We’ve explored Portugal’s best places to visit and Lisbon’s must-see museums in our past guides, and this time we’re delving into the capital’s gastronomy. The country is known for its amazing culinary – and as food lovers, it was only natural our next Portuguese round-up was on our favourite dining spots in Lisbon. It was tough picking only five, believe us. From hidden gems to a couple of clichés, we’ve got you covered with some of the best of what the Portuguese food scene has to offer.
A traditional restaurant that remains a favourite over 50 years after it was founded, Cervejaria Ramiro is known for its exquisite and top-quality mariscos – or shellfish. The popular destination amongst both tourists and locals usually has a queue outside, but we can ensure you it’s worth the wait. The restaurant offers a wide variety of fresh seafood options – their speciality – served by the kilogram. Ranging from different kinds of prawns to lobsters and crabs, you’ll have a hard time choosing which one to choose! We definitely recommend the scarlet prawns and clams on garlic! Cervejaria Ramiro is a simple yet delicious food destination, which also doesn’t disappoint with their wine list.
A hidden gem in Alfama located a couple of minutes from the Santa Apolonia station, Taberna Sal Grosso is a small restaurant that serves traditional Portuguese dishes in a relaxed, amicable and loud environment – how a good taberna (or tavern in English) should be. It’s the ultimate unpretentious and no-frills restaurant that delivers great food and is renowned for it, as per the queues outside. The menu is constantly changing – you can check their options written on the blackboard in the best taberna style.
Cacué – a relatively new spot that opened in 2018 – has plenty of history and tradition. The space was previously called O Tomás for around 25 years and was cherished among locals – and this hasn’t changed a bit. The restaurant went through a makeover on its appearance but has maintained the great prices, quality and taste. They serve specials depending on the day of the week, like the Brazilian feijoada on Thursdays and authentic Portuguese dishes like the bacalhau à Brás (salt cod with potatoes and eggs) – which we highly recommend. Not to mention the açorda de gambas! To finish your meal on a high note, ask for the chocolate mousse, which is one of the best ones we’ve had! Cacué is another example of incredible Portuguese cuisine you can find in small restaurants off the beaten track.
From small tabernas to modern and spacious restaurants, Prado opened in 2017, providing organic and fresh produce. Their motto is if it’s not in season, it’s not on the table – in the best farm-to-table eating style. You can expect to taste the best of Portugal’s ingredients with a contemporary twist, like the blue lobster, parsley and kaffir lime on toast! As for their drinks menu, we couldn’t expect anything less than a wine list filled with organic and biodynamic options to pair with their seasonal creations. As if the exquisite and inventive dishes aren’t a good enough reason for you to pay a visit to Prado, their interiors are a must-see. The restaurant is housed in a former canned goods factory with high ceilings, plenty of natural light and plants hanging from the metallic structures – which add the cosy and stylish touch to this renovated space.
A recent addition to Lisbon’s food scene, SEM opened its doors a few months ago in Alfama. SEM means without in Portuguese, and the restaurant’s core idea is to produce zero waste – not only in the kitchen but in all aspects. Every part of their ingredients – be it a root, vegetable, or meat – is used, in the best regenerative and sustainable model possible. It’s needless to say all their produce is fresh, seasonal and ethically sourced, which means their menu is constantly changing according to what they get. SEM is both a restaurant and wine bar. In the restaurant you can marvel over their five-course tasting menu – the only option they offer – while in the wine bar you order small sharing plates to pair with the drinks. You can expect refined and exquisite dishes and an amazing gastro experience.
Are any of these your favourite spots, or will you be visiting any? Let us know!
By Manuela Rio Tinto