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Getting familiar with a new city and finding the best places to eat can be a daunting task. Determined to explore the city like the locals, we set out to taste Lisbon food, one neighborhood at a time.
Along the way, we stumbled onto Lisbon local restaurants using our own flair for finding authentic food experiences.
Recommendations from locals also guided us to some of the best traditional restaurants known for authentic Portuguese food.
We’re excited to share these 15 restaurants where you will find the best Lisbon restaurants where locals eat.
Map Of the Best Local Restaurants in Lisbon
On our first visit to Lisbon, Portugal’s capital and largest city with half a million inhabitants, we were unsure where to start.
Use this restaurant guide on your travels to the Portuguese capital for what and where to eat in Lisbon. Find also tips on where to stay, things to do and more.
Here are the 15 best local restaurants in Lisbon to try.
AUTHENTIC FOOD QUEST TIP: While in Lisbon, we stayed in the Penha Franca neighborhood. We loved the off the beaten path feel as well as the local immersion. To help you find the best areas to stay in Lisbon, check out this useful guide about where to stay in Lisbon.
1. Grelha do Carmo – Traditional Portuguese Grillhouse
When sightseeing in Lisbon, skip the other tourist traps in the city center and head to Grelha do Carmo.
This hidden gem looks unassuming, but serves great food at very affordable prices.
Grelha do Carmo, a cozy, tiny restaurant, is home to the best octopus in Lisbon. Locals and tourists alike rave about the grilled octopus or Polvo a Lagareiro.
It’s prepared with authentic Portuguese olive oil, onions, potatoes and cooked to perfection.
The main focus at this local Lisbon restaurant is seafood. You’ll get freshly caught grilled fish, bacalhau or cod cooked just right, sardines, mussels and other absolutely delicious traditional food.
Pair your grilled fish and seafood with local white wine for a traditional Portuguese experience.
Located near the Rossio station, this local restaurant is a perfect spot for lunch near the Carmo Convent ruins.
Don’t be put off by the unpretentious, “mom and pop” vibe of this restaurant. What it lacks in looks it more than makes up for with its cheap eats and warm, courteous staff.
Best Restaurant in Lisbon By Carmo Convent
Address: R. da Condessa 3A, Lisbon
Hours: Open every day: 12:00 pm–11:30 pm
Price: Main dishes start at €9 (approx. $9.20)
2. Carvoaria Jacto – Portuguese Steakhouse in Penha de França
Every evening on our way to our apartment in Penha de França, we walked by Carvoaria Jacto. It was always busy with locals.
We learned that this restaurant in Lisbon is known as a “steakhouse of excellence”, using the best local meats, cooked the Portuguese way.
You can choose beef, lamb, or pork, and the restaurant will prepare it perfectly for you. Besides the meats, you’ll also find a variety of fresh fish from the ocean. Salad is complimentary and the quality is excellent.
On our last night in Lisbon, we stopped in for dinner. Since we didn’t have reservations, we were led to a table in the middle of the already buzzing restaurant.
Claire chose to have bacalhau assado na brasa com batata a murro or roasted codfish prepared with potatoes. This was a Lisbon food we had been by locals not to miss.
Rosemary picked the pork ribs or costeletas de porco preto. These were perfectly cooked ribs, incredibly flavorful and very tender. Paired with a bold red wine from the Alentejo region, this was a wonderful culinary match.
For dessert, choose the Portuguese chocolate cake. It’s a dense cake with a gooey chocolate center, best savored in small bites.
For a typical Portuguese dinner at a Lisbon restaurant where locals eat, head to Carvoaria Jacto for their amazing meats.
Where to Eat in Lisbon Penha de França Neighborhood
Address: Rua Maria Andrade 6 B, Penha de França, Lisbon
Hours: Open Monday – Saturday, 12:00 pm to 10:00 pm
Price: Main dishes start around €10 (approx. $10,21)
Pro Tips: Reservations highly recommended. Huge portion sizes. Go hungry or plan to share.
AUTHENTIC FOOD QUEST TIP: If you are visiting Lisbon for a short time and would like to taste Portuguese traditional dishes we recommend taking a food tour. See our top 7 Lisbon food tours you want to try.
