Coming to Portugal soon and want to eat like a local? Follow our tips and discover the Lisbon restaurants where locals eat.
You could jump into any restaurant, but we’re going off the beaten path to experience the authentic local cuisine. From grilled fish to barbecued chicken, we’ll show you where and what to eat in the Portuguese capital. So, avoid the tourist traps and join us on this culinary tour of Lisbon.
1. Casa do Alentejo
Food isn’t the only thing that draws locals to Casa do Alentejo. At first sight, it seems like an ordinary building, but trust us, you’ll want to go inside. This former casino venue makes us feel like we’re in a Morrocan riad, yet it’s hiding right in the heart of Lisbon. There are two restaurants inside, both serving traditional dishes from the Alentejo region. For a light meal, visit the small tavern on the ground floor and try the farinheira (typical pork sausage) on bread. You can get bigger meals at the restaurant upstairs. We here at Devour Lisbon love the carne de porco à alentejana (grilled pork with clams). And, of course, you have to try the Alentejo wine!
Address: Rua das Portas de Santo Antão 58
2. Zé da Mouraria
They say it takes two to tango, well it takes just as many, if not more, to eat the massive food portions that come out of Zé da Mouraria’s kitchen. Tucked away in Mouraria, the home of Fado music, this restaurant is one of our favorite spots in Lisbon. Here, you can taste authentic Portuguese food served in huge steel pots. The restaurant is only open for lunch and always offers a choice of meat and fish. From fresh cuttlefish to pepper steak, the menu varies every day, but the quality is guaranteed. Oh, and if you can’t manage to eat it all, do as the locals do, and ask for a takeaway box.
Insider’s Tip: Make sure to arrive early to get a seat or book in advance, to avoid the wait. There’s also a Zé da Mouraria 2 (Rua Gomes Freire 60), which is open for dinner.
Address: Rua João do Outeiro 24
3. Taberna Anti-Dantas
Taberna Anti-Dantas is close enough to the city center but still hidden for most tourists. This small tavern serves traditional Portuguese dishes with a twist. As you sit down, you’ll see waiters rushing around with a big piece of bread. There’s a fish soup inside! They also have their own version of pastéis de nata (custard tarts), with a codfish filling. We recommend the Polvo à Aljezur, delicious octopus served with sweet potato.
Insider’s Tip: Stay for dessert and order the shots, so you can taste Port wine poured in an edible chocolate cup.
Address: Rua São José 196
4. Bruta Flor
Let’s be honest, Portuguese food is not the most veggie-friendly. Bruta Flor is here to change that.
This family-run restaurant serves delicious vegetarian meals that appeal to the local crowd. Once a typography house, the space has been converted into a cozy dining area. On the menu, there are biological wines, veggie, and vegan snacks. The highlight, however, are the freshly baked cakes, so make sure to save some room!
Insider’s Tip: Occasionally they host live gigs, so check their Facebook page before you go.
Address: Largo Severa 7A
5. Restaurante Primavera
Londoners have their curry, New Yorkers have their pizza. For Portuguese, it’s all about the takeaway chicken. In Lisbon, you’ll find at least one takeaway per neighborhood. We love the Restaurante Primavera in Arroios, a local’s favorite. They offer two options: the traditional barbecue chicken and the chicken on a spit, both equally delicious. You can sit down at the restaurant, but we recommend the takeaway experience—that’s how locals do it.
Insider’s Tip: Bring cash, they don’t accept cards.
Address: Rua Morais Soares 101
6. Último Porto
Locals-in-the-know head to Último Porto for a taste of grilled fish. Finding the restaurant is an adventure on its own, as it hides among shipping containers. Don’t lose hope though, the smell of grilled fish will get you there in the end. They cook the fish on the coal which makes the skin super crispy. We recommend getting the grouper or the sea bass. The restaurant is only open for lunch so make sure to get there early. If the weather allows, you can grab a seat outside and enjoy the river view!
Insider’s Tip: To find the restaurant walk down Rua Cintura Porto Lisboa, turn left and then head straight to the end of the dock.
Address: Rua General Gomes Araújo 1
These are just a few ideas to get you started, but if you want to discover more favorite local spots in Lisbon, join us on our Tastes & Traditions of Lisbon Tour. We’ll take you inside the family-run places that real Lisboetas know and love, some of which have been going strong for 100+ years!
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.