way, from the Margarida da Praça to the Zé do Pipo, you will find the usual suspects and even those less noble parts, such as the tongue or faces.
Perfect for: taking someone who’s never been there – and making yourself look good, of course.
Must try: the pataniscas de bacalhau - codfish fritters - winners of the first contest for the Best Patanisca in Lisbon.
Portuguese chef Kiko Martins traveled the world, explored the gastronomy from various continents and brought them to Lisbon with his own interpretation and style. He first gave the city O Talho, then A Cevicheria and, before he set up other projects, he entered a stardom phase that has not yet passed. Partly because this small-great Peruvian restaurant of his is one of the best tables in Lisbon. It honors the national dish of Peru with salmon, tuna and cod, but also has causas and quinotos in recipes that vary throughout time.
Perfect for: going with someone with whom you have a lot to talk about, because you will wait in line for a while.
Must try: the pure ceviche, with seasonal white fish, mashed sweet potatos, onions, seaweed and tiger's milk.
When the clock strikes at one o'clock, the Floresta do Salitre’s room is bursting at the seams - read: if you want a table for lunch, get there a few minutes early. As the minutes progress, Mr. Joaquim distributes the homemade soups, announcing the dishes of the day, cracking jokes, bringing fish on the grill, bitoques and opening good bottles of wine (here, there’s wine and knowledge on the subject). In the end, just go past Mrs. Rosa, pay the bill and hate yourself for not having gone to the counter to peek at the desserts earlier.
Perfect for: eating good ammounts of great food, at a cheap price, at Avenida da Liberdade.
Must try: the suckling pig entremeada (pork belly), accompanied by homemade potato chips (on Fridays).
To general unhapiness, this small twenty-first century tavern stopped takingg reservations on it’s second day of operation, a few yearks back.. And since that day the queues line up at the door for both lunch and dinner. During the day,you can try traditional recipes like the meia-desfeita (cod salad with chickpeas); at night, go for a series of dishes and tapas that chef André Magalhães and his entourage invent every day with what the season, and the producers (many of them near Lisbon), bring him.
Perfect for: introducing a friend to great Portuguese food.
Must try: the iscas com elas – just go for it.
It celebrates 40 years of age this year and that is more than enough reason to go there and celebrate with the owners, Viviane Durieu and António Moita, the fact that they have held on for so long with such a special restaurant. Special because it combines several cuisines - from the partridge the Convento das Bernardas way to the ray au beurre noir, or from the lamejinhas to the venison medallions with truffles, there is a bit of everything -; special because a restaurant in a former convent, with tables in the cloister is something that seems straight out of a movie; and special because there is always someone famous sitting at the table.
Perfect for: a top dinner at a place where there aren’t many restaurants of this kind.
Must try: the flounder meuniere.
Several Insta Stories can be made at the Adega das Gravatas. First, point your camera towards the the bizarre collection of ties that customers leave at the restaurant; then to the steak resting on the hot stone, with that slight cooking noise, to provoke severe envy amongst your followers; then to photograph your company, since this is a good restaurant to go with a group and/or family; and finally, at the end, to capture some old-fashioned desserts, such as the molotof, the flan or the abade priscos pudding. Be ready for the amount of likes you get to shoot through the roof.
Perfect for: leaving that tie that your mother-in-law gave you and you "loved, thank you", but ...
Must try: the polvo à lagareiro (traditional octupous dish), swimming in hot oil, with baked potatoes.
It is difficult to choose the reason why Adega da Tia Matilde is best known for: whether for traditional food, or for being, for many years, one of Eusébio's (the famous football player) favourite places. But if you're not familiar with it yet, you can go there as much to see the homage to the Black Panther (we mean Eusébio, not the Marvel super-hero one) as to taste the pataniscas (fritters), the stews, the Coelho à caçador (stewed rabbit), the cod Isabel’s way, the feijoada à transmontana (beens and meat stew), the crème brûlée, and all things good and Portuguese, in very generous ammounts.
Perfect for: longing for old-fashioned restaurants with old-fashioned service.
Must try: the cozido à portuguesa (Portuguese stew), on Tuesdays.
"Watch out for Adega do Saraiva, the restaurant where everything is so good that you need to have a bigger stomach than your eyes," Miguel Esteves Cardoso wrote in one of his Público chronicles, referring to the Portuguese saying “eyes bigger than your stomach” which is to stay you’re “biting more than you can chew”. A great truth when it comes to this traditional house in Nafarros, famous for its roasted kid goat, a decades-long recipe, which can also be ordered to go. Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays have a great Portuguese stew and a well-known cod à Tia Emília.
