Travel the world at the table, without leaving Lisbon
Portuguese food is probably the best in the world, say the Portuguese themselves, as well as other Europeans and travelers from far away. But as much as you like the food from around here, it’s great to diversify and experience the typical cuisine of other countries.
Lisbon today is a cosmopolitan city, with a huge offer of restaurants that serve international food. Without leaving the capital, it’s completely feasible to go around the world and travel through different cultures and histories, visiting restaurants from places such as Armenia, Israel, Brazil or Morocco.
Argentina: Café Buenos Aires
Café Buenos Aires is a small restaurant with a captivating atmosphere and full of personality. It lies there on the stairs that rise from Rossio to Bairro Alto and its interior quickly draws attention by its warm, reddish colors. In the summer it’s very worthwhile to have a meal in the esplanade, the view to Castelo de São Jorge is magnificent.
The best thing to ask (and which makes the most sense) is undoubtedly the steak. The famous Argentine meat is tasty and never disappoints.
Address: Calçada do Duque, 31B (Chiado)
Hours: every day from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m.
Tip: Take cash, there’s no ATM.
Last year, Georgia’s first restaurant in Lisbon was opened. Irina Prokudina met the Portuguese capital on a trip she made with her parents as a child, and was in love with the landscape and gastronomy. Visiting Portugal began to be regular and eventually she came here to live and brought with her the best of Georgian cuisine.
The restaurant has a very inviting indoor terrace, worth visiting on sunny days. The doses are very well served, so it’s worth it to go accompanied. A number of typical dishes that you can’t miss are available, such as Khachapuri (hot tart in the oven), kharcho (soup) and khinkali (spicy dumplings).
A cake service for events is also available.
Address: Rua Luciano Cordeiro, 46ª (Pena)
Hours: Every day from 1 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Tip: Go on a sunny day to enjoy the esplanade well.
In the heart of Lisbon we find a place where we travel to Vienna, the Austrian capital. It’s a classic of Chiado that doesn’t go unnoticed, with the cozy terrace (it even has blankets) and its interior decoration linked to cinema, theater and concerts.
It’s an ideal place to go as a family or with friends to try some Austrian snacks, the famous sausage or the inevitable (and fantastic) apple strudel. If you go alone you can order a glass of wine and calmly read the newspapers that are available to customers, to the sound of the chill out music they usually have.
Address: Rua da Anchieta, 3 (Chiado)
Hours: Monday from 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Tuesday to Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 12 a.m., Sunday and public holidays from 9:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Tip: Take the time to read the newspapers/ magazines available.
Belgium: Café Belga
It was in Mouraria, one of the most typical and multicultural neighborhoods of Lisbon, that Miguel Durieu Avellar installed his Café Belga. This architect, the son of a Belgian mother, intended to create a relaxed place, typical of his country of origin.
Here, French fries are eaten with everything, and they’re the highlight dish. It seems that the secret is how they’re cooked, because cow lard is used according to Belgian rules. You can have a couple of chips with beef steak, beef stew with beer, or if you prefer, there’s vegetable pie too. There are also fantastic desserts such as Belgian chocolate mousse and a huge variety of Belgian beer.
Address: Largo das Olarias, 37 (Mouraria)
Hours: Sunday to Thursday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 12 a.m.
Tip: Go to the bathroom and notice the mirror.
Brazil: Comida de Santo
The oldest Brazilian restaurant in Lisbon was born from a Portuguese passion for the culture and gastronomy of this country. In this place it’s as if we’re somewhere far away, in lands of the Northeast Brazilian. It’s the menu that proves that Brazil has much more to offer than the well-known rodízios, it’s the background music and all the typical decoration, that make this place at Príncipe Real so interesting.
Here great doses of sun-dried meat, feijoada, vatapá, moqueca or casquinha de sir are served, watered by some beautiful caipirinhas. To finish, there had to be the quindim or the cachaça ice cream.
Address: Calçada Engenheiro Miguel Pais, 39 (Príncipe Real)
Hours: From Wednesday to Monday from 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., and from 7:30 p.m. to 12 a.m.
Tip: You can also order to take away.
