Lisbon recommendations?

I’ve scoured the web but feel like I’ve got trapped in a Eater.com, blogging, Anthony Bourdain bubble. The group think ends up directing me to Cervejaria Ramiro and Taberna da Rua das Flores. Both of which I’m sure are great, but I’d rather enjoy some of what the city has to offer, not the view from a queue. This definitely seems to be a recurring theme when doing internet research these days - research for an upcoming trip to Tokyo would suggest I could get up at 3am and queue for hours for a place called Sushi Dai - no chance.

Does anyone have any recommendations for casual food spots? I’m not really looking for the “must eats” of the blogging world, just decent places to try Portuguese classics and tasty plates.

Maybe it’s the sort of place where one can wonder the back streets and find unassuming restaurants (tascas?) without any research, but maybe it’s not!

One of our best meals in Lisbon was at Cervejaria Ramiro, although we had to wait in line for more than an hour to get in. For casual we enjoyed Beira Gare. Their specialty is the bifana, a greasy pork sandwich. After eating it, you will have to wash your hands. I can also recommend Wine Bar do Castelo. The Castelo itself bored me to death, but the wine bar, just a few streets away, had fantastic Portuguese wines. They only serve some simple cheese and charcuterie dishes, but It’s a place I would love to return to.

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Ramiro was up there among our favourites as well and I think you can actually skip the queue with a reservation. Some other suggestions

  • Mercado Ribeira for a large foodhall converted from a working market with stalls representing trad favourites, young chefs, good vendors of trad products (ham, cheese, wine etc) and plenty of communal-style seating. Easy and flexible way to build up a meal of whatever size you may want.
  • Solar dos Presuntos for traditional cooked seafood (rice dishes, whole fish, octopus gallego etc rather than shellfish as per Ramiro) with an affluent local and tourist crowd. Reservations required.
  • Super Mario for a short cheap menu of traditional lunch specials with a local working crowd (think cops and builders). If the menu doesn’t appeal, there are numerous similar options on the same street (rua do Duque).
  • Marisqueria Nunes for a shellfish specialist handy to the sightseeing in Belem. Somewhat higher prices vs. Ramiro for bigger/ more premium versions of the same critters.
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Thanks for these recs. We have a reservation at Solar dos Presuntos already so good to hear it affirmed.

We might try going to Ramiro at a random time to see if the queues are any better as it does appear to be a do not miss. An hour is about the limit of my patience these days

Definitely going to check out a Bifana.

Thanks for the winebar, also thinking of visiting viniportugal as our Portuguese wine experience doesn’t extend much beyond Dao or Vinho Verde and it might offer a better spectrum.

Just to report back on this.

We got carried away listening to a Brazilian band in a square near Ramiro and by the time we got there it wasn’t early anymore and the queue didn’t look like much fun. We went back for lunch on the next day and it was very civil, I get that people like busy atmosphere but we walked straight in at lunch and it was perfect. I’ll add my name to the thousands recommending this place.

We went to Solar dos Presuntos, where the portions were absolutely enormous. It was quite a sprawling touristy place but it actually wasn’t to its detriment. They put a load of cured meats, cheeses, breads and olives on the table before you arrive. You can tell them to take away whatever you don’t want and it doesn’t get added to the bill.

Although this place is known for seafood I’m a sucker for goat, and my partner had a seafood risotto if I remember correctly. An enjoyable, and expectedly not cheap meal.

We made it to Taberna da Rua das Flores. When you put your name down early in the evening I think they give you a time or at least an indication of when to come back. There’s a kiosk in the square at the top of the hill where you can have a drink, and nearer the time they are happy to serve you drinks whilst you wait outside the restaurant. Menu was varied modern small plates, quite a few Asian influences (don’t expect Portuguese classics). Another winner.

We had a bargain lunch on the same street at Das Flores. Good simple meat and fish dishes that were extremely good value. Very small room, lots of locals, I think we were lucky to get a table walking in.