Perfect for: dragging your group for a lunch in Sintra.
Must try: the roasted kid goat.
Part of the charm of Adraga, a fish and seafood restaurant, lies in it’s simplicity and relaxation. The last few years have seen one or another decorative upgrade, but paper towels, aluminum trays and other traditional details have remained intact. After all, what matters here is the fresh fish and shellfish, some caught nearby, where the waters are cold and choppy, and grilled by those who understand of the matter. Save space for desserts, all, without exception, excellent.
Perfect for: a lunch in the winter sun, at one of the tables by the window.
Must try: the sea bass, caught nearby, and the barnacles, also local.
It's one of those infallible recommendations when someone asks, "where’s cool cheap place to go and have dinner?" Água pela Barba fits like a glove in this request and has a very fish and shellfish-oriented menu, with dishes to share. From the fried fish tacos to the fish ceviche, from the sea rice to the crab on the bread, here the exception to the ocean is seen in only two pork dishes and their beautiful desserts – be sellfish and ask for the shackles just for you.
Perfect for: a lively friends dinner, without suffering in the end.
Must try: the burrata with almond pesto and grilled shrimp.
2017 was a happy year for chef Henrique Sá Pessoa. He consolidated his new Alma in Chiado, finally won the first Michelin star of his career - repeated the feat in 2018 - and opened a workshop where he experiments with new dishes. In four tasting menus (from 80 to 100 €) and à la carte, he presents a fine dining kitchen with reinterpretations of Portuguese classics, some Asian touches and other influences of his life and work abroad. Pay close attention to the stove, if you get a chance: a 750kg piece designed by the chef.
Perfect for: going to a soulful and relaxed Michelin star restaurant.
Must try: the calçada de bacalhau with onion and egg yolk puree.
It is one of the most peculiar restaurants in Greater Lisbon, but it deserves your full attention. The cook comes from Minho and serves portions the northern way – that is, except a big plate of food; the menu has a series of traditional dishes, meat and fish on the coal and good hearty cuisine; and then there is a section dedicated to game meat, which could be the list of species at the Zoo, with rabbit, partridge, pheasant, woodcock, koala, zebra, camel, venison, and kangaroo; has great traditional desserts; and the wine cellar is luxurious.
Perfect for: eating exotic meats with Portuguese sides.
Must try: the rabbit, fried in olive oil – serves two.
The first adventure of chef Sergi Arola in Lisbon celebrates 10 years in 2018. It suffered some changes, true, saw half the room being cut out to become a top notch restaurant, but kept the line of hot and cold tapas and Iberian snacks, with other world influences with which he opened the doors to the place. All because at the head there’s Sergi Arola, the rockstar chef in love with motorcycles, who has already ventured into restaurants around the world, like a globetrotter, and brought the world to the idyllic Penha Longa.
Perfect for: lunch after training your swing on the golf course.
Must try: the Arola batatas bravas, with aioli and spicy tomatoes.
Aron Vargas, a disciple of Takashi Yoshitake (Aya), already had a beautiful restaurant near Gulbenkian, but decided to double the recipe at the January 31 Market, where he set up a Japanese tavern with two small rooms. The fish comes, of course, from the stalls right next to it - the famous fish vendor Açucena Veloso is one of the suppliers - and has everything from classic options to some other of the chef's creations. The menu is just the same as the first location, so this Aron Sushi is worth two of its kind.
Perfect for: trying good Japanese cuisine in a cool and semi-secret place.
Must try: Ika mentaiko, wich is to say, squid with cod roe.
Indecisive people, this restaurant will be a torment for you: there are several pieces of meat, from the matured entrecôte to Black Angus brisket, two ways to eat it, on bread or on the plate, and four possible side dishes. To complicate matters, the burgers are delicious (the cut of meat is also chosen by you), it is foolish to ignore the entrees - the provolone cheese and the grilled sausage are drool worthy - and there are even several rooms inside for you to decide where to steat. Not to mention the terrace, facing the Jardim Botânico (botanical garden).
Perfect for: Eeny, meeny, miny, moe on the menu - any choice is good.
Must try: the ribeye with potatoes wedges and coleslaw.
The venue changed its name in 2017, so as to distance it from what the rest of the Sushicafé group does in Lisbon. After all, this is the crown jewel of the company and the place where chef Daniel Rente puts all his creativity in full motion. With the change of name, some adventures that mix the Japanese gastronomy with international flavours and national raw material came to join the more traditional pieces already in place. Care for some sashimi in a stone made from Himalayan salt? Or a maki with crab on the inside and wagyu on the outside?
