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The best restaurants in Chiado

The fanciest neighborhood in Lisbon also hosts some of the best places to eat in the city. Book a table in one of the best restaurants in Chiado

Fotografia: Arlindo Camacho

The heart of the city. A fancy area, once a gathering point for Lisbon’s major intellectuals and still the hub of its most elegant restaurants, its main theatres and its most luxurious cafés. Next to some significant addresses, such as the world’s oldest bookstore, you will find upmarket stores, all of them with a cool look. It’s an an imperative stopping place if you are in Lisbon or are planning to come here, so save this location on your GPS. Thinking ahead, we’ve selected for you the best restaurants in Chiado.

Recommended: the best hotels in Chiado

The best restaurants in Chiado

A Taberna da Rua das Flores

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To lead a restaurant where the menu changes daily you need creativity. André Magalhães and his team have it and they also know a lot about forgotten or hard-to-get Portuguese products. Thus a part of the menu usually confuses the patrons – fear not, the staff is on hand to tell you what is what. By day this is an old-fashioned Lisbon tavern with traditional recipes; by night, it is a chef's laboratory, mixing influences from all over the world.

Time Out tips:

– It's always crowded and no reservations are accepted, so go early.

– Beyond dining, there is also a micromarket with quality wares.

– Taste their lunch specialities: garnished “iscas” and “meia desfeita” cod.

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Chiado/Cais do Sodré

Alma

Three years after closing down his Alma restaurant, in Santos, Henrique Sá Pessoa reopened it nearby, in the premium Chiado district, with a more refined cuisine. It was a risk worth taking – he earned the first Michelin star in his career. The restaurant is a lot more modern than the previous one, a trendy spot for fine dining, mixing Portuguese classic dishes and some influences from the chef's travels and readings – Sá Pessoa has always had an interest in Asian cuisine.

Time Out tips:

– Two tasting menus (€70 and €90) plus à la carte dishes.

– The roast carrot appetizer blew our critic away – try it.

– The stove was designed by the chef; it is a unique, 750kg piece.

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Chiado

Bagos

After a couple of years missing, Henrique Mouro is back to the Chiado with a restaurant where every dish has something in common: rice. You can't escape it, neither will you be avoiding the Portuguese cuisine that has always been the chef's speciality, although he does venture into some fusion recipes. Just order a risotto with sautéed greens, beans and fried octopus fillets, or a “cabidela” blood rice stuffed with “farinheira” sausage and you'll understand what we mean.

Time Out tips:

– Caroline type rice, whole rice, savage rice, basmati rice... All varieties have joined this party.

– For dessert, obviously, you can have a good old rice pudding.

– A kitchen with no gas in Lisbon? Such a thing exists. Everything is cooked in electrical induction stoves.

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Chiado
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Bairro do Avillez

As if being a major landowner in the Chiado wasn't enough, José Avillez opened a whole block in 2016. An entire building, huge, with a cloister full of light, where he presents various concepts. On your way in you will find the Mercearia (“grocery store”), with books, aprons and olive oil for sale next to Portugal's finest cheese an sausage; the same hall has the Taberna, with its many snacks, some of them original; farther along is the Páteo, for seafood and specially treated meats.

Time Out tips:

– The delicatessen is supplied by Manteigaria Silva.

– Try: the cod “alfacinha”, the octopus with kimchi and the croaker fish with “migas”.

– You can make reservations for Páteo (you won't get a table otherwise) but not for Taberna.

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Chiado

Belcanto

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He was the first Portuguese chef to stamp two Michelin stars on his resume, the first to earn one for the Greater Lisbon area. At Belcanto, the second of his six Lisbon restaurants, his creativity is everywhere: both in fully reinvented traditional dishes, such as his “cozido” with a strong-flavoured broth, and in bold experiments such as his famous garden of the goose that laid the golden egg - in which a golden, edible layer covers a soft-boiled egg. And we've yet to mention the appetizers, delicious as always.

