How to eat like a local in Lisbon? Aside from the architecture, the views, and the history, one of the best things about Lisbon is the food.
One of the best ways to immerse yourself in the city is to eat where the locals eat. You might need to venture off the beaten path a bit, and this article will show you where locals like to eat in Lisbon.
As Bifanas do Afonso
Rua da Madalena, 146
As Bifanas do Afonso is located near the Elevador do Castelo. See my article Lisbon’s secret elevators – free shortcuts to the hilltops
Open Monday – Friday from 7:30 AM until 9 PM. Saturday from 7 AM until 1 PM. Closed on Sundays.
It is said that you cannot find a better bifana (pork sandwich) than this. And the lines out front all day, every day, back that up.
A Casa da India
Rua do Loreto, 49
Located near the Ascensor da Bica funicular.
The name of this restaurant suggests Indian cuisine, but instead, it is traditional Portuguese fare.
The last time I ate there, I had grilled rabbit, salad, french fries, and a glass of red wine for under 20€.
Avenida Almirante Reis, 117
on the water at Cais do Sodré at Rua da Cintura da Porta de Lisboa
and on the water in Belém at Avenida Brasília, Edifício Espelho d’Água building
Open from noon until midnight.
With more than 95 years in business, this brewery is well known for its beer, rump steaks, and croquets.
The original location on Avenida Almirante Reis has arched windows and lots of azulejo tile.
If you prefer, there is also a riverfront beerhall just a bit west of the Cais do Sodré metro station.
Cervejaria o Trevo (Cafes Tova)
On one of the busiest corners in Lisbon – the intersection at Largo Luís de Camões, this place is always busy. It’s not fine dining, but if you want coffee and breakfast for less than 3€, this is the place.
You could have an egg plate with french fries, a bifana, a cod cake, or a beer. It’s going to be hard to spend more than 5€ here unless you are really putting away the beers.
Even though it is in a very touristy neighborhood, the place is always packed with locals. They will be happy to serve you, too. Just be sure to speak up as soon as the person behind the counter makes eye contact, or they will be off to take someone else’s order.
Marisqueira do Lis
Avenue almirante Reis, 27B
Located right in front of the Intendente metro station (green line)
T: 351 218 850 739
I very much enjoy this large and busy seafood house. It doesn’t have the fame of Ramiros Seafood up the street, but there’s less of a wait and prices might be slightly lower.
One of my favorite items on the menu is Caracois (tiny river snails). If you’re willing to spend more money you can pick your own lobster out of the tank.
A Merendinha do Arco
Rua dos Sapateiros, 230
Open Monday – Friday from noon until 8 PM, Open Saturday from noon until 3 PM, closed Sundays.
Merendinha do Arco is filled with locals, and they serve traditional Portuguese food at a good price. The restaurant is located just south from Praça da Figueira in the Baixa neighborhood. Cross the street, walk under the small arch, and turn to your left.
My last meal there was caldo verde – a traditional soup made with kale and sausage, a perfectly grilled seabass with potatoes and salad, and a half jar of red wine. I paid 18€.
Travessa do Forno, 11
Open from noon until 3:30 PM and serving dinner from 7 PM until 10 PM. Closed on Sunday.
O Marques has indoor and outdoor seating. The interior has an Elétrico Tram motif, and they display many old photos of Lisbon. There are also two large TVs in the dining room.
The most expensive item on the menu is steak with eggs and bacon for 12€.
I chose the Prato do Dia (the daily special) for 8.50€. I had grilled chicken breast fillets, french fries, and rice.
If you are feeling more adventurous, you can try chanfana. Chanfana is a goat dish.
Travessa do Forno 23 -25
Open 8 AM to 11 PM. On Monday, they open at 7 AM. On Saturday, they close at 10 PM.
Closed on Sunday.
From Igreja de São Domingos church, head down Lisbon’s restaurant row – Rua das Portas de Santo Antão. Take the first left onto this little alley – Travessa do Forno.
A Provinciana fits all of the criteria of a locals’ restaurant: No one was speaking in English, and there was a line out the door ten minutes before the restaurant opened for lunch.
Even though they weren’t serving food yet, they would pour their loyal customers a beer to enjoy while they waited for the restaurant to open.
The menu do dia has plenty of meat and fish options. There were three different cod dishes, grilled mackeral, salmon, cuttlefish, sardines, pork, steak, omelettes, steak and eggs together (In Portuguese that is called a bitoque). The most expensive main dish was 7.95€.
Last time I was there, I chose bacalhau a largareiro – baked cod in olive oil with potatoes. It was a very filling meal. I also had one of the small bottles of house wine, and a bottle of water. That came to 10.75€
Largo da Graça, 95-96
Lunch from noon until 3:30
Dinner from 7 PM until 10:15 PM
Closed Saturdays. Closed Sunday dinner.
O Pitéu serves traditional Portuguese Meat and fish dishes. The average price is €15.
Tasco do Vigário
Rua do Vigário, 18, São Estevão
Open Monday – Saturday from 11 AM until 11:30 PM. The kitchen closes at 10 PM. Closed on Sundays.
Serving traditional Portuguese meat and seafood. The most expensive item on the menu – a mixed seafood plate is 15€.
How to know if you are eating where Lisbon’s locals eat
Do they keep European hours? You might have heard that European restaurants generally don’t open for lunch until 1 PM, and dinner starts at 7 PM at the earliest.
While that is generally true, there are exceptions. Some local spots are open to feed the working man whenever he can get there.
Is the menu in English, French, and Spanish? It’s often said that this is clear indicator that they cater to tourists – and it often is an indicator of a tourist trap but, some of these guys are savvy businessmen and they want your business too, even though locals are their bread and butter.
Here’s how you know if you are eating at locals’ spot in Lisbon. Can you answer yes to most of these?
Are you the only one in the place that doesn’t speak Portuguese?
Is the restaurant full? Or is there a line in front?
Is the restaurant closed on Sunday?
Is it cheap?
Are you getting good value for your money? You have found a local place.
Prices and schedules may change, as I am not affiliated with any of these businesses. Thank you for reading “How to eat like a local in Lisbon.”