And I recommend the viniportugal store in the Comércio Square if you want to get to know Portuguese wines. Rechargable card with a sealed nitrogen or whatever system, they have a constant turnover of open bottles across a wide spectrum of variaties, including ports. And it’s nice and air-conditioned if you need to cool off.

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Thanks for reporting back; we’re going to Lisbon this year, so this is super helpful.

We often feel vegetable-deprived when we travel, so I’m wondering if you (or anyone else) might have recommendations for places with good vegetable dishes (they don’t have to be vegetarian).

Thanks for the report! I’ve been dying to go to Lisbon so this was fun to read.

It’s very helpful to have these timely comments and suggestions as I’ll be in Lisbon next month for a weekend. Thank you.

Anyone have reports on Belcanto or Eleven?


I had my Lisbon visit this past weekend; it was a great trip. I had forgotten how much I like that city. A couple of things to pass along…

  1. Solar do Vinho do Porto may be closing, at least temporarily. It seems the building they’re in has been sold and the new owner is doing renovations. Supposedly, they’ll get new rooms when the refurb is done.

  2. I couldn’t get a reservation at Belcanto, and decided not to go to Eleven. Instead I went to Restaurante Feitoria at the Altis Belém Hotel & Spa. Feitoria is a Michelin 1 star. Very good dinner there, super service, nice room. Bonus for me was a course that featured sea urchin. Ended the night with a glass of 1985 vintage Port; that was special.

  3. If you’re in market for some local wine expertise, I recommend Teresa Gomes - “sommelier and wine educator.” Teresa was fantastic at helping me navigate the world of Port wine, and is a wealth of information on the local food and wine scene.

http://www.restaurantefeitoria.com/en/

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Spent a week in Lisbon in mid-February (plus an overnight trip to Porto). My first time there in thirty years!

To get the big names out of the way first: was not impressed with Cervejaria Ramiro. We went at about 5:30pm on our last day (Sunday), were seated immediately, but there were at least twenty people waiting when we left. Oysters had a good flavour but adductor muscle wasn’t severed, some shell fragments, and a day later I had food poisoning (thankfully after the flight), for which this is the prime culprit. Prawns we expected to be shelled and in garlic butter like at other tables, but they arrived cold; it was difficult to get them out of the shell, because they were overcooked. Clams (ameijoas de Bulhao Pato) were good. With garlic bread and a half-bottle of vinho verde, about €50.

We fared better at Taberna da Rua das Flores, weekday lunch. We arrived early but there were still tables when we left. Most remote service we had, though not neglectful, just distant. Sardine handrolls to start, curry of pombo (? white-fleshed fish) and shrimp, magret de pato with port wine sauce and red fruits. Tasty and reasonably priced. I can see why everyone lists it.

The best meal we had was probably at Tasca da Esquina, way out in Campo de Ouriques. Sautéed shrimps in garlic sauce, sautéed squid with mushrooms, fresh cod carpaccio with matchstick potatoes and fried egg (brought to the table layered before being taken back to the kitchen for the final mix). Every dish was terrific. I saw large and delicious-looking plates of bacalhau à bras and bowls of ameijôas going by. If we’d gone there earlier, I would have gone back.

A close second was our tasting menu at Os Gazeteiros, in the Alfama. Six market-driven courses for €35 in a small space with an open kitchen. It reminded me of places I’ve eat at in Paris. More vegetable-intense than other meals we had, quite inventive, and very tasty. Modest wines by the glass.

Nice lunch at Bairro do Avillez, one of several José Avillez restaurants, this one split into several areas. We sat in the Taberna. Jamón iberico bellota, exploding olives (cheapest molecular gastronomy I’ve ever had), spicy horse mackerel tartare hand roll, beef cheeks with purée, salt cod with cornbread and chorizo crumbs. Avillez-branded house rosé was good.

We had a bit of an odd meal at Henrique Sa Pessoa’s Tapisco. We went early and were seated at the bar, despite all the tables being empty. There was one other couple at the bar. At least it had a proper full foot ledge and decent chairs with backs! More jamón iberico bellota; tuna tartare with avocado and wasabi “tobiko” (more molecular gastronomy); and good patatas bravas. Focus was on cocktails but I opted for a glass of local vermut, one of several highlighted. If it hadn’t been five in the afternoon, I would have gone for the paella negra, but we wouldn’t have been able to finish it.

