Lisbon restaurants

Cheap & tasty

Where are the best restaurants in Lisbon city centre ?

You are probably wondering where to eat codfish in Lisbon ?  Where to find typical restaurants for locals in Lisbon ?

Portuguese food often reminds me of mum's cooking. It is simple, good and the flavours enhance the work done in the kitchen. As a lover of good things, I don't think I'm wrong if I say that frozen food is not welcome here.

Restaurants in Lisbon old town to try...or not !

While Lisbon’s restaurants are plenty, you shouldn’t always go to the nearest one. I’m talking about the ones where the waiters lure you into the street with a menu in their hands and offer you both Portuguese and Italian cuisine…

Beware, in particular, of the prices of the dishes, which are attractive but which soar when you order drinks.

Areas in Lisbon where you should be careful :

  1. Baixa district with the Commerce square, Augusta street and its parallel streets, Portas de Santo Antão street with exceptions : Gambrinus (luxury), Chaminés do Palacio, Solar dos Presuntos and in the alley Travessa do Forno.
  2. The stairs of Duque (calçada do Duque) with one exception : Oficina do Duque.
  3. The districts of Chiado, Principe Real, Bairro Alto offer unusual and conceptualized cuisines of very good quality. There is an embarrassment of riches for restaurants in Bairro Alto and you should find what you are looking for before the evening starts.

For us, the best restaurants are those where the quality & freshness of the food are high, all for a very competitive price. So don’t hesitate to ask the waiters what the dish of the day is or what they have fresh (beware of fish sold by the kilo, rather expensive !)

Prestigious restaurant in Chiado with Portuguese or world cuisine

Guide to Lisbon restaurants where locals eat :

If you want a memorable food experience in a typical Portuguese restaurant, there are signs that you can’t go wrong :

  1. Paper tablecloths on the tables.
  2. The menu written on the paper tablecloth and displayed in the street.
  3. A dark restaurant, a cellar feeling. NO TERRACE.
  4. Of course, a place full of elders because they know places bom e barato (good and cheap).
  5. A welcome without smiles, nor waste of time but warm. Don’t worry, they like you but… no fuss, you have to be served as fast as possible.
  6. A decoration that hasn’t changed for 30 years, tiles on the wall
  7. When the boss at the service looks like the grandmother at the stove. A family affair !
  8. A large collection of whiskies.
  9. The bill written on the tablecloth, cash only, home fries, etc…

You’ll find these places all over the city : O Pitéu da Graça, Penalva da Graça, Cova Funda, A Provinciana, Zapata, etc… But if there is one area that I feel is heaven on earth, it is the Sao José district, parallel to Avenida da Liberdade. Explore the rua Sao José and the rua Santa Marta which extends it. There is plenty of choice here. Note that the perpendicular streets contain some gems such as Forninho Saloio.

Grilled sardines in a typical Lisbon restaurant during the sardine festival

Lisbon restaurants recommendations : with view, upscale or waterfront

Before dinner, it's aperitivo ! If you're looking for the best place to enjoy port in Lisbon, I've got some advice for you. Wine lovers ? Don't miss our wine tour with tasting in Lisbon. In the order of the best restaurants in Lisbon, we start with the popular restaurants and end with the fine ones !

N.B : some of these restaurants are missing their names. It's not an error, it's just that they have small capacities and they are well kept secrets by the Portuguese. We therefore prefer to share these places with our visitors who are often short of ideas for eating out. Because during our private tours, we always give good advice !

Fatima, the best Portuguese canteen in Lisbon

Cantino da Fátima

At lunchtime, the full menu is €8

My favourite restaurant in Lisbon is called "cantinho da fátima", in the Graça district. It doesn't look like much but the food is exquisite and the price is extremely reasonable. Every lunchtime, for an all-inclusive menu (soup, main course, dessert, bread, drink, coffee), it costs €8 per person.