Perfect for: closing a deal at lunch in Avenida da Liberdade.
Must try: the mille-feuilles tuna tartar, with parchment leaves.
The idyllic locality in which it is settled gave the name to this classic fish and seafood restaurant where meals are made in a glass room above the swimming pool and the Azenhas do Mar beach. And is this not what you fancy on either a radiant sunny day or one with rain and rough seas? Start with the amêijoas à Bulhão Pato (clams) and the octopus salad, go crazy with the fried shrimp (do not forget the toasts for you to dip in the sauce), move on to the barnacles and then split steak. Everything is great here.
Perfect for: a lunch with friends, with some Colares wine.
Must try: the barnacles, almost always from that area.
One space, four restaurants. This is the great house that chef José Avillez opened in the summer of 2016 in Chiado, where he joined four gastronomic concepts. There is the Taberna, with signature tapas; the Páteo, a mixture of shellfish and fish restaurant with other fish dishes; the Beco Cabaret Gourmet, a secret tasting room, where dinner comes with a burlesque show; and the Cantina Peruana, upstairs, a four-handed adventure of José Avillez with Peruvian chef Diego Muñoz. Ah! And there is also a grocery store.
Perfect for: having the José Avillez kitchen experience from one end to the other.
Must try: corvina with sausage crumbs.
It has been difficult to keep up with the changes of leadership in Bastard and, with them, the changes to the menu. The restaurant is now in the hands of Duarte Madeira, hitherto subchef, who continues the work of breaking with all the preconceived ideas of a hotel kitchen. Here, comfort dishes are made, ranging from pasta to risotto, as well as other traditional dishes such as corvina, shrimp and clams stew. The entrance bar has been renovated and is now more seriously dedicated to cocktails.
Perfect for: instagramming the popular paper trays with the phrase "on this magic place, calories don’t count".
Must try: the gnocchis with crab, tomato and salicornia.
José Avillez has added great achievements to his resume in his (still short) career. He is the Portuguese chef with more restaurants to his own name in the country, was the first Portuguese to stamp two Michelin stars in his curriculum and the first to obtain that distinction for the Greater Lisbon. The Belcanto is his baby, the one where he takes his creativity to the fullest and where he explores traditional Portuguese cuisine in new and out of the box creations. Go without haste, with an open mind and ready for a unique voyage at the table – for several hours, be warned.
Perfect for: Going on special date and accompanying the occasion with a good bottle of wine.
Must try: the mergulho no mar (sea dive), which is to say, the sea bass with seaweed and bivalves.
It may not have the commotion of both portuguese and celebreties from the old days, but it is a fact that Bica do Sapato continues to be a good place to taste traditional Portuguese cuisine with foreign influences and some original touches. In charge, since 2013, is Manuel Bóia, responsible for having left in the menu some icons as the peixinhos da horta, but throwing himself into a consistent menu, based on good products and still very creative. It's also worth going up to the first floor and dining at the sushi-bar.
Perfect for: going to a restaurant that was hip 15, 10 and five years ago. And still is.
Must try: the crispy piglet with potato anna and esparregado (creamed spinach).
The irreverent chef Ljubomir Stanisic was already a city celebrity. And 2017 grew his status to the whole country. Whoever followed him beyond the small screen – he’s our very own Gordon Ramsay discovering kitchen nightmares across the country -, discovered a chef connected to nature, to the purity of the products, and consistently betting on, from his restaurants in the Douro to those in Lisbon, having seasonality at the table. In his increasingly popular Bistro, he mixes Portuguese influences with some of his origins and other European countries, in some always creative, tasty and good dishes. Want a cool restaurant in Lisbon? Look no further.
Perfect for: accompanying the meal with cocktails by of one of the best bartenders in Lisbon.
Must try: the entrecôte tataki with torricado, mushrooms and egg.
It was all the rage this past year and a must-go spot for those who keep up with gastronomic trends and, judging by the queues at the door, it has everything to continue that way. From the kitchen, that mixes the best of the Far East and Southeast Asia, there are currys, Chinese rolls, dumplings, spring rolls, soups and broths from various countries and even mochis. The best thing is to go with a group and dive into sharing mode. It also has great cocktails and a nice terrace to lunch at on sunny days.
Perfect for: pre-evenning, with dinner and drinks in a lively place.
Must try: the tom yam kung, that is, the spicy shrimp soup from Thailand.