We did better at his place Balçao in the Experiência Gastronômia on the 7th floor of El Corte Ingles. This consists of an upscale food and wine display (rather overblown, and one can get many of the same products in a more reasonable atmosphere in the large supermarket in the basement) and a number of outposts of various local places or designed by local chefs. This is possibly the best food I have ever had in a department store food court (perhaps not saying much, but that includes Japanese depatchika). I had sea bass with coriander clam rice (nice citrus foam on top); my partner had slow-cooked pork belly in reduction with turnip greens and potato crisps. Ordered at counter, served at nearby table. I think the Time Out food court at the Mercado do Ribiera is trying for a similar effect, but I was pretty disappointed in it.

Of the handful of downscale meals we had, it is worth mentioning the €12 set lunch at Carmo Restaurante, across the square from the ruined convent of the same name. I had chickpea and salt cod salad, stewed squid over purée, choice of traditional dessert, coffee, and a glass of wine. Quite a bargain! We also enjoyed our lunch at Zé dos Cornos, where we were the only people who didn’t speak Portuguese. Nearly everyone was having the grilled pork ribs with fries, as did my partner, but I had a huge grilled squid. With bottled water and a half-bottle of house red, €24. We were chatted up by the lively family next to us, who were regulars. Go early; fifteen minutes after they opened, we got one of the last places.

Choices seemed more limited in Porto, but we enjoyed our dinner at Flor de Congregados, the only place where the server took the trouble to explain the entire menu to us, and the highlights of the wine list. They had a 1996 Douro by the glass for €5! It took fifteen minutes of waiting and periodic vigourous swirling to open it up, but it was well worth it. Traditional food, in an old stone cellar.

We also had a good lunch on the waterfront in Vila Nova de Gaia, at de Castro Gaia in the Espace Porto Cruz, another place with a big name as executive chef. Good tapas, nice wines by the glass (many ports, of course) and the best bacalhau à bras we had on the trip.

I have photos of all the meals if anyone wants to see any of them.

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Thanks for reporting back. The photos will be great! Especially interested to see your meal at Tasca de Esquina, Os Gazeteiros, Bairro do Avillez, Experiência Gastronômia, Henrique Sa Pessoa’s Tapisco and Flor de Congregados (Porto).

I’m sorry you had a bad experience at Cervejaria Ramiro. It was one of our favorites when we were in Lisbon, and I would be inclined to give it another chance if we were to go back–which we may since a cousin of my wife’s has moved there. We avoided Tasca de Esquina like the plague because of unfavorable stuff I had read on the internet. I don’t remember if it was on Chowhound, Tripadvisor, or elsewhere. But if we return to Lisbon, we’ll certainly give it a try.

Forgot to mention: we had pasteis de nata at Alcoa, Manteigaria, Antiga Confeitaria de Belem, Confeitaria Nacional, and Fabrica de Nata. All were at least decent; my favourite was probably Manteigaria. Curiously enough, I remember the texture from my earlier visit as being a little more firm; these were all quite soft while fresh.

And we had coffee most mornings at Fábrica Coffee Roasters a short walk from Restauradores. Properly made drinks, from espresso to flat white, and a calm atmosphere without being overly hipster.

Okay, here are some photos. From Bairro do Avillez, the mackerel cone and the exploding olives:

The beef cheeks and the salt cod:

At Os Gazeteiros, the third course: marinated mackerel, pomegranate, black sesame paste, red mizuna, wasabi greens.

And the first dessert: baked and torched meringues, lime and fennel sorbet, crumble, lime oil.

At Tasca da Esquina, the fresh cod carpaccio, before and after mixing:

At Tapisco, the tuna tartare:

At Balçao, the sea bass:

And the pork belly:

Finally, the traditional pastries at the Alcoa branch in the Experiência Gastronômia.

It was too dark at Flor de Congregados, and the dishes rather plain; the photos didn’t turn out well.

“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold