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Sep 17, 2010 01:27 PM

Lisbon, in which neighbourhood should we stay?

Calling to Vinhotinto, tjdnewyork and other chowhound members,

I have been reading your post re: neighbourhood and have a few questions, please. I realized this is not purely about food/restaurants but it is related...!

Vinhotinto, you said in your June 12th post there are some pockets along Anjos that should be avoided. We are looking at two places, one on Francisco Sanches, the other on Rua da Penha de Franca.
Of the two, which one is better is terms of neighbourhood, accessibility to buses, metros, and good restaurants and shops?
We stayed in Principe real last time we were in Lisbon for a long week end, and just love that neighbourhood!

tjdnewyork, you mentioned having found some thing in Graca. I googled travessa da arochella but could not find any thing.
Would you please help with the apartment web site?

All other suggestions welcome!

thank you all

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  1. @ Rieu

    Any place along Anjos will be convenient to the metro since that is the heart of the green line which runs from Cais do Sodré to Telheiras. There are plenty little shops, cafés, and pastelarias in that area, yet I'm not sure I would want to stay in that particular area as it is rather unexciting and can be a bit dicey in the late evening with a collection of pushers, junkies, and other street activity. A coworker of mine recently moved away from the area due to the nuisance of late night and sometimes day time activity in the environs.

    The area along Avenida Almirante Reis between Anjos and Intendente can be rather odd and is the worst section. While Lisbon is one of the safest European capitals, it has some pockets that should be avoided including the aforementioned area.

    Still, from a gastronomical sense, most of the food establishments along the corridor are rather pedestrian and prosaic. However, right at the beginning of Almirante Reis near Martim Moniz are quirky immigrant shops, markets, and small restaurants.; particularly in and near the Centro Comercial Mouraria (Praça Martim Moniz).

    I can see why you would enjoy Principe Real, yet also want to experience a different slice of Lisboa, however I think from a food and safety sense, an area like Graça or Lapa would ideal. Lapa is very traditional, yet chic, and has a plethora of cafés, restaurants, markets, and such. Graça is VERY traditional and also has some of my favorite places to eat and walk. Still, neither is very convenient for the metro. Buses and trams do pass along both places. You could look "uptown" near Saldanha, but I find that area rather sterile to be honest. Some areas worth considering, although not too far from Principe Real and the Bairro Alto would be Assembleia and São Bento.

    I live in Lisboa, so please feel free to let me know if you have any questions food or city-related.

    Boa Sorte!

    19 Replies
    1. re: vinhotinto75

      Hello vinhotinto,

      Many thanks for your help.
      I am looking at other accommodations n ow and shall get back with you as soon as I have them narrowed down.
      I guess Baixa and Rossio would be too noisy, and Parque Nar... too far away from the centre?
      BTW, I guess it's no longer the season for caracois?

      have a great day!

      1. re: rieu

        @ Rieu

        I'm not very fond of the Parque das Nações/Expo area, however many local families love going to the restaurants, bars, and the large shopping mall in the area. It is well served by the metro and buses, but it just isn't a part of Lisboa that I enjoy. Still, if you haven't been there, you could always go for a walk along the river for an hour just to contrast it with other areas of the city. I have a friend who bought a place there during the building explosion of the late 1990s and she comments that she doesn't feel like she lives in Lisboa.

        Yes, Rossio will be rather noisy, yet very convenient for shopping, public transport, and some of the famous cafes like Nicola, Suiça, and Confeitaria Nacional. Depending on where you are in the Baixa, there might be some decent options, but some noisy ones as well.

        Yes, sadly the first week of September is generally the cut-off for Caracóis. If you are ever back in the Summer, you should go to O Filho do Menino Júlio dos Caracóis!

        Keep me posted!


        1. re: vinhotinto75

          Hello vinhotinto,

          I am very pleased to report that we have found an accommodation in the Principe Real area. We like that part of Lisboa, and as we have already stayed there, this should make things easier, even though I would not mind trying Sao Bento or Lapa!

          Re: O Filho do Menino Julio dos Caracois, do you still recommend it for Bacalhau or cabrito?