3. Canto da Atalaia – Fado and Lisbon Food in Barrio Alto
Have you heard of Fado? Fado is the soul of Portugal and its symbol. Fado, now on the Unesco list of cultural heritage, is a musical style originating in Alfama and Bairro Alto, Lisbon old neighborhoods.
Today, Lisbon visitors throng to listen to Fado, a music with melancholic tunes and lyrics. Ironically, it is now performed at well sought-out places, whereas originally you could only hear it at infamous bars where the city’s poor and sailors gathered.
At Canto da Atalaia, the local and intimate atmosphere stays true to the origin of Fado. Space is limited and tables shared. You go there to listen to Fado with a serving of petiscos and wine.
The night we went to Canto da Atalaia, a solo Fadita, or Fado woman singer, was accompanied by an acoustic guitar and the pear-shaped Portuguese guitar. We decided to go beyond the petiscos and try the Fado menu.
This simple menu included a starter, main dish, and dessert, as well as wine and coffee.
To start, we both had the hearty caldo verde soup. To follow, Rosemary had a grilled tuna dish with peppers, while I savored a classic Portuguese stew with peas, chorizo and a fried egg on top.
To finish, Rosemary had the pudding with the Ginja, Portuguese sweet cherry liquor, which we had earlier tried on Lisbon food tours.
And, I was in heaven with the marbled-looking chocolate salami dessert made with rich chocolate and crunchy Maria biscuits.
While simple, the dishes were tasty and full of flavor. The portions were reasonable and we were happy with the options presented.
If you want to listen to Fado, away from the tourist crowds, we recommend this local Lisbon restaurant, Mascote da Atalaia.
Best Restaurant in Lisbon To Listen To Fado
Address: Rua da Atalaia 13-15, Bairro Alto, Lisbon
Hours: Open Sun – Wed 6:00 pm to 2:00 am; Thurs – Sat 6:00 pm to 3:00 am
Price: Main dishes start at €12 (approx. $12.30)
Pro Tip: To guarantee a seat at this intimate local Lisbon restaurant, make reservations ahead of time. Listen to Fado all evening, while you enjoy the moderately priced menu at 25 euros (approx $29), wine and coffee included.
4. By The Wine – Petiscos in Chiado
The Portuguese have their own version of Spanish tapas, called petiscos. Like tapas, they are also small bites, but generally small versions of large plates. Petiscos are an important part of Portugal’s gastronomy.
Enjoyed in social settings, petiscos generally consist of sardines, codfish or bacalhau, local sausages, and regional cheeses, all washed down with delicious Portuguese wines.
One of the best Lisbon restaurants where locals eat Portuguese tapas is “By The Wine José Maria da Fonseca.”
Situated in the trendy Chiado neighborhood, this wine bar is the flagship store of the famous Portuguese wine maker José Maria da Fonseca.
Wine lovers will enjoy spectacular Portuguese wines from around the country.
To cure a little hunger one afternoon, we stopped in for petiscos. Accompanying two refreshing glasses of white and rosé wines, we savored a variety of local specialties.
The black pig Iberico ham and other cold meats paired perfectly with bread from Algarve. Many local cheeses are available as well as delicacies from the sea like salmon ceviche and mussel salad.
By The Wine in Lisbon is the best Lisbon local restaurant to sample Portugal’s famous petiscos.
Best Restaurant in Lisbon For Petiscos and Wine
Address: Rua das Flores 41- 43, Chiado, Lisbon
Hours: Open Tue-Sun: 12:00 pm – 12:00 am.
Price: Main dishes start at €9.5 (approx. $9.80)
Pro Tip: Local Lisbon restaurant with an inviting atmosphere and a wide selection of Portuguese wines. Try something new and ask the knowledgeable staff for recommendations on the local wines.
5. Floresta Das Escadinhas – Fresh Grilled Fish
One of the more popular seafood restaurants in Lisbon, Floresta Das Escadinhas is known for their fresh grilled fish and especially their sardines.
They offer lovely indoor seating, but you can also sit outside on the landing of the stairs between two buildings for a charming atmosphere.