Not only workers but also families find their way here. The meals and the tables grow longer as people arrive. The decoration is sober, or even non-existent. You can't expect to find refined lighting in typical Portuguese restaurants. You go to the restaurant to eat and chat, not to gaze at a masterpiece or a piece of designer furniture. On the other hand, the service is impeccable and fast despite the large number of customers. As its name suggests, it's a real canteen !


Advice for those who would like to eat fish : go there at midday as it is often the first dishes to go.


Rua da Graça, 111.

Open for lunch every day except Sunday.

ACISJF, on the terrace with the sparrows

Cantina das Freiras

A fantastic lunch with the nuns

Well, we'll leave aside the uninspiring decor of this restaurant. But that's not why we're interested in it. It's for its terrace ! This restaurant has an amazing view. However, on bad weather days you should forget it.


Indeed, located on the 3rd floor of an old building, the establishment overlooks a significant part of Lisbon. With this view, you can hardly imagine that you will pay 60 cents for your coffee. The food is Portuguese, good and cheap. On top of that, you are doing a good deed.


It is a Catholic association helping single women. Don't hesitate !


Travessa Ferragial, 1.

Open from Monday to Friday until 2.30 pm. Closed on public holidays and Catholic festivities.

Portuguese grilled chicken, a typical and succulent dish that can be found everywhere in Lisbon and especially at the primavera restaurant


The best chicken in town is grilled here

It's not necessarily the first culinary dish you think of when you mention Portuguese cuisine. And yet I have never eaten such good chicken as in Portugal !


Young grilled chickens, called franguinhos by the Portuguese, are to be enjoyed in churrasqueiras. In any churrasqueira in Lisbon, you will be greeted by the smell of grilled chicken.


At Primavera, you can see the master roasters at work. We don't hesitate for a second. The establishment is always full, and sometimes you have to be patient.


The service is old school, the waiters with bushy moustaches are not the experts of English language. So it's very simple, half a grilled chicken is meio-frango grelhado. And if you want hot pepper, ask for the picante !


Each chicken is generously served with a portion of chips and rice. Salad is never automatic in Portugal, so always ask for it. Bom apetite !


Rua Morais Soares, 101.

Open every day for lunch and dinner, except Wednesday

The best fresh fish in the city on the grill is one of the best restaurants in Lisbon


The best fresh and cheap fish in Lisbon !

Wondering where you can eat a good grilled fish at a reasonable price ? Don't look in the centre of Lisbon. Go as close as possible to the fishermen, on the coast or in the ports.


In Lisbon, the most incredible fish restaurant is located away from the historic centre, but it's no further than going to Belem.


For those who want convenience and a pleasant environment, skip it. You go to this restaurant for its fish (even if meat eaters are not forgotten) ! You only have to look at the car park next door to be convinced of the reputation of this place.


Before tasting the fish, don't skimp on the shrimps grilled with garlic (gambas aguilo) but also the clams cooked in an exquisite broth (Amêijoas a Bulhão Pato).


For the fish ? Well, for the first time, I had simply asked for a sea bream. But what a mistake ! The best dish to order and share with two is the grouper head (pictured). Trust me, it's excellent !


An early morning reservation for lunch is highly recommended ! It's a real adventure to get there, I suggest you take a taxi or an uber. The drivers will probably be taken aback by the location but yes, there is a restaurant there !


Open for lunch every day except Sunday.

Typical Portuguese dish at the Laurentina restaurant where you can eat the best cod in Lisbon


The king of codfish !

Where to eat codfish in Lisbon ? Now you know...


Laurentina is for me the best restaurant in Lisbon for cod. I'm not being picky... No need to hold back the words when they come out on their own. Open since 1976, the menu has not changed. A sign that this is not just a restaurant, but an institution. Founder António Francisco Pereira has spent his life behind the stove, including more than 21 years in Mozambique. His cooking of cod is second to none and he has made his restaurant the temple of Bacalhau. High quality cod, simple and tasty ingredients, mainly from Beira interior, his native region.


