by Mary Lussiana and Destination Expert, The Telegraph, November 20, 2018
The Lisbon food scene has undergone an enormous change within the last few years and continues to boom, with restaurants launching fast and furious. An influential wave of young local chefs, such as Henrique Sá Pessoa and of course the legendary Jose Avillez, have remained loyal to the culture of the Portuguese table whilst reimagining it afresh, drawing on the endless bounty from the sea and coastline, the mountains, plains and vineyards. International chefs, such as acclaimed Peruvian Diogo Muñoz, have arrived too, offering diversity on a previously almost uniquely Portuguese platform. But dining out here is not merely about fashion or trends – food is held in high regard by 'lisboetas' and eating out is a necessity rather than a luxury. Just make sure you book a table.
Feitoria is found right on the banks of the River Tagus in historical Belém, where the great Portuguese explorers set sail. This gourmet restaurant pays homage to the spices found on those journeys, weaving them through the menu. Chef João Rodrigues, holder of a Michelin star here since 2011, creates a rich tapestry of Portuguese flavours from the oysters with carolino rice, burnt samphire and seaweed to the earthy pigeon, chestnut, wild mushrooms, fois gras and truffle. Wine pairing is expertly done with little known gems from around the country. A Nanban panel at the entrance, clad in gold leaf, sets the tone.
Contact: 00 351 210 400 208; restaurantefeitoria.com
Opening times: Tues-Sat, 7.30pm-11pm
This warm and welcoming restaurant has simple interiors of stone floors, wooden tables and vaulted stone arches, all illuminated by bronze lamps. In the open kitchen you will find Henrique Sá Pessoa, who won his first Michelin star here in 2017. Low ceilings and the intimate atmosphere allow you to concentrate on the plates which lay the culinary soul of Portugal before you. Menus range from a five-course 'coast to coast' option inspired by the sea to a tasting menu of Sá Pessoa’s favourite dishes. From the former, don't miss the steamed Azores parrot fish with bulhão pato (clam rice) and codium.
Contact: 00 351 213 470 650; almalisboa.pt
Opening times: Tues-Sun, 12.30pm-3.30pm, 7pm-11pm
This gastro-bar is a favourite in the Jose Avillez empire. It's housed in an old theatre, perfectly suited to the culinary tricks employed here. The Ferrero Rocher is not what it seems, the ceviche of Algarve prawns comes served on a wedge of lime, and the green apple caipirinhas are eaten not drunk. Expect an informal atmosphere with affordable prices and friendly staff that ensure you have a really fun evening out. Menus are divided into 'Acts', tasting menus are entitled 'Now On', the bar serves a selection of craft beers, cocktails and wines, and on Fridays and Saturdays there is a live DJ.
Contact: 00 351 21 130 53 93; minibar.pt
Opening times: Daily, 7pm-1am
Cantina Peruana burst onto the food scene in late 2017 thanks to Diogo Muñoz, the first Peruvian chef to open up a restaurant here. He did so with the help of his buddy Jose Avillez, who made room for the sensational food and memorable pisco bar in his buzzy Bairro do Avillez (a collection of restaurants under one roof). The sharing menu explores the diversity of Peruvian cuisine, from the sea with tiradito (fish) to the mountains with choclo (corn) to Lima’s favourite streetfood, anticucho, which here was rich, tender pork, glazed with a ginger and red shiso sauce for a Japanese-Peruvian twist.
Contact: 00 351 215 842 002; cantinaperuana.pt
Opening times: Daily, 7pm-12pm; lunch Sat-Sun and holidays, 12.30pm-3pm
Cais do Sodré
Confraria, Time Out Market
The Time Out Market opened in 2014, inside the city's former food market hall which had been going since 1892. Now a major foodie destination, stalls around the hall under the splendid oriental dome allow the public to try dishes from many well known chefs, that otherwise might be out of budget. Confraria does Lisbon’s best sushi with a trademark fusion style that was honed at its restaurant in Cascais. Here, order as much as you can eat from the gyozas and the hot Philadelphias (salmon, breaded shrimps and cream cheese) to the uramaki and tataki. It's all too good to miss.