Cooking on charcoal is the restaurant’s signature cooking style. Offering a limited menu, the traditional dishes are either fish or seafood on the grill as well as meat and sausages.
The sardines, grilled fish or squid, octopus and bacalhau or cod are especially fresh and tasty. Accompany the dishes are either potatoes or french fries and different salads.
The food is served on bright-colored dishes with a beautiful presentation in a cozy environment.
Service is outstanding at this family restaurant. It serves some of the best food in Lisbon so be sure to go early or make reservations.
This is one of the Lisbon restaurants people return to again and again.
Best Restaurant in Lisbon For Fresh Grilled Fish And Seafood
Address: Rua de Santa Justa 3, Lisbon
Hours: Every day except Sunday 12:00 pm – 3:30 pm
Price: Main dishes start at €9 (approx. $9.30)
6. A Grelha Marisqueira E Churrasqueira – Fish and Grilled Meat in Graça
The first indication that A Grelha was a local restaurant was the lack of a menu. There was nothing in English and only a slogan of the local beer and unrecognizable dishes written in large letters on the windows.
It was our first night in Lisbon when we discovered this no-frills restaurant. Intrigued by the buzzing environment and animated crowds sharing tables, we stepped in, feeling a little out of place in the very local environment.
However, the warmth and delectable scents of meat sizzling were an invitation to stay. Though it was the middle of the week, the tables were packed and it was clear this is where many Lisbon locals eat. We found a table right by the entrance.
This Lisbon restaurant specializes in fish and grilled meat. Once seated, the friendly waiter brought the menu and traditional couvert with bread, cheese, olives from the Alentejo region and homemade butter.
We chose one of the Portuguese food favorites to share. It was arroz de mariscos or seafood rice stew, a hearty dish for a cold January dinner.
In a large steaming bowl, was rice mixed with shrimp and clams in a light tomato-based sauce, sprinkled with cilantro.
Without hesitation, we joyfully slurped up the soupy tomato rice dish. A tasty food with fresh seafood and fragrant herbs, it’s a comforting dish for cooler nights.
Where to Eat Seafood in Lisbon Graça Neighborhood
Located on the top of the hill leading to the Graça neighborhood, this local restaurant in Lisbon is tucked away from the tourist attractions. Attached to the nearby Lisbon food market, Mercado de Sapadores, you’ll not miss the large glass windows with the Super Bock beer sign.
Address: Rua dos Sapadores 1, Graça, Lisbon
Hours: Open Wednesday – Monday; 12:00 pm to 11:00 pm, Closed on Tuesdays
Price: Main dishes start at €7.5 (approx. $7.70)
Pro Tip: In Portugal, you don’t have to pay for the couvert if you don’t eat it. However, this local restaurant had some of the best couvert we had in Portugal, with fresh bread and artisanal cheeses. So for this one, feel free to dig in.
7. Farol Restaurante – Beer Restaurant in Alfama
Walking back from the Museu do Azulejo, the national Portuguese tile museum, we struggled to find a Lisbon local restaurant open on a Sunday afternoon.
Luckily, we stumbled onto Farol restaurant near the Santa Apolonia train station in the Alfama neighborhood.
While restaurants near train stations are never the best choice, we were too tired to walk any further so we decided to give Farol a chance. It’s simple and traditional typical Portuguese atmosphere invited us to stay.
The bar counter occupies the main stage, with a few tables spread out in the length of the restaurant. There is also additional seating outside.
Looking for authentic Portuguese local cuisine, we were in luck as we perused the menu. From the sea, we chose two classic dishes. I ordered polvo a la lagareiro, a Portuguese seafood dish featuring octopus cooked “la lagareiro-style.”
This style of cooking includes boiled or baked potatoes that are smashed, salted, and tossed with seafood in olive oil with cilantro or other herbs.
The surprisingly tender octopus and flavorful potatoes made for a simple and tasty experience.
Rosemary, dreaming about grilled sardines, chose this typical Lisbon food. Simply prepared, the generous sardines were served with boiled potatoes.
Farol was a surprising local restaurant gem, with simple and tasty authentic Portuguese cuisine..