If the decoration has not changed since the end of the 1980s, it is a sign that you are at the right address. You will be surrounded by refined Portuguese people who disregard the outdated design to enjoy the dishes cooked with pride.


What to order? Anything with cod in it ! But not only that... The founder lived in Mozambique, so you can taste the specialities of this exotic country. Like tiger prawns !


What I liked most about this restaurant ? The fact that they serve the (excellent) oil on the side. The recurring criticism of cod dishes is that some restaurants serve them bathed in oil. At Laurentina, you add the olive oil as you wish.


Accompany it with a red wine from Beira Interior and you're done. It's a culinary experience you'll want to repeat.


Avenida Conde Valbom 71A

Open every day from 12:00 to 23:00

Typical Portuguese dish revisited by a Lisbon chef

Taberna do Calhau

A fine restaurant that honours Alentejo cuisine

Taberna do Calhau is the project of Leopold do Calhau, a chef who is anything but anonymous on the Lisbon culinary scene.


His art is to revisit the traditional dishes of his native region: the Alentejo. Those who know it know that the food is good.


The Alentejo in Mouraria : all the furniture and decoration comes from a tavern in Beja that has closed. Leopold is an epicurean who wants to share with others the dishes that marked his childhood in Alentejo.


Good, fresh and seasonal products, an artistic touch in the dishes that remind us that we are in a semi-gourmet restaurant.


I insist on this point because those who expect to eat generous Portuguese food will be particularly disappointed. This is a restaurant that offers dishes with a rustic touch but served with great finesse.


Largo das Olarias, 23.

Open every day. Lunch and dinner.

Seasonal and fresh dish cooked by the gastronomic restaurant Grenache located near Castelo Sao Jorge


A gastro at the foot of the Castelo Sao Jorge

Chef Philippe Gelfi has set up in the heart of the sumptuous Belmonte Palace in 2019. Visitors to the Sao Jorge Castle easily encounter him on their way in. The place is perfect if you're thinking of having lunch in the area.


In the former space of the Leopold restaurant, the project of "Grenache" was born, a gastronomic restaurant based on simple and seasonal dishes. The chef has named his restaurant Grenache, a nod to his Provençal origins and his passion for wine. Trained at the great school of French cuisine, his trip to Lisbon was like a breath of fresh air that gave free expression to his creativity. A touch of madness that reveals itself in each dish, thought as a dessert, because Philippe's first passion has always been pastry.


I personally loved lunch at Grenache, I was overwhelmed by the freshness of the ingredients and the surprising combinations. Trust the restaurant for the wines, their list is exceptional ! In the end, it is an unpretentious gastronomic restaurant that is there to serve gourmets. A great idea if you want to treat yourself during your stay in the capital.


Pátio de Dom Fradique, 12.

Open every day except Monday and Tuesday.

Gastronomic dish from a starred restaurant in the centre of Lisbon with natural wines


A gastro that feels like home

This chef's project has caused less of a stir than the concept restaurants of the very famous chef José Avillez. Visitors to Lisbon go to Avillez, locals go to him.


If this chef doesn't have a Michelin star yet, it won't be long now. But personally it's good for us, because we don't have to plan a dinner 8 months in advance.


For the gastronomic experience ? Imagine this restaurant as a large dining room. The decoration is mimalistic, the focus is on the dishes which are masterpieces (the plates were made by the chef himself). A magnificent open kitchen is located at the entrance. The proximity with the artists is therefore total.


The cuisine is a composition of Portuguese and seasonal products. The menu changes very regularly. The wines are mainly organic or natural. For a real immersion, we recommend the tasting menu with food and wine pairing. The sommelier is a former ballerina and is passionate about her work. This guarantees a perfect dinner to conclude your gastronomic journey in Lisbon.


The 5-course with wine pairing menu costs €70.

Open every evening except Sunday and Monday.

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