The Portuguese capital offers mouthwatering morsels on every street corner, from fresh fish to custard cakes. With so much choice of culinary delights and cool restaurants, the hardest choice is where to start. For the local insider tips, here’s our guide to Eating in Lisbon on a Budget.
Eating in Lisbon on a Budget
The Portuguese say there are 365 ways to cook cod, which is one for every day of the year, so expect to see a lot of bacalhau on the menu in Lisbon! With influences from the Mediterranean and lots of fresh seafood from the Atlantic, Portugal has a diet with plenty of olive oil, garlic, grilled meats and fish. Along with the salted cod and grilled sardines, you’ll find lots of octopus and squid along with shellfish stews. There is also plenty for vegetarians with lots of rice and beans, especially with Brazilian bean dish feijoada now on lots of menus in Lisbon. Tuck in and enjoy!
Food you have to try in Lisbon
This nation loves its seafood, and none more than cod. While in Lisbon you have to try some codfish recipe, or bacalhau – preferably grilled: Bacalhau à brás. Another signature dish is smoked or grilled sardines, but this is more of a summer delicacy – look out for sardinhas assadas com batatas a murro on the menu.
If you like grilled meats or seafood then you’re in for a treat, as Lisbon has plenty of classic “Tascas” where the grilling is professional and the environment is relaxed. This the best place to experience the Portuguese ambience and they’re usually great value.
The Portuguese also love pastries and cakes – you will see plenty of delicious bakeries around town with bolo de arroz and bola de Berlin. Pastéis de nata are rich custard tarts, with egg or cream base depending on the town, and they are ubiquitous in Lisbon. If you visit Belem you have to try the famous ones there.
Where to Eat in Lisbon
A great place to some good grilled meat and the most amazing bean rice ever is Tasca Zé dos Cornos – try the Entrecosto com arroz de feijão. Here you can get a great meal for under 10 euros, between Martim Moniz and Mouraria.
If you’re up for some stone cooked meat then try O Cabaças. It’s a typical steak restaurant where you are given your steak on a hot stone to cook it at the table yourself. So you can choose if you like it rare or well done! They’re located in the Bairro Hotel and it’s very reasonably priced.
For something a little more trendy try the Taberna Portuguesa. It’s a good starting point for the evening as it’s near plenty of bars and has a menu of tapas and pestiscos along with classic dishes with a twist.
For groups and traditional cheap Portuguese food in the Alfama area, try Santa Rita. They take bookings and have lots of classic Portuguese dishes at great prices!
Another great restaurant for typical Portuguese food and a good choice for lunch is the Restaurante Glória right by the hostel!
Another traditional Portuguese cuisine is typical food from Mozambique, with an African twist! Try O cantinho do Aziz for delicious prawn and crab curry, cachupa (a meat and corn stew) and some great desserts. The prices are reasonable and they have a nice terrace to enjoy your coconut rice. Don’t miss out on their great desserts too!
For a good family style neighbourhood restaurant we recommend O Cardoso da Estrela d’ouro in the Graça district. They have good staples such as grilled meats and fish at good prices – try their bitoque!
For fresh seafood we recommend Cervejaria Ramiro – it’s known for the best seafood in Lisbon, and a favourite of super chef Anthony Bourdain. This is the high end of a budget price but outstanding food. They don’t accept bookings so you have to arrive early and it gets busy very quickly. It’s in the neighbourhood of Martim Moniz.
We hope you enjoyed Eating in Lisbon on a Budget!