Where to Eat in Lisbon Alfama Neighborhood
Address: Rua Caminhos de Ferro 106, Alfama, Lisbon
Hours: Open Mon – Sun, 6:00 am – 12:00 am
Price: Main dishes start at €8.5 (approx. $8.70)
Pro Tip: The service can be slow. We went on a Sunday afternoon and were not rushed for time. If you are catching a train at the nearby station, plan for plenty of time in advance of your departure. Prices are slightly higher than at other Lisbon local restaurants, but we found the quality to be worth it. This is also a great spot to stop for a thirst quenching local Portuguese beer, like Super Bock.
8. Time Out Market – Mercado da Ribeira in Cais do Sodré
The Time Out Market in Lisbon has become one of the most visited and talked about culinary spots in the city. Since its opening in 2014, the food hall has attracted visitors and locals alike.
The canteen-like food hall has several stalls offering a variety of local, traditional Portuguese dishes, drinks, desserts and products. On one end are stalls from a few Michelin starred chefs representing different regions of the country. All around are dozens of stalls selling regional specialties.
In the interior of the large open dining room are communal tables, perfect for those eating in groups. Wines from different regions of Portugal as well as craft beers were also available in the center.
For a sample of the national cheeses and dry cured meats, visit the Manteigaria Silva food stall, the city’s best charcuterie store.
At chef Susana Felicidade’s stall, Cozinha da Felicidade, you’ll be treated to a creative adaptation of bacalhau, Portugal’s national dish.
Bacalhau com Natas, which is divinely prepared codfish with sweet potato chips and olives, will leave you wanting more.
The name of her stall means “Kitchen of Happiness,” and that is exactly how you feel as you savor the fresh, tender and delicate flavors.
Where to Eat in Cais do Sodré Neighborhood
Address: Av. 24 de Julho 49, Lisbon
Hours: Open everyday, 10:00 am to 12:00 pm
Price: Depending on the stall, prices range €3.50 – 50 (approx. $3.60 – $51)
Pro Tips: At the peak hours at lunch and dinner, finding a space to eat at the market can be challenging. Go during the off hours for a more relaxed experience.
9. Das Flores – Homemade Seasonal Stews
For simple, home-style, traditional food, Das Flores is one of the best local restaurants in Lisbon.
This small restaurant and former old grocery store, is known by locals to offer some of the best traditional Portuguese dishes.
You will need to look carefully to find it – there isn’t even a sign on the door!
Local and guest chefs have been known to frequent this local restaurant and describe it as one of their spots for cheap eats.
The ambiance is comfortable and casual. The portions are generous and prices are reasonable. We recommend their fresh seafood, pestiscos or homemade seasonal stews.
Regardless, it’s great food and whatever you choose will be absolutely delicious.
Das Flores is only open for lunch and is always busy, so make a reservation or be prepared to wait. They are often fully booked for the day by 11:00am.
Where to Eat in Lisbon Chiado Neighborhood
Address: Rua das Flores 76 78, Lisbon
Hours: Mon-Fri 12:00 pm –3:00 pm
Price: Main dishes start at €6 (approx. $6.20)
Tip: If the tables are full, ask to sit on the steps in the back room. It’s a perfect spot for people watching.
10. O Caldo Verde – Portuguese Favorites
When you’re ready for something other than fish, O Caldo Verde has some of the best steak in town.
The restaurant is mainly frequented by locals and its menu features a variety of traditional Portuguese food favorites.
While the star dishes are the Portuguese meat dishes, you’ll also find soups, grilled fish and seafood and more.
The portions, especially of the juicy steaks are enormous. Plan to share and try something else that’s local from the menu.
It’s a family-owned restaurant and the owner is very visible and attentive to all the details. It has a relaxed laid back atmosphere where you can take your time and savor popular traditional Portuguese flavors.
If you’re a meat eater, we recommend the Portuguese-style steak with garlic, the à Mirandesa. It’s a typical meat dish from northern Portugal where garlic and olive oil take the meat flavors to new heights.
Located on a narrow street in the Madragoa quarter in the heart of the Old Portugal district, the ambiance here can’t be beat.
Grab a table outside where you can watch them cook right in front of you on the BBQ on the street.
