Discovering Lisbon's Food Scene

8th Dec 2013
Photo of Discovering Lisbon's Food Scene 1/7 by Nelson Carvalheiro
Skate at Belcanto Restaurant
Photo of Discovering Lisbon's Food Scene 2/7 by Nelson Carvalheiro
Street dinning at Bairro Alto
Photo of Discovering Lisbon's Food Scene 3/7 by Nelson Carvalheiro
Dried cod at 100 Maneiras
Photo of Discovering Lisbon's Food Scene 4/7 by Nelson Carvalheiro
Terrace view at Park
Photo of Discovering Lisbon's Food Scene 5/7 by Nelson Carvalheiro
River front snacking at Cais da Pedra
Photo of Discovering Lisbon's Food Scene 6/7 by Nelson Carvalheiro
Seafood Heaven at Ramiro
Photo of Discovering Lisbon's Food Scene 7/7 by Nelson Carvalheiro
Portuguese food at Ponto Final

Lisbon's food scene is on the rise, and as a dedicated food lover, I am sharing my preffered markets, eateries and watering holes.

Once called the “Ocean Capital of the Western World”, Lisbon has a very interesting array of architectural and cultural influences mixed with a very vibrant Southern European feel. A young generation of artists, cultural entrepreneurs, restaurateurs and business owners are taking back the Roman, Moorish, Medieval and 18th Century city maze, converting it into a boutique little city by the ocean, where locals and visitors can enjoy the best of Portuguese Good Life!

Simply put, Ramiro is the best seafood restaurant in Lisbon. It is 100% local customer based and long established “Cervejaria” (literally translated to place where beer is dispensed), with a buzzing ambience and delectable seafood cooked on the spot. What I love most about this place is its unpretentiousness and “no fuss” approach to seafood.
Photo of Cervejaria Ramiro, Lisbon, Portugal by Nelson Carvalheiro
Without question the best restaurant in Lisbon, Belcanto serves elaborate contemporary Portuguese cuisine. You should save it for your last night in town as you’ll want to remember this experience for a very long time! Chef José Avillez kick started a much needed revolution in contemporary Portuguese cuisine, when he presented bold Portuguese flavors in his dishes at Belcanto, granting him yet another Michelin Star just a few months from the opening.
Photo of Restaurante Belcanto, Largo de São Carlos, Lisbon, Portugal by Nelson Carvalheiro
The name does justice to the location of this restaurant, as it is literally at the end of the river walk on the other side of the Tagus. Here the food is all about deep traditional Portuguese home cooking flavors, so the must-have starters are the salt cod with chick peas, the escabeche sardines which are served with very candid Alentejo bread.
Photo of Restaurante Ponto Final (cacilhas), Rua Ginjal, Almada, Portugal by Nelson Carvalheiro
What I like about this place is that it stays true to the country’s snack food heritage and also matches it with an extensive selection of Portuguese wines. Wines by the glass range from 4€ to 100€ and plenty more if you like and can’t pass on the opportunity to taste a 130 year old port. Particularly I am a huge fan of Green wine and tried an alvarinho and loureiro grape selection wines that the owner recommended, together with some cured cheese from Serra da Estrela and some Portuguese water bread. Everything was excellent, the wine, the food. The owners are very professional and friendly. I recommend it to all lovers of good wine, good charcuterie, good cheese and good bread.
Photo of Wine Bar do Castelo, Rua Bartolomeu de Gusmão, Lisbon, Portugal by Nelson Carvalheiro
Chef Ljubomir Stanisic’s restaurant is highly regarded and his tasting menu which is eight courses accompanied by Portuguese wines is a great way to sample things you might not try otherwise. Here again you’ll find excellent versions of the “prego” – done this time with salmon instead of steak and avocado wrapped in pita bread – and the dehydrated salt cod (which is presented here hanging on a line). My favorite dish here is the seared lamb tenderloin with nuts and a red wine reduction but basically anything coming out of this tiny kitchen is well worth a taste. It has a fixed tasting menu entirely inspired by Portuguese cuisine, and the best value-for-money restaurant in town – 8 small, unpretentious courses for 45€ per person! Get the wine pairing with it, so you have a short (but broad) perspective of Portuguese Wines.
Photo of Restaurante 100 Maneiras, Rua do Teixeira, Lisbon, Portugal by Nelson Carvalheiro