The chef Hugo Brito has a taste for disruption. When all his peers were opening restaurants in all the fashionable neighborhoods, he trotted through Alfama on top of his Boi-Cavalo (which would translate to Ox-Horse); when everyone bet on tasting menus at high prices, he chose to make them for €35 and run them every week. Here there are no two equal weeks, there are no star dishes, there is, rather, a laboratory of experiences in a national-based cuisine, which appeals to the Portuguese memory, but can travel to other latitudes.
Perfect for: dining in Alfama without having to be quiet every 20 minutes.
Must try: the full menu that varies every week.
Look at this little text as a list of reasons to go to Bonsai. Here they go: 1) it has been serving good Japanese food for 31 years and it does not stick with just sushi; 2) It has a very complete lunch menu at 10€ which is one of the best deals in this city; 3) in the cold months, on Saturdays, every two weeks, there is a serious ramen, which takes days to be prepared; 4) already met several sushimen, but now has Lucas Azevedo ahead of the kitchen who knew how to maintain the quality of the restaurant; 5) There is almost always toro, the part that comes from the belly of tuna. Convinced already?
Perfect for: a meal away from the paparazzi, in one of the private Bonsai cubicles.
Must try: the ramen (in the winter), the toro and the pudding (all year).
It opened in the middle of 2017 as an extension of Sal, in Praia do Pego (that same one where Madonna had lunch), where for years the Bota Velha tasca worked and brought to Lisbon dishes and tapas from the sea, some meats and, this is the only snag, the high prices. Still, it is worth going to this nice modern tidbit to taste the sirloin pica-pau, the lulinhas à algarvia (squid the Algarve way), fish soup with fried bread and the mythical nero cuttlefish rice with strips of bacon. Ah! There is a beer happy hour from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Perfect for: those who remember, and miss, the old Bota Velha.
Must try: the pastel de massa tenra (meat pastry).
Fast, warm up your jaw, train the cuts with an imaginary knife and then sit at the table at this nice steakhouse in Parque das Nações. You will need all of the above to properly attack one of the specimens of matured meat in the restaurant or other more simple chunks, such as sirloin steaks or Black Angus breast. The pieces go to the raw grill, without salt and other seasonings, and arrive at the table with salads and sweet potato fries. Want something simpler? Ask for a prego (steack sandwich).
Perfect for: making a vegetarian fall into temptation.
Must try: the chuletón with 35 days of maturation.
Last summer the Café Buenos Aires gave the people of Lisbon what they had been asking for for a long time: lunchtime with longer working hours. And it came to stay. In other words, one of the terraces with the best view of the city can now be enjoyed aaalll day - at lunch there is a menu from 12€. Luckily, nothing else has changed. The restaurant continues to serve good Argentine beef, the famous flower salad and the homemade fresh pasta; continues to stock up at Quinta do Poial and to sweeten the mouth thanks to the chocolate cake with dulce de leche.
Perfect for: eating a good steak overlooking the São George Castle.
Must try: the endives with pears and roquefort in hot sauce.
Already a lot has been written on the sirloin steak from Café de São Bento. About the tender meat, on the sauce inspired by the Marrare, but with its own recipe, with the cream, butter, salt, pepper and, importantly, the juices of the meat, on the fired sweet potatoes, gone soft after swimming in the pool of gravy, on the friendly way any client, from eight to eighty, are treated in the pub aura of this space. But did they tell you already about the apple tatin pie? What about the loin prego? What about the carpaccio? Oh yeah.
Perfect for: telling the world that you sank your teeth on the best steak in Lisbon.
Must try: the steak the Café de São Bento way (what else?).
"Hello, how are you?" This is the way all customers who ring the bell at the Café do Paço are welcomed, whether they are newcomers or habitués. The first will gasp at this English-style pub house with red-capped sofas, and the menu where there are rare dishes like the prawn balchao. The second ones will immediately throw themselves at the croquette with mustard, the tenderloin steak swimming in cream sauce and ensuring that they have the dose of Caldas' trouxas de ovos (convent dessert rich in sugar and eggs) at the end. You know what to do.
Perfect for: going back to the 90's in service, food and smoking area.
Must try: the sirloin steak the Café do Paço way.
It was another territorial achievement of José Avillez in Chiado, this time inside (and outside as well, with a good terrace) of the National São Carlos Theater, where one learns that a chef can shine on very simple dishes. We speak of croquettes, sweet pastries, a caldo verde, a roasted cod with onions and a series of very good rices, all well presented, with one or the other touch of the author cuisine, who sweeps the hearts of tourists and melts those of the Portuguese.
Perfect for: going to a restaurant with the Avillez brand without spending too much.
Must try: the cod nuggets with tomato rice.