One of the best traditional restaurants in Lisbon, O Caldo Verde offers Portuguese home cooking at a good price in a welcoming atmosphere.
Where To Eat in Lisbon Santos Neighborhood
Address: Rua da Esperança 91, Lisbon
Hours: Tue-Sun 12:00 pm – 3:30 pm and 7:00 pm – 11:45 pm
Price: Meat dishes start at €7 (approx. $7.30) and fish dishes at 12.5 (approx. $13)
11. Ze Da Mouraria – Moorish Quarter Tavern
Ze da Mouraria is nestled within the narrow streets and small squares of the Moorish Quarter, also known as Mouraria.
This hidden gem is one of the best local restaurants in Lisbon. It’s a tasca or tavern and is part of the frew remaining tasca’s in the city.
At Ze Da Mouraria, you’ll find simple, traditional Portuguese dishes served in a bustling atmosphere.
The dining room is small and lined with Portuguese azulejos tiles. And, aromas from the open kitchen entice.
Located in one of Lisbon’s oldest neighborhoods, this authentic Portuguese restaurant is on a small side street near Praça Martim Moniz.
Mouraria is the birthplace of Fado music and portraits of famous Fado singers adorn the walls.
The communal tables are inviting and you’ll be rubbing shoulders with locals. The portions are massive – be aware that each dish could easily feed three to four people!
The Bacalhau in Minhota, a cod dish with caramelized onions and olives is a delight. And, the accompanying homemade crunchy fried potatoes are not to be missed.
For delicious and simple Portuguese food, this is one of the best local restaurants to eat in Lisbon.
Where To Eat in Lisbon Mouraria Neighborhood
Address: R. João do Outeiro 24, Lisbon
Hours: Mon – Thurs 12:00 pm – 4:00 pm, Fri – Sat 12:00 pm – 12:00 am
Price: Main dishes start at €16.5 (approx. $17)
12. Mercado de Campo de Ourique – Variety of Lisbon Restaurants Where Locals Eat
A short tram ride away from central Lisbon is the Campo de Ourique neighborhood, an area rarely visited by tourists.
This neighborhood is known to locals as a foodie haven, where new concepts are tested and launched.
In the core of the neighborhood is Mercado de Campo de Ourique, a food market with a variety of stalls selling fresh produce, fish and meats. Alongside are stalls serving Portuguese tapas, a variety of Portuguese dishes, drinks and more.
Petescaria – 2 à Esquina, located in the middle of the food hall, offers Portuguese modern cuisine in small bites.
Small dishes that can be eaten in a small frying pan, accompanied with bread are the main focus.
Expect to find good food and delights like mackerel, chorizo, farinheira (Portuguese sausages) and a variety of salads.
If you are willing to taste the flavors of Portugal, where most tourists don’t go, this historic market that opened in 1934 is a treat.
Where To Eat at Lisbon Food Market Campo de Ourique
Address: Rua Coelho da Rocha 104, Campo de Ourique, Lisbon
Hours: Open everyday: 10:00 am – 11:00 pm
Prices: Most dishes cost €4-14 (approx. $4-14)
13. Tasca Do Teimoso – Traditional Tavern in Principe Real
This spot reminds you what Portugal is all about: simple, fresh, delicious food made from quality ingredients in a warm, welcoming atmosphere.
A tasca or traditional tavern, this mother and son-run restaurant shines with authenticity.
Classic Portuguese dishes are on offer including a variety of delicious local Portuguese wines.
Get the menu of the day which features market fresh flavors cooked to perfection. At Tasca Do Teimoso, expect big flavors presented in an elegant manner.
The octopus or polvo a lagareiro and bacalhau dishes are worth making room for.
As well as a tasting menu of petiscos for bites of some of the best Portuguese food. For dessert, leave room for bolo de chocolate, a sinfully decadent chocolate cake.
The mother and son duo are welcoming and walking into this tiny restaurant is like an invitation into their home.
The son, who is the chef, is very intentional in his cooking and everything is prepared lovingly.
This local restaurant in Lisbon is everything you want in an authentic food experience: small, no-frills, inexpensive, welcoming and delicious.
