The best seafood restaurants in Lisbon
Eight years after opening its doors, Sea Me remains one of these restaurants where it’s almost impossible to eat without a reservation – unless you’re willing to wait. This is because this modern venue encompasses seafood platters, grilled fish, sushi, and fish and seafood petiscos from the regions of Sesimbra, Peniche and the Azores. And there’s nothing like oysters and white wine after a day strolling around Chiado.
The renovation works at the Tivoli Hotel on Avenida da Liberdade led to the closing of Brasserie Flo, and the opening of a chic seafood joint with cloth towels and impeccable service - but the beef tartare remains on the menu, phew! Start with the Algarve gambas that are served as couvert, then have a portion of shellfish, a few sashimi (why not?), and then move on to a Dory fish fillet or sautéed Black Iberian pork. The perfect ending to this meal is the very bitter chocolate mousse.
The formula was developed in São Martinho do Porto, in the west of Portugal, where João Diogo Mendes, the head chef and co-owner, opened the first Pesqueiro 25. In the Cais do Sodré venue, which was inaugurated last year, there’s fresh seafood every day. The house specialities include lobster soup with roe, and seafood or lobster rice. The seafood platters are another great signature dish. To top it up, have a classic loin steak sandwich.
Every seafood restaurant should have thinly-sliced ham, cold beer (and here the best ones are the house cans), an aquarium full of crustaceans, steak sandwiches and a lot of noise, because happy people speak loudly. At Nune’s there’s all of this in generous proportions. The seafood menu is endless, the fish dishes are famous – try the crayfish with shrimp rice – and even the meat is good, with a particularly delicious aged entrecote. It won’t be cheap, but this will be a meal to remember.
This popular Algés seafood and beer joint, which blows 55 candles this year, is – excuse the cliché – like a good Port wine: better with age. There’s always amazing shellfish – in the right season there’s even the rare Quarteira prawns, with their blue tails – and (we can vouch for that) there’s always goose barnacles on the menu, since they work with multiple providers. But before filling up on shellfish, consider two things: the salgados served as starters are divine and the same goes for the meat.
Every day there’s commotion: inside, with the waiters running around juggling plates and glasses of beer, outside with the queue that takes up the whole street – on weekends it goes all the way to the corner of the building. Young and old, Lisboners and tourists, they all want to savour the best seafood in this renowned establishment, built in 1956. From Bulhão Pato clams (cooked in olive oil, garlic, and coriander) to edible crabs, spider crabs, gooseneck barnacles or lobster, all these animals are there, in the aquariums, waiting to be cooked and served. Finish your meal with a loin steak sandwich, which here is considered “dessert” – Anthony Bourdain loved the experience and the play on words. Arrive early (or very late) to avoid the crowds.
It’s a foolproof recommendation for anyone who asks: “and a cheap and cool place to have dinner?”. Água pela Barba fits the bill, with a largely fish and seafood- oriented menu, always in sharing quantities. From fried fish tacos to ceviche, to seafood rice and crab sandwiches, here the only non-ocean exceptions are two pork dishes and amazing desserts – be selfish and order the canilhas (stuffed biscuits) for yourself.
When they turned a bar into Peixaria da Esquina, the trio Vítor Sobral, Hugo Nascimento and Luís Espadana explained that the idea had been brewing in their heads for a while. By chance, the marinated dishes are some of the best on the menu - try the salmon marinated in passionfruit, ginger and coriander. You should also order the fried cuttlefish with aioli, the cured swordfish, and end with a steak sandwich (fish and meat options are equally as good). If you’re more of a grilled fish fan, you can also find that here.
This is a must for tourists and Lisboners alike, if only for its mussels, gambas à la plancha or the house’s secret, the steak sandwich (here called bife no pão). Book a table on the terrace and proudly show your seafood platter to passers-by.
Until last summer, its head chef was Paulo Morais and the city’s famous sushiman has trained the team that currently works there. But the most interesting thing about Rabo d’Pêxe is that you can share fish even with people who hate the idea of raw food. How? Choose a fish on display and they serve it to you half raw, half grilled. There are also sushi platters, surf and turf, and a covered terrace that’s perfect for cold winter days.
Find more traditional food in Lisbon
Here it is, a countdown of Lisbon’s most coveted plates. No more need to agonise over the menu; dive straight in as we reveal dishes to die for at Lisbon’s best restaurants and cheap eats. Our top 20 list picks out sophisticated signature dishes, indulgent desserts, sweet treats and finger-licking street food. Take a look at our selection of the top 20 dishes to try in Lisbon.
If you are a fresh fish lover, Lisbon is probably one of your top destinations. And if it isn’t yet, because you’ve never been here and you’ve just arrived at this page because you were cruising on the internet, pay attention to what we have to say. Our seafood is the best in the world (ok, maybe we are exaggerating a little bit here, but it is certainly on the top-5) and these are the best fish restaurants in Lisbon where you have to go to see that we are absolutely right.
You might have never heard about this dish - it is a Lisbon original, after all. Bitoque is a fried steak served with an egg on top and fries on the side. It is a lifesaver of sorts for many Lisboners, sold at most diners and traditional restaurants. See where to eat in Lisbon the best bitoques.