Contact: 00 351 213 951 274; timeoutmarket.com
Opening times: Sun-Wed, 10am-12am; Thurs-Sat, 10am-2am
Reservations: Walk-ins only
Ibo is housed in a former salt warehouse right on the banks of the River Tagus, and the menu pays tribute to the cuisine of Mozambique, once a Portuguese colony. The contemporary interiors are clad in white, blue and purple, and dishes such as crab and mango salad, Goan-style samosas, kid chacuti (goat stew), grilled tiger prawns with piri-piri sauce and crab curry display the interweaving of Portuguese gastronomy with the flavours of Mozambique, as well as influences from another former Portuguese colony, Goa. Don’t miss the fish loins in coconut and coriander sauce with sweet potato and cassava purée.
Contact: 00 351 213 423 611; ibo-restaurant.pt
Opening times: Tues-Fri, 12.30pm-3pm, 19.30pm-11pm; Sat, 12.30pm-3.30pm, 7.30pm-1am;Sun, 12.30pm-3.30pm
Best table: By the large windows, watching the boats pass on the River Tagus.
Avenida da Liberdade
The fashionable restaurant Je Ne Sais Quoi, as it is pronounced, has pride of place on the corner of the capital’s main avenue, with an elegant classical façade topped by a cupola dome. In the basement is the debut of macaron masters Ladurée and a deli bar with fresh oysters, caviar, truffled salami and cocktails. The restaurant is on the ground floor, where a large velociraptor model is the centrepiece of the mirrored and marbled room. It's a prime people watching spot. Order the Iberian pork with rosemary, garlic and chilli or the memorable lobster au gratin and dip into the excellent Portuguese wine list.
Contact: 00 351 219 369 900; jncquoi.com
Opening times: 12pm-12am
This much loved restaurant is famous for its fresh seafood and has been going strong for more than 70 years, as its tiled interiors bear witness to, offering an authentic glimpse of a Lisbon of yesteryear. The neighbourhood is named after the Moors who were allowed to live here after the Christian re-conquest of Lisbon in 1147. Step through the doors and you will see giant aquariums with spider crabs, rock lobster and tiger prawns. But start with the house pata negra (smoked ham) or a plate of garlicky clams or goose barnacles and finish with the delicious azeitão cheese.
Address: 1 Avenida Almirante Reis
Contact: 00 351 218 851 024
Opening times: Tues-Sun, 12pm-12.30am
In Lisbon’s latest up-and-coming neighbourhood, where streets are lined with faded 19th-century palaces, you can’t miss buzzy A Cevicharia. The doors are always open onto the street, revealing a giant sponge octopus hanging from the ceiling, and a crowd is always milling outside, waiting for a table. Chef Kiko Martins has crafted a short but very sweet menu: highlights include a Portuguese-inspired ceviche, which uses codfish with a chickpea purée, and the potato causa which mixes avocado purée with potatoes in black cuttlefish ink. Leave room for the dulche de leche finale.
Contact: 00 351 218 038 815; facebook.com/ACevicheriaChefKiko
Opening times: Daily, 12pm-12am
Reservations: Walk-ins only
On top of one of Lisbon’s hills, buried in the courtyard of the Torel Palace Hotel, you'll find this hidden gem of a restaurant. Stairs lead down to contemporary interiors which strike the same confident note as the dishes which positively dance out of the kitchen. Bold, innovative flavours draw on the memories and travels of chef Bernardo Agrela, whose passion for his job is tangible on the plate. Try the tiny buns of oxtail with pickles and caramel, a sweet and sour delight, or the scallops with curry and tapioca, and trust the brilliant sommelier with the wine pairing.
Contact: 00 351 218 298 071; cave23.pt
Opening times: Tues-Sat, 8pm-11pm
This article was written by Mary Lussiana and Destination Expert from The Telegraph and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to [email protected]