Where To Eat in Lisbon Principe Real Neighborhood
Address: R. das Taipas Nº 41 A, Lisbon
Hours: Tue -Wed 12:00 pm – 3:30 pm; Thurs – Sat 12:00 pm – 3:30 pm and 8:00 pm – 10:30 pm
Price: Main dishes start at €5 (approx. $5.30)
14. Zé dos Cornos – Homemade Food
Zé dos Cornos is an old fashioned Portuguese tavern or tasca hidden in an alley between Rua da Madalena and Martim Moniz.
For many years, it was a charcoal factory and later became a tavern. It’s a family owned business and now one of the few remaining authentic taverns in Lisbon.
The cuisine is traditional Portuguese food like BBQ meats and fresh fish, homemade soups, desserts and more.
Like many local taverns that serve the best Portuguese food, Ze dos Cornos is small, with communal seating and a warm, homey atmosphere.
The grilled dishes are popular and the pork ribs are particularly exquisite. Save room for homemade dessert like queijadas pastries arroz doce and more.
The portions are large and you can count on great food at this authentic local Lisbon restaurant.
Where To Eat in Lisbon Baixa Neighborhood
Address: Beco dos Surradores 5, Lisbon
Hours: Tue-Thurs 12:00 pm – 4:00 pm; Wed-Sat 12:00 pm – 4:00 pm and 7:00 pm – 10:30 pm
Price: Main dishes start at €7 (approx. $7.30)
15. Fábrica de Pastéis de Belém – Iconic Portuguese Desserts in Belém
Pastéis de nata, or pastéis de Belém (Belém is the suburb of Lisbon where they were created) are egg custard tarts that were created by monks in a Belém pastry shop in 1837.
They are the most iconic and famous Portuguese dessert.
While you find pasteis de nata at almost every Pastelerias or pastry shop, a trip to the original Belém pastry shop is a must.
Made by Monks who were expelled during a revolution in 1820, they sold egg tarts was a way to make money.
Shortly, the pastries became very popular with local visitors after a small store attached to a sugar refinery started selling them.
Today, Fábrica de Pastéis de Belém has preserved the traditional recipe. So popular, the store bakes over 10,000 tarts per day for visitors seeking to taste this unique, traditional Portuguese food.
This is the only store that can sell these pastries under the name Pastel de Belém.
These egg custard tarts are puff like pastries made with lots of butter folded into the layers.
Small pie shells are filled with the egg custard preparation and then cooked in a very hot oven. Pastéis de natas are served warm with a strong cup of Portuguese coffee, called bica in Lisbon.
Fábrica de Pastéis de Belém is an unmissable stop for pasteis de nata in Lisbon.
Best Restaurant in Lisbon For Pasteis de Nata
Address: Rua de Belém 84 – 92, Lisbon
Hours: Open everyday: 8:00 am – 12:00 am
Price: Pastries prices start at €1.30 (approx. $1.32)
Lisbon has established itself as one of Europe’s hippest destinations. With a thriving tourist scene comes tourist trap restaurants and trendy food concepts.
Portuguese and Lisbon food is simple, flavorful and impeccably prepared. As you explore the city, savor the local flavors at the best local restaurants in Lisbon.
Eat like locals and with locals for authentic Portuguese food experiences. There nothing more heartwarming and sublime than immersing yourself into the local culinary culture.
Do you have a favorite place to eat authentic Portuguese food in Lisbon? What are your best local restaurants in Lisbon? Please let us know in the comments below.
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Claire is co-founder of Authentic Food Quest and a lover of simple and exquisite cuisine. Since 2015, with her partner, Rosemary, she has been traveling the world as a digital nomad, creating content about local food experiences.
Her advice from visiting 45 countries and more than 240 food cities has been featured in Lonely Planet, Business Insider, Honest Cooking, Food Insider, and Huffington Post. She has also co-authored three books, including one in collaboration with Costa Brava Tourism.
An ex-mechanical engineer, Claire is responsible for SEO, keeping the website running, and the fun food & travel videos on YouTube.
When Claire is not eating, she can be found running or cycling. Find out more about Authentic Food Quest