From holes in the wall to Michelin-caliber cuisine, these are the Lisbon’s best restaurants for seafood and fish.
Few things are better than a feast plucked straight from the sea. Any guidebook (and a vintage Parts Unknown) will point you toward Cervejaria Ramiro. It’s worth the hype—and the inevitable line of tourists waiting to get in proves that—but it’s not the only noteworthy spot for seafood in Lisbon. Here are some of the best seafood restaurants in Lisbon where you can find a more local vibe.
1. Páteo do Avillez
Portugal’s biggest star chef, José Avillez, seems to have a magic touch with anything he tries his hand at. The fish in the nautical-themed Páteo area of his multi-concept Bairro do Avillez restaurant is no exception. There are fine-dining renditions of all the usual shellfish classics (prawns with chili and garlic, bulhão pato clams). But be sure to save room for the very fresh grilled sea bass with creamy mashed potatoes.
2. O Palácio
Near the docklands of Alcântara, there are plenty of old-school, authentic cervejarias and marisqueiras (beer halls that serve excellent seafood for a low price). Since 1982, O Palácio has stood out for its exceptionally fresh selection of prawns, clams, lobster, barnacles and whatever else is perfectly in season. Expect to get messy.
While Cervejaria Pinóquio is in the touristy area of Restauradores, it fills with a lively mix of locals and visitors most nights. They share platters of fresh shellfish, elegantly cooked whole fish and Portuguese specialties like seafood rice and lobster açorda (garlicky bread stew). The outdoor seating area is a prime spot for people watching.
4. Aqui Há Peixe
The name, which translates as “there’s fish here,” sells Aqui Há Peixe short. The fish isn’t just any fish. It’s some of the freshest in town. Longtime chef Miguel Reino buys it himself each morning from local markets. Then his cooking mostly gets out of the way. It’s hard to go wrong with with any of the fish or seafood dishes, but the cataplana (seafood cooked in a copper pot) and carabineiros à Miguel (giant red prawns with Reino’s special secret sauce) are standouts.
5. Peixaria da Esquina
The seafood restaurant from Vitor Sobral, Hugo Nascimento and Luis Espadana, Peixaria da Esquina showcases the same high-quality cooking as its older sibling, Tasca da Esquina. But don’t let the names fool you. These are hardly ordinary corner restaurants. Here the menu is divided into five main categories: classics (like octopus carpaccio), marinated, cured, petiscos (typical Portuguese shared plates), and grilled and braised. It’s uniformly delicious.
6. Cervejaria Liberdade
While the dining room is nowhere near as rustic as Ramiro, the new seafood restaurant at the five-star Tivoli Avenida Liberdade hotel stays true to cervejaria-style flavors. A long counter displays the goods: gooseneck barnacles from the Berlenga Islands, Algarve prawns, mini lobsters from Cascais and Aveiro Lagoon oysters. For the business lunchers who want something more international, the chefs also make sushi and ceviche.
7. Sea Me Peixaria Moderna
Perhaps best known for the octopus hot dog at its Mercado da Ribeira location, the contemporary Sea Me doesn’t take itself too seriously. The cooking is part typical Portuguese and part Japanese influences. The quality, though, is serious, as seen in the big display of fresh fish and seafood in the dining room in the Chiado.
A local institution for nearly 80 years, Gambrinus has hosted dozens of national and international personalities, artists and politicians. The vibe is old-world and comfortable, with the last renovation completed in 1964. Likewise, the cuisine includes throwbacks such as turbot in court-bouillon (aromatic broth), and traditional fish stew.
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Ann Abel came to Lisbon on assignment for Forbes in 2016 and fell in love with the quality of life, fantastic light, endless sunshine, friendly people and, of course, the delectable food and wine. When not eating her way through the capital (and coasts) she travels and writes for Conde Nast Traveller, Departures, Afar, Robb Report and other publications.