Whether you’re celebrating with family or friends—or with or without bacalhau—head to one of these restaurants open for Christmas in Lisbon for an unforgettable holiday meal.
In Portugal, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day meals are still a family affair. But today, there’s not as much need to spend hours selecting the perfect piece of salted cod weeks before even stepping into the kitchen to cook the holiday meal. Here are some of the best restaurants open on Christmas Day and Christmas Eve in Lisbon where you can have the family meal experience instead.
Where to Eat in Lisbon on Christmas Eve
Every year, Flor-de-Lis, the restaurant at Hotel Epic Sana Lisboa, prepares a special Christmas Eve buffet menu with typical Portuguese Christmas dishes. Codfish with sautéed vegetables is followed by traditional Christmas sweets like sonhos, coscoroes, or bolo rei.
If codfish is not your ideal Christmas dish, opt for the more international options available, like sushi and sashimi. However, we do recommend you stick to the traditional Portuguese Christmas dessert. Ask any local, and they’ll tell you that there’s nothing more Christmassy than the scent of deep-fried dough sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon.
The restaurant at the Corinthia Hotel in Lisbon, Erva, focuses on serving the best seasonal and organic ingredients from the best local producers around. And they keep that same philosophy when creating the special menu for Christmas Eve dinner.
There’s usually a variation of one or two staple Christmas ingredients, codfish and lamb, cooked with a contemporary twist. It’s a reinvention of a classic Christmas for certified foodies. As for the dessert, they always include one traditional seasonal sweet.
Cafetaria Mensagem, the laid-back, casual restaurant at design hotel Altis Belém Hotel & Spa, is perfect for Christmas Eve dinner. Because the most important part of the meal is the conversation you share with family and friends, the resident chef keeps the Christmas menu itself simple. For the main dish, there’s codfish confit or lamb. For dessert, there’s simply rabanada—similar to French toast, this is the quintessential Christmas sweet treat.
After dinner, take a stroll by the Tagus River and take in the almost-deserted city and the Christmas decorations.
Where to Eat in Lisbon on Christmas Day
What’s the best way to recover from a Christmas Eve feast? Well, with a Christmas Day brunch, of course—and preferably in an out-of-the-ordinary atmosphere.
The special menu at Maxime Restaurante doesn’t include alcoholic drinks, but it does include all the mouthwatering, typical Portuguese dishes you’re entitled to. Save the detox for the new year. It’s Christmas, after all!
While the decision between roasted octopus or turkey might be a hard one to make, choosing dessert is as simple as sampling them all. Save some room for all the deep-fried goodies you can handle.
Rua do Benformoso (Martim Moniz)
Rua do Benformoso is the street that connects Martim Moniz to Largo do Intendente. It’s probably the most culturally diverse street in Lisbon, in the heart of a neighborhood that is already a symbol of multiculturalism in the city.
Finding a restaurant on Christmas Day in Lisbon that is open and is not part of a hotel could be a challenge. Perusing Rua do Benformoso might be your best shot if you don’t mind having to choose between Indian, Bangladeshi, Chinese or Vietnamese cuisine. If you don’t feel like browsing, head to Spice Hut Tandoori for giant portions and a hearty Indian meal.
Clube do Bacalhau
In case you feel you didn’t have enough bacalhau the day before—or you prefer lamb, octopus, or turkey for Christmas Eve dinner—head to Clube do Bacalhau for a contemporary Christmas Day meal with a homemade feel.
Tucked away in a side street in Cais do Sodré and set inside a centuries-old former salt warehouse, this restaurant also doubles as a cultural association. The art pieces hanging on the walls are part décor, part exhibition.Want our insider’s guide to eating in Lisbon? Just add your email address in the form below!
Sandra Henriques is a freelance web content writer and travel blogger born in the Azores and based in Lisbon for 20+ years. Since 2014 she’s been blogging about travel, culture, and the people she meets in between at Tripper, a blog on sustainable cultural tourism.