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The best restaurants in Mouraria

Looking for some exotic dishes? Take a look at our guide of the best restaurants in Mouraria

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Mouraria, where the moors once lived before the Christians reconquered Lisbon, in 1147, is nowadays the most multiethnic neighborhood in the heart of the city. From one side, between its very narrow streets and tiny houses Lisbonners’ traditions are being well kept and everyone can see them – sardines grilling in the open air and fado played in several street corners. On the other, there's also something global brought in with all the people from Bangladesh, China, India, Pakistan and Mozambique that decided to live there and opened some of the best restaurants in Mouraria.

Recommended: things to do in Lisbon – spotlight on Mouraria 

The best restaurants in Mouraria

Cantinho do Aziz

If you dislike noisy restaurants, make a U-turn. At Cantinho do Aziz, a Mozambican eatery in the Mouraria, you need to speak up to be heard. You have to accept the relaxed mood of the staff and have an open mind for their suggestions. From crab curry to chicken “muamba”, from “yuka malaku” (chicken, okra and manioc in a coconut sauce) to “makoufe” (cabbage, peanut and coconut sauce, prawns and crab legs), everything tastes good here.

Time Out tips:

– Two Mozambican beers are available and you should order them: Laurentina and 2M.

– The house hot chilli pepper is named Sacana (“bastard”) and you will feel like purchasing a jar of it.

– The lamb chacuti is inexpensive and unmissable.

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Castelo de São Jorge

Mi Dai

There's no name at the door; to find this authentic Chinese canteen, look for 7 Calçada da Mouraria (use “CM7” as a mnemonic). Inside, a bare dining room with a counter at the end where you will have to go and point (that's the proper procedure) towards the desired ingredients. These will be put in a wok, where they will gain a scent of garlic, ginger and pepper. Plus: they have excellent noodle soups (both with fish or meat), served in boiling-hot aromatic broths.

Time Out tips:

– The TV set is always tuned to Chinese channels.

– Were you taught not to audibly slurp your soup? Forget about it. Here you can.

– Try the fried rib, the purple eggplant and the pork bellies.

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Martim Moniz

Pho-Phu

Located in the Mouraria, the most international of Lisbon's neighbourhoods, its proprietors are not Vietnamese (they're Chinese) but they serve the famous noodles from Vietnam. Pho is a steamy soup with almost medicinal properties, composed of rice noodles, meat, spices, soy sprouts, parsley, onions, mint and shrimp broth. Besides pho, there are two Chinese soups (rice noodles is one of them), dumplings and ravioli. What else? You don't need anything else with such a Pho.

Time Out tips:

– The staff speaks no Portuguese, so there's a lot of gesticulating.

– The classic Chinese Tsingtao beer is available.

– There is fish sauce on the table that you can (and should) pour onto boiling soups.

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Martim Moniz
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Tentações de Goa

Because of Goa's historic links to Portugal and also the influx of many Mozambican-born Indians, Portugal has been blessed with plenty of good Goan restaurants. This one is hidden in a hard-to-find street in the Mouraria. Since forever, it has been led by Maria dos Anjos, the woman in charge of cooking the bhaji puris, the crab curry, the “sarapatel” stew, the mirchi and the goat chacuti with onion and pepper salad. You should also try their inventive date-and-cashew nut samosas, made with the same dough as the meat ones (also very good); you'll want seconds.

Time Out tips:

– There is always a crowd or artists and journalists.

– The concept of “mild” is unknown here – everything is medium spicy or hotter.

– Don't forget to bring cash – no debit cards accepted.

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Castelo de São Jorge

The Food Temple

The restaurant is located in a quaint Mouraria square with trees in the centre. In front of it is a curved stairway and a neighbour who sometimes opens her window to sing fado music. Now ignore all that typical Portugal stuff and focus on Alice Ming's vegetarian food. She is a Canadian of Chinese heritage that cooks Mediterranean, Portuguese and Asian dishes in her crowdfunded restaurant. The menu, like the world, keeps changing.

Time Out tips:

– Alice Ming often hosts cooking workshops. Sign up to her mailing list to know the dates.

– Get ready for nuts, lots of nuts.

– Meals are either outdoors or at a community table inside.

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Castelo de São Jorge

Zé da Mouraria

There is actually no Zé at Zé da Mouraria. There is a Virgílio, not from Mouraria but from the Minho region. He opened the neighbourhood's most popular restaurant 17 years ago, where once a Galician fellow had a grill named Zé dos Grelhados. Now that you know about the name, let us tell you about their internationally renowned roast cod, whose secret is to use thick slices with no bones while adding good quality chickpeas, olive oil and roast potatoes. Also great: the veal steaks with garlic and the garlic cuttlefish.

Time Out tips:

– Barbecue ribs are served on Wednesdays, oven-roasted duck rice on Thursdays.

– The perfect place for weekend lunches – you won't be sent away.

– For dinnertime, book a table at Zé da Mouraria II, located in the Campo Mártires da Pátria.

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Martim Moniz
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Zé dos Cornos

This must have been a harsh year for Zé dos Cornos. The steps in front of its door, leading to the Mouraria centre, were continuously undergoing work, and the area became a traffic gridlock. The bright side for you, dear reader, is that you will have an easier time getting a table. Well, the tables are communal with wooden benches, but once you see the appetizers (breads, cheeses, hams) and the menu selections for grilled fish or meat you won't even remember where you're sitting.

Time Out tips:

– The family in charge, the wine and the recipe all hail from the same place: Ponte de Lima, in Northern Portugal.

– Their pork “piano” bones are a best-seller.

– Some fried fish dishes come with a side of excellent rice and beans.

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Castelo de São Jorge

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