The opening of Memmo Príncipe Real brought to Lisbon another author's cuisine restaurant, in the hands of the talented Vasco Lello. The concept is a celebration of Lusofonia, in a journey that crosses the influences of the Portuguese in the Brazilian, African and Asian cuisines. Hence the menu presents dishes as different as the seasons’ vegetable tempur, the Asian duck or the cassava cheese cake. It has a splendid view over Lisbon and a terrace with a cocktail bar to enjoy before or after meals.
Perfect for: meeting one of the coolest boutique hotels in Lisbon.
Must try: the marinated partridge with thin toasted bread.
There is a wave of Portuguese tasca here, with dishes from the day at lunch, tables lined up together and quick employees walking around, but what leaves the kitchen are Mozambican specialties. More than just the samosas (good, by the way) flavors of crabmeat curry or chicken mulecas. Throw yourself at unknown dishes like ikala (prawns and crab with the shell in coconut and peanut sauce) or bakra piripiri (lamb chops in reddish sauce with vegetables, and spicy). It has a good esplanade.
Perfect for: scheduling a big dinner, with 30 people, without a fixed menu and astronomic prices.
Must try: the makoufe, a mixture of sprouts with prawns and crab leg.
In theory it was not the first restaurant of José Avillez, in practice it was. Or rather, it was the first of a succession of openings in Chiado and the one where José Avillez took a step back from the high cuisine (to later give others ahead) and presented a series of Portuguese roots and foreign influences – I’ll take a MX-LX prego, please. Seven years have passed since the opening, but his Cantinho is still current, good and recommendable. And it should be remembered that this was where the mythical Avelã3 was born – trust us, and just go for it.
Perfect for: remembering chef Avillez’s first-born.
Must try: cod slivers, loose crumbs, BT egg and explosive olives.
At the end of 2016, Diogo Noronha left the Casa de Pasto and passed the testimony to Hugo Dias de Castro, a vimaranense still unknown to the locals, who was inspired by a one pot cuisine and wanted to follow what was already the traditional but creative side of the restaurant. The cockle patties, the cooked meats in the Josper and some of the main dishes were kept, and were born other specialties with good combinations of flavors. All in all, Casa de Pasto continues to be one of the great ones in the city.
Perfect for: going to one of the most gorgeous dining rooms in Lisbon. No exaggeration.
Must try: the mussel grilled in the coal with pickled vegetables.
Tanka Sapkota has gained fame in Lisbon thanks to his Italian restaurants - Come Prima, Forno d'Oro and Il Mercato. Few know that this Nepalese is the owner of a space that respects its origins at Avenidas Novas. The Casa Nepalesa is based on fresh and seasonal products, many spices ground in the kitchen and one of those endless menus, but where any dish is good. From recipes with goat to the ones with prawns, from vegetarian to chicken, just choose. It's a good place for groups.
Perfect for: killing the hunger for Nepalese food in a place with European decor.
Must try: the samosas, with the pastry stretched by hand.
The same years that have passed (and have deteriorated) the Bairro Alto have left the Casanostra unharmed. It is true that the restaurant no longer has the clientele of artists, politicians and journalists of other times, that proper competition has been rising in Lisbon, but Maria Paola Porru knew what she was doing when it opened 31 years ago. The kitchen of Italian pastries and other dishes remains current, the room decorated grandmother's kitchen style remains charming and neither the service fails. Remember: burrata, trofie al pesto, ossobuco and zabaglione.
Perfect for: getting a last minute restaurant in Bairro Alto.
Must try: the spaghetti al pomodoro, with basil leaves.
The spices aroma begins to feel still on the stairs leading to the first floor of this restaurant in Praça da Figueira. And if you get there after your clock strikes 13.00, you probably have to continue to feel it outside the door while waiting for a table. Because the Indian food of Caxemira, which does not pity stomachs sensitive to spicy food, is so famous that the place is always packed. The shrimp curry is excellent, the lamb duck as well and it must be accompanied by nan bread.
Perfect for: testing that friend who says he's super tolerant spicy food.
Must try: the meat samosas.
Our critic Alfredo Lacerda called it the most invisible shellfish restaurant in Lisbon and if not for GPSs in mobile phones and nobody would find it - this is only valid for those who do not live in the area, of course. Here pregos are had with garlic and thin meat, clams the Bulhão Pato way, prawns from Algarve, as well as cold salads (octopus and ear), gizzards and other such snacks. If you're already dreaming of a perfect post-beach, with cold beer and snails in front of you, here too you can do it.
Perfect for: a simple seafood platter late afternoon at pre-crisis prices.
Must try: the special prego, with meat from the flank, in simple carcass bread.