For a long time, Cais do Sodré was the meeting spot for sailors and prostitutes, but the tide has turned.
This Lisbon neighborhood always had a bohemian feel, and while the sailors have been replaced by tourists, Cais do Sodré remains as lively as ever.
In 2011, the main street was painted pink, giving it the nickname of Pink Street, or Rua Cor de Rosa, in Portuguese.
Still, a few places remain where you can party and dine in style. From seafood platters to quality steaks, and canned fish, this list includes the best restaurants Cais do Sodré has to offer.
1. Taberna Tosca: For the Portuguese Petiscos
Taberna Tosca is part of a new generation of tascas in Lisbon. Yes, the interior is more modern than most tascas, but deep down this is still a place to meet up with friends and share one or two petiscos.
Our favorite dishes here are the Choco Frito (fried cuttlefish) and the Pica-pau da Vazia (little beef chunks), but there are many other delicacies worth trying.
As for drinks, they have a great selection of Portuguese wines. If you can’t make up your mind, ask the staff for a recommendation.
2. Sala de Corte: The Best Steakhouse in Lisbon
You’ll struggle to find a better steak in Lisbon than the ones from Sala de Corte!
At first, the restaurant was in a small space behind the Mercado da Ribeira. Now it’s in a bigger venue that can host up to 100 people. Despite the enlargement, they never left Cais do Sodré.
They finally accept reservations, and there are more meat cuts available. From Sirloin to Entrecôte and Chateaubriand, it will be hard to choose just one.
Here’s a little tip: start with the pica-pau do lombo, and then share your favorite meat cut.
3. Optimista: Portuguese with Asian influences
Walk into Optimista, and the first thing you’ll notice is the unicorn on the wall. Her name is Pureza, and she’s the mascot of the restaurant.
While the unicorn attracts many passersby, it’s the delicious food that makes them return over and over again.
The menu features a series of Portuguese dishes with an Asian twist. Here at Devour Lisbon, we love their oxtail croquettes with the kimchi cabbage mayo and never miss out on their chocolate cake.
Insider’s tip: Before or after your meal, you can pop by Plataforma Revólver, an art gallery next door to the restaurant.
4. Sol e Pesca: Taste Portuguese Canned Fish
It’s easy to find grilled fish in Lisbon, but there’s another way to eat fish in Portugal, and that’s straight from a can.
The cans also decorate the restaurant’s walls. The good news is that you can buy them here and try them at home if you want.
5. Pesqueiro 25: For Seafood Lovers
Most people head to Pink Street for the nightlife, but we’re giving you another reason to go.
Hiding amidst all the bars and nightclubs, Pesqueiro 25 stands out as a seafood paradise.
The menu changes according to the seasons and what’s available on the market, but the focus is always the sea.
Like most seafood restaurants in Lisbon, you can count on the Camarão à Guilho (Garlic Shrimp), and the prego, the famous steak sandwich that locals eat at the end of a seafood meal.
We suggest bringing a couple of friends and ordering one of the seafood platters so you can sample a bit of everything.
6. Pistola y Corazón Taqueria: The Best Mexican in Lisbon
If there’s one place that is always busy in Cais do Sodré, it’s Pistola y Corazón.
Every day locals and tourists line up at this Mexican eatery for a taste of their tacos and margaritas.
Since it opened, the restaurant has become a Lisbon favorite, mostly because of its spicy meals, but also because of their friendly staff that welcomes you with a free batch of nachos every time you visit.
Insider’s tip: They have a lunch deal for €9 that includes a drink, one quesadilla, a coffee, and three tacos of your choice. They don’t accept reservations, so make sure to get there early.
Bonus: Time Out Market
Up until 2014, Mercado da Ribeira was just an ordinary market, selling fruits and vegetables to the local crowd. While it continues to do so, there’s a new reason to visit these days, and that’s its food hall.
Located in Cais do Sodré, this is one of the most popular food markets in Lisbon. Inside there are over 30 food stalls, all selling regional delicacies. Some even belong to famous local chefs.
Our favorite stalls here are Manteigaria, Chef Marlene Vieira, Tartar-la and Croqueteria.
Are you coming to Lisbon?
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Ready to explore Cais do Sodre? We’ll show you some of our favorite spots in this eclectic neighborhood on our Tastes & Traditions of Lisbon Tour. Come see (and taste) for yourself why it’s one of our favorite areas of town!
Joana is a Portuguese travel writer based in Lisbon. On her blog City Odes, she writes about the hidden gems of Portugal, fun road trips and train rides worth taking. When she’s not typing away on her laptop, you can find her drinking an IPA on one of Lisbon’s latest craft beer bars.