The first Armenian restaurant in Portugal is located in Lisbon, close to the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, where thousands of pieces gathered by an inhabitant of that same country can be found.
Armenia is an Asian country, very mountainous, with a rich millenary culture. Very close to its border, lies an extinct volcanic massif where Noah's Ark has run aground after the flood. This massif is called Mount Ararat and it named the restaurant. The menu is very varied from lavash bread, chicken soup, cold salads, meat sausages, veal rolls on wooden leaves, typical lamb or the pakhlava dessert.
Address: Avenida Conde Valbom, 70 (Praça de Espanha)
Hours: Every day from 12 p.m. to 12 a.m.
Tip: Take a good look at the huge carpet on the wall.
Iranian Pooneh Niakian opened in Praça das Flores a restaurant with typical dishes from her native country, where she lived only the first years of her life. After graduating with a degree in architecture, she worked in several restaurants, where she began to enjoy cooking. She then decided to open her own and prepare Iranian dishes to the people of Lisbon.
All the food is very rich in spices, from the dried fruits for starter, to the soup, the humus, the roasted eggplant and the wonderful dessert called “bolo de amor persa” (Persian love cake).
Address: Praça das Flores, 40 (Príncipe Real)
Hours: From Wednesday to Monday from 12:30 p.m. to 12:00 a.m.
Tip: Go on a hot day to enjoy the esplanade.
Elad and Itamar are an Israeli couple who lived in a fishing village in Israel, named Tantura. When they got married they came to Portugal for their honeymoon and fell in love with the capital. Since then, they’ve visited it other times and on one of them they ended up staying and opening a restaurant named after their homeland. In this place there’s Israeli food, with strong influences from countries such as Tunisia, Iraq, Poland and Romania, where the parents of the couple came from.
Here we can try various types of humus with pita bread, the shakshuka (fried eggs in homemade tomato sauce), various snacks such as falafel or borrecas (puff pastries), the famous pita bread, various vegetables and well-spiced salads and desserts such as halva (a mixture of sesame seeds with honey and vanilla) or malabi (milk pudding).
Address: Rua da Trombeta, 1D (Bairro Alto)
Hours: From Tuesday to Sunday from 6:30 p.m. to 12:00 a.m.
Tip: On the front page of the menu you can read the story of the restaurant.
The idea of opening a Syrian restaurant in Lisbon came from a group of refugees who are mostly from that country and want to show the typical gastronomy of their homeland. The place is simple, with a large long table to encourage the sharing of the Middle East snacks. Hence, the name Mezze, a dish to share.
The opening of this place is linked to Projeto Pão a Pão, which aims to help Syrian women and young refugees and immigrants in local communities through the cuisine. In addition to contact with regional cuisine (such as humus, falafel or moussaka), there are also dance or traditional music workshops that anyone can attend.
Address: Rua Ângela Pinto, 46A (Mercado de Arroios)
Hours: From Tuesday to Saturday from 12:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. and from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Tip: Make a reservation.
Marrocco: A Flor da Laranja
In one of the best known streets of Bairro Alto, we find a place of warm colors that quickly draws attention. It’s a small, welcoming and comfortable place that transports us to the North of Africa.
Rabea is the owner and the responsible for all the service of the place, she’s the one who welcomes the customers, prepares the dishes and serves them to the table. Since 2004 it’s possible to taste the wonderful pastilla, the traditional soup harira, the tagines or the typical couscous. To finish the meal it’s possible to choose desserts such as the red berries crepe or a divine orange.
There’s also music and belly dancing on some days of the week.
Address: Rua da Rosa, 206 (Bairro Alto)
Hours: From Tuesday to Sunday from 6:30 p.m. to 12:00 a.m.
Tip: Make a reservation.
Fotografias da autoria da Catarina.
*Imagem de destaque: autor desconhecido.
Sobre a Catarina
Catarina left her stable career as a consultant to make traveling and writing her profession. She’s passionate about seeing the world and has a huge curiosity about finding out what’s behind what she sees when she travels. You can follow her through the blogue or Instagram, with the certainty that you’ll be delighted with what she shares.