Photo by: iStock
Where to Eat in Lisbon
Lisbon is a city where the gastronomy scene booms, with few parallels compared to the rest of Europe right now. A new flow of immigrants and a horde of tourists (slowly trickling back at the tail end of the pandemic) have helped the city develop its culinary scene very quickly. With restaurants finally reopen, Lisbon is an excellent destination for those seeking to eat well.
Arkhe's Instagram Profile
In a large and elegant building with plant-covered walls, Arkhe wants to prove that vegetarian food can also be fine dining. For this, chef João Alves invests in accurate preparations and high-quality vegetables to conceive dishes such as peas and fava bean with white bean cream and a umeboshi vinaigrette, or a delicious gnocchi with parmesan fonduta and nasturtium pesto. Meanwhile, in the room, front-of-house manager and sommelier Alejandro Chávarro pampers his guests with an exclusive list of natural wines and other bottles that he collects from around the world.
BouBou's nstagram Profile
In this contemporary bistro, a French brother and sister make every effort to serve their international clientele in the Principe Real neighbourhood: he is in charge of the room; she oversees the kitchen. Chef Louise Bourrat is only 26 years old, but has worked with prominent names in gastronomy such as Alain Ducasse and Tom Sellers, and has lived in Peru, Colombia, Thailand, and India. In her all-female kitchen, she prepares creations with all these influences and only seasonal produce (oysters, mussels and organic vegetables), but without letting go of her roots, bien sûr.
Courtesy of Eleven
German chef Joachim Koerper helped pave the way for foreign cooks who made their names in the Portuguese food scene — many of them with great accolades. He arrived in Lisbon in the early 2000s (after years living in the country's interior) when the city was still opening to gastronomy. One year after opening Eleven, he won the first Michelin star in the city. Koerper’s new menu is a celebration of his 50-year career, from his upbringing in Germany to stints in other countries such as Switzerland and Spain. Although the main inspiration is the chef's path around the world (from eisbein, the pork knee from his homeland, to mullet from the Spanish coast), Portuguese ingredients are present throughout the 5-course menu.
Feitoria's Instagram Profile
Chef João Rodrigues helped unveil Portuguese ingredients with his Projecto Matéria, a trailblazing initiative in which he travels the country to learn what farmers and producers are doing, both on the land and in the sea. Back at his Michelin-starred kitchen in Belém, he combines high-calibre techniques and a rare sensibility to conceive a tasting menu that highlights the very best of a Portugal he knows like few others. In addition, Feitoria relies on attentive service in the dining room and a warm, welcoming atmosphere.
Fogo's Instagram Profile
Chef Alexandre Silva (from Michelin-starred Loco) opened this restaurant just before the pandemic to serve a type of cuisine that speaks to his heart: ingredients cooked directly in embers and fire. His open kitchen is at the end of a dark room with fiery lights, where Portuguese seafood, fish, meat and vegetables (even some desserts) are cooked over a collection of open flames. The result is dishes with lightly smoked flavours and lavish textures, something only a skilled chef can achieve with diverse techniques, ranging between grills, open flames, and iron pots.
O Frade's Instagram Profile
From a small U-shaped counter in charming Belém, this restaurant serves comfort food focused on simple Alentejo food, with haute cuisine techniques. Chef Carlos Afonso prepares everyday Portuguese staples (such as coelho de coentrada, cold rabbit meat with coriander sauce, and empadas, a snack pie with different fillings) with a chefy approach — and a modern twist. His cousin and partner, Sérgio Frade, pours the liquids: ask him for the amphora wine his family produces in Alentejo. It is best paired with the unmissable duck-rice interpretation.
Monkey Mash's Instagram Profile
It's a win-win: you come for the cocktails, but you stay (longer) for the food. Recently redecorated, this vibrant and warm bar is in the hands of the most talented Portuguese cocktail group. The dishes are created to pair with the drinks — not the opposite. While you sip innovative and zero-waste signature cocktails (made with avocado pits, banana bark, and other curious ingredients), you can taste well-prepared snacks, like the mushroom quesadillas with Portuguese cheese and the pan-fried Iberian pork katsu sando. If the idea is to ‘raise the bar’ cocktail-wise, climb the stairs to access Red Frog, their classy flagship speakeasy, which recently reopened after a one-year hiatus.
Plano's Instagram Profile
The restaurant is part of a hotel located in Graça, in a 19th-century building that hides a jewel: a green yard with an orchard and a pool, where chef Vítor Adão often cooks on warmer days, preparing his dishes over an open fire for guests sitting at picnic tables. On other days, he returns to the indoor kitchen to serve traditional Portuguese dishes - and those from his home region of Trás-os-Montes - with a modern approach. His creations encompass squid with escabeche and spinach pesto, head cheese with tartar sauce and carrot pickle, and scarlet prawn with tomato cream and coriander oil.
Prado's Instagram Profile
Young chef Antonio Galapito brought a more cosmopolitan aura to the city since he opened this laid-back restaurant in the Baixa neighbourhood. In a modern and airy room, he serves dishes focused on national ingredients but with worldwide references. As a cook always plugged into what is happening in the food world, his creations are minimalist, but rich in texture and flavour, such as the blue lobster toast with parsley and kaffir lime, or the turbot tartare served in a shiso leaf. The wine list has a great selection of Portuguese natural producers. More recently, he opened Prado Mercearia just a few steps away to serve more casual all-day food and also some groceries from all over the country.
Taberna do Calhau
Taberna do Calhau's Instagram Profile
Architect-turned-chef Leopoldo Garcia Calhau opened his small taberna (a Portuguese homey restaurant) in the multicultural Mouraria region to serve no-frills, hearty dishes and a good selection of Portuguese wines. It’s a casual place with marble-topped tables and a cozy feel to taste traditional dishes with a twist, such as the Alentejano croissant, filled with scrambled eggs and truffles; his version of cabeça de xara (pig’s head cheese); and red shrimp with prawns and lupine. Calhau also runs Bla Bla Glu Glu, a cozy wine bar just next door.