Your tickets are booked and you’re off to explore the Portuguese capital of Lisbon – you’re in for a treat! This is one of my favorite cities in Europe and someplace I can easily spend weeks at a time. One of the signature foods here is seafood, which makes sense as Portugal is bordered on two sides by the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea. Whether you’ve booked a Lisbon hotel in the heart of Belem or opted for somewhere a little more modern, eating well in the city happens everywhere!
Ready to hunt down some of the best seafood in the city?
I’ve put together five secrets to get you started!
A tasca is a traditional eatery. A bit like a restaurant and a bar. They’re very authentic serving traditional Portuguese dishes. Don’t expect fancy tables or a fancy setting. Do expect really good food and house wine. Some specialize in one or two things while others may have a more expansive menu. Seating can be communally or smaller tables. You should always ask what the specials of the day are; for what’s fresh and what’s more budget friendly! Also you’ll be given bread, if you eat it you’ll be charged if you don’t you won’t – but double check your bill!
Follow the Locals
Not such a huge secret when traveling but one you should abide by. I always watch to see where locals are going and chances are the more run down the location, the better the food inside is going to be. When we were last in Lisbon we went into one such restaurant and ordered off the menu. Then we saw our neighbors were eating this basket of the most amazing steamed and salted shrimp – we ordered that too for only 4€ more and wished we would have seen it first.
Cervejaria Ramiro has long been listed as one of the best seafood restaurants in Lisbon so it’s not really a secret but Nelson Carvalheiro my go-to guy for all things Portuguese food insists this place is much better. You won’t be waiting hours for a table and will instead be spending hours filling your face! Plus, they’ve got seafood on their menu you won’t find in most other Lisbon restaurants – I’d say that’s a win-win!
Market Mercado de Ribeira
Visiting food halls is always a good idea. Not only do you get to see what’s local and fresh but 9/10 times there are also small restaurants selling food. The good news? You can totally eat here! Come and see the seafood fresh and then take your pick; oysters, bacalao, octopus, shrimp and so much more. It’s a one stop shop – literally.
Santo Amaro Docks (DOCAS)
It makes sense that the best seafood might be near the docks right? This part of town has been gentrified of late and is an up and coming spot for shopping, bars, and restaurants. There are numerous places with all types of different offerings, but expect seafood to feature prominently. Take heart if you’re looking for rustic, old Lisbon charm – it isn’t here. This area, while built into the old warehouses, is more modern.
What are you waiting for? Get out there and eat!
Want more Lisbon inspiration? Check out these posts;
Finding Solace in Rural Portugal