Time Out tips:

– More than a meal, an experience; don't rush it.

– This is no place to be a spendthrift – including when it comes to wines.

– The tasting menus cost €125 and €145, but you can also order à la carte.

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Chiado

Bistro 100 Maneiras

No pretension, no fear and, most aptly when talking about Ljubomir Stanisic, no limits. Unlike the mother ship 100 Maneiras and its more serious demeanour, the Bistro is a stage where the chef challenges the barriers of all the places that inspire him – the Balkans, France and, of course, Portugal. He comes up with dishes such as a spare rib tartar, mushroom risotto with wild mushrooms, and an excellent Balkanic cheese and bio chard burek. It is also one of the finest places in the city to be seen (it is always full of cool people).

Time Out tips:

– Barman Jorge Camilo is an artist; don't neglect his menu.

– There is a private, Hendrick's sponsored, private room, where menus cost €180.

– It's not a bistrot, it's a bistro – Serbian for “clean”.

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Chiado
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Café Buenos Aires

At Time Out we usually talk of Buenos Aires as a lifebuoy restaurant: a place to go when you want good service, a cool location, a fine meal, an affordable bill or a sip of wine with a view to the castle. The Argentinian (rib-eye) steaks are the house's calling card but there is more to discover on the menu: fresh pasta, asparagus salad, endives with pears or the incomparable flower salad. Only one small but important detail is missing: no ATM cards accepted.

Time Out tips:

– You get two restaurants for the price of one – there's another Buenos Aires right next door.

– If you didn't make a reservation, forget about it: it's almost impossible to get a table.

– Desserts, oh... Desserts. Try that Argentinian postre.

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Chiado

Café Lisboa

Along with the Pizzaria Lisboa, this is the city's most low-key José Avillez restaurant. That could be due to its location, inside the São Carlos National Theater (and outside too – they have nice outdoors tables); or maybe it is due to its simple, relaxed cuisine. Despite that, don't ignore the tender dough pastries, the cod nuggets, the “caldo verde” soup and the risottos, all of them by Avillez. This is a place for good, solid Portuguese food, with crisp flavours and a tasteful presentation. Tourists love it and so should Lisboners.

Time Out tips:

– The chef produces his own “nata” custard pie. Does it taste good? Yes it does. 

– Like in a good eatery, there is a little bit of everything: vegetable cream soup, “bitoque” steak, cod à la Brás.

– Come rain or shine, the outdoors tables are covered during wintertime.

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Chiado

Cantinho do Avillez

Upon opening his “Cantinho” in 2011, which he described as a restaurant for his friends, José Avillez took a step back from haute cuisine. Here he proved that a chef can also shine by preparing simple fare such as fried “peixinhos da horta” vegetables, “barrosã” beef burgers or Portobello mushroom risotto. Naturally he also ventured into more original dishes, such as Algarve prawns with Thai flavours or scallops with Aljezur sweet potatoes. That mix conquered Lisbon, paving the way for what came next: five successful restaurants in the Chiado.

Time Out tips:

– Never forget this is the birthplace of the Halzenut³.

– The old Professor-style eggs, a Belcanto staple, are now only served at Cantinho.

– The MX-LX steak sandwich is one of Lisbon's most interesting DIY dishes.

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Chiado
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Das Flores

The small eatery at the Rua das Flores in endangered ever since its building was approved for building a hotel. But there is no closure date for now, so enjoy their croquettes (Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays), their cod cakes (Tuesdays and Thursdays), their “alheira” sausage with fries and egg, their “iscas”, their homemade soups, their almond pie... well, the menu isn't very long but it's always hard to pick just one thing. If all else fails, just go “eeny, meenie...”

Time Out tips:

– Only lunches are served, and by 11am they are usually fully booked.

– The cod cakes won a blind taste test by Time Out Critics.

– There is no sign at the door. Memorize the street number: 76

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Chiado
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