Lisbon is fortunate. When it comes to food, this city has the best of both worlds: land, and sea.
As tourism grows in Lisbon, so does its culinary scene. Some restaurants like Ramiro remain the same as ever, others like Salmoura are reinterpreting traditional Portuguese food. And that seems to be happening more and more.
Photo Credit: you.me.and.food, Text Overlay: Devour Lisbon Food Tours
1. Salmoura: The Best Restaurant in Alfama
You can’t help feeling at home at Salmoura!
Amidst the touristy restaurants in Alfama, this one stands out for all the right reasons.
While you wait for a table, the staff will offer you some wine or their own craft beer, just like when you’re visiting a friend.
All the petiscos here are made with love. We really enjoyed their cuttlefish dish, but here’s the thing, the menu is always changing, so tomorrow you might find something else.
Stay until dessert, and you’ll probably end up sipping one of their homemade liquors.
Insider’s tip: The owners of Salmoura have another restaurant called Taberna Sal Grosso which is just as good.
2. Zé da Mouraria: To Share With Friends or Family
Unless you have a voracious appetite, don’t come to Zé da Mouraria on your own.
This restaurant is famous for its large food portions, but like many Lisbon restaurants, it’s all about the sharing.
The menu changes daily, and features the best of Portuguese food, from roasted codfish to a delicious steak.
While they have two restaurants in Lisbon, we still prefer the original one in Mouraria.
Insider’s Tip: Both restaurants are quite popular so make sure to book a table in advance.
3. Cantinho Lusitano: A Hidden Gem in Lisbon
Why choose only one dish, when you can try several at once? That’s what petiscos are for.
Cantinho Lusitano is a family-run restaurant that serves some of the best Portuguese petiscos in Lisbon.
Cantinho is a word that means a small cozy space, and Lusitano refers to the Lusitanians, a word that is often used to describe Portuguese people.
The menu features a variety of traditional dishes. We love their Pataniscas de Bacalhau (codfish fritters) and the Gambas ao Alho (garlic shrimp).
Insider’s tip: The space is small, so we recommend booking ahead.
4. Sala de Corte: For the Best Steak in Lisbon
If you’re after the best steak in Lisbon, look no further than Sala de Corte.
This steakhouse started off as a tiny restaurant behind the Mercado da Ribeira. Back then it was first-come, first served, but now they finally accept reservations. And you’ll need it because everyone wants a piece of their meat!
Right by the door, there’s a refrigerator featuring all kinds of beef cuts, from Sirloin to Chateaubriand. While having quality meat helps, the secret for the delicious steaks is also in the way they cook it. They use a Josper, which is a mix between a grill and an oven.
We suggest starting with the pica-pau, small loin strips with mustard sauce and then order the Chateaubriand.
5. Cervejaria Ramiro: Best Seafood Restaurant in Lisbon
Before Intendente became a trendy Lisbon neighborhood, locals would only go there for one thing—Cervejaria Ramiro.
This seafood paradise has been around since 1956, and although the crowds have changed, the quality remains the same.
Put the knife and fork away, this is not a fancy seafood restaurant, so go ahead and eat with your hands.
Our favorite dishes here are the Ameijôas à Bulhão Pato (clams with coriander sauce) and the Sapateira Recheada (fresh crab meat served in the shell).
Make sure to leave some room for the prego (steak sandwich)—that’s how a seafood meal ends in Portugal.
Insider’s tip: To avoid queues we recommend arriving before 7 p.m. or after 10 p.m. If you have to wait, you can always order a beer at the counter to pass the time.
6. Belcanto: A Michelin-Star Restaurant
In Italian Bel canto, means good singing. But in Lisbon, these two words come together to name one of the city’s Michelin-star restaurants.
If you feel like splurging on a meal, Belcanto is the place to go. It’s not easy to get a table here, but it’s worth it for the experience.
The menu features traditional Portuguese dishes with a modern twist, like the Cozido à Portuguesa (meat stew) and the Pudim Abade de Priscos, served here with a wasabi sorbet.
Chef José Avillez is behind this high-end restaurant, and you’ll probably hear a lot about him since he has several restaurants around the capital.
Insider’s tip: If you want to try Belcanto during your visit to Lisbon, we recommend calling a few months in advance to guarantee a table.
7. LOCO: For the Fine Dining Experience
Most restaurants hide their kitchen, but at LOCO, the kitchen is wide open so you can see the team assembling each dish.
Chef Alexandre Silva is the head of this Michelin-star restaurant, which offers one of the best fine dining experiences in Lisbon.
He calls each course a “moment”, and you’ll experience at least 18 of them during your visit. We’re not going to highlight one dish, since the menu changes with the seasons, but we guarantee you’re going to love it.
8. Dom Queijo: For Cheese Lovers
If you’re not a cheese fan, you might want to skip this one.
At Dom Queijo, every dish has one thing in common—cheese. This isn’t just a restaurant, it’s also a cheese shop.
The first thing you’ll see when you’ll walk in Dom Queijo is the display of cheeses. You might be familiar with French and Italian cheeses, but what about Portuguese cheeses? You can try them here!
From the starters to the main dish, there’s always a bit of cheese involved, but since they’re all different, you’ll never get tired of them.
We love their Mascarpone dessert with the Nannarella lime and mint ice cream. While most of the menu changes every week, this dish seems to be a constant feature.
Insider’s tip: There’s a lunch deal for €13 that includes the couvert, a main dish, and a drink. We recommend booking a table online before heading to the restaurant.
9. Ao 26 Vegan Food Project: A Veggie-Friendly Restaurant
A few years ago, it would be hard to get a vegetarian restaurant on this list, let along a vegan one. But trust us when we say that this is the best vegan restaurant in Lisbon.
Some say vegan food is bland, but that’s not the case here. The Bloody Beet burger was the first dish we tried, and it’s still our favorite. It’s made with beetroot, caramelized onion, and homemade pesto.
The burger comes with bolo do caco, a delicious sweet potato bread typical from the Madeira island.
If that’s not enough to convince you, they also have an Oreo and peanut tart for dessert.
Insider’s tip: The restaurant is quite popular, so try to book in advance!
10. Alcântara 50: For Portuguese Petiscos
This little restaurant in Alcântara specializes in Portuguese cuisine, specifically the petiscos.
You might be familiar with the Ameijôas à Bulhão Pato (clams with coriander sauce) or the Peixinhos da Horta (deep-fried green beans), but there are other petiscos you’ll struggle to find anywhere else in Lisbon.
Like the Punheta de Bacalhau, which literally translates as “codfish handjob,” but it’s just a seafood carpaccio made with raw codfish and onion.
A few petiscos should keep you full, but if you want to order a main dish, we suggest the Pataniscas de Bacalhau (codfish fritters) or the Polvinhos Assados (roasted octopus).
Are you coming to Lisbon?
Don’t waste a single meal—check out our ultimate foodie guide to
where to eat in Lisbon!
With so many great restaurants to choose from, navigating the Lisbon food scene can seem a bit overwhelming at first. Let us do the hard work for you—our Tastes & Traditions of Lisbon Tour includes stops at eight handpicked cafes, tascas, shops and more where you’ll start to understand what it really means to eat like a local.
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.