          Also, where can we try/find good Leitao, please.
          When I have more time this evening I shall go back to the links you posted re:neighbourhoods and restaurants

          I would appreciate any recs in the Algarve, we are going to Lagos, Evora, Sintra and Coimbra.

          Thank you very much for your help. I am glad I saw your posts otherwise we would have chose the Anjos area!
          Have a great day

          1. re: rieu

            @ Rieu

            I'm glad to hear that you have settled on Principe Real. Regarding O Filho do Menino Júlio dos Caracóis, I wouldn't really go there for either Bacalhau or Cabrito since the main specialty is Caracóis.

            Maybe the best option for Leitão Assado would be Restaurante Tertúlia do Paço which is even open for lunch on Sunday's:


            Since you are going to Coimbra, you will be better off trying Cabrito in that area. One place that you MUST try, especially for Cabrito, is A Taberna. They make cabrito in the oven and chanfana in red wine that is simply divine. The Vitela a Lafões is spectacular too. They also offer multiple sides with each meal and the wine list is quite good and attractively priced. If you reserve online, you can get a free glass of port afterwards! When I'm in Coimbra, I usually have lunch AND dinner there.


            There have been tons of recommendations here on Évora that me and some others have given over the past year, so I would check the archives. Some reliable places are Dom Joaquim, O Fialho, and Tasquinha do Oliveira; however there are many others too.

            I think Monchique would be the one that could give the best references about the Algarve.

            Please let me know if you have ANY questions about Lisboa.

            Boa Sorte!

            1. re: vinhotinto75


              I just read the Thank you message that Caroline sent you.
              I took a look at their website, and we shall definitely try Assinatura!
              Thank you for your suggestions re:Leitao
              Shall read the archives for Evora, and Coimbra as well as your other recs for Lisboa.
              Thanks again for your generous offer to help.
              Shall get back to you with more questions.

              1. re: vinhotinto75

                Thank you Vinhotinto for making me part of this :o)

                The best suckling pig (leitão) in Portugal is eaten in only one place called Mealhada, just North of Coimbra in road side restaurants, and washed down with the local Bairrada sparkling red wine. Pedro dos leitões, O Rei dos Leitões, Rui dos Leitões, etc... see:

                How long will you be staying in Lagos and where? My favorite restaurant is outside town on Meia praia and is called "Vivendo". In town: "Dom Sebastião" is always good. If time allows, go to Sagres (restaurant "Mar a Vista") and avoid the Pousada...
                Then up the West coast to Aljezur and restaurant "Gabriel".
                Happy to help with details of the area.

                1. re: monchique


                  So nice to hear from you as, per vinhotinto's suggestions, I have been reading your posts re"Algarve" and have already planned to visit all the restaurants you recommended. We are inclined to try Gabriel although that means a late arrival in Evora (?)
                  Lagos: 5 days. We shall be in the Meia praia area, Albardeira I believe. Hope it's not too far to walk to town.
                  Sagres: yes, definitely as we would like to go to Cabo St Vicente too. Should we have lunch at Mar a Vista in Sagres or should we go to Cabo St Vicente. Any good restaurant there?
                  How far is Gabriel from Lagos? Am just wondering perhaps we could plan to go there one day and go to Vale Figueira after lunch?
                  Also, I am looking for a romantic place for lunch or dinner around Lagos.
                  Any recs. please?
                  We are planning on going to Coimbra by train from Lisbon. Is Mealhalda accessible by cars only?
                  Overall, it does not have to be fancy. We have got plenty of "fancy" over here in Paris, and that does not always mean "good" .We are looking for "authentic" (well as much as it's possible), traditional fares
                  Thank you for your help
                  Have a great day!

                  1. re: rieu

                    What I would do if I were you would be to visit Cape St Vincent in the morning, and have a leisurly lunch in Sagres on your way back. As far as I know theer is nothing at the Cape in the way of food... Dinner in Lagos or Meia Praia (BTW Lagos is not really within walking distance of Meia Praia, at least not for me.

                    Gabriel you should do another day and enjoy the West coast: Aljezur is roughly 1/2 hour drive from Lagos, slightly less. So if you feel like it, go to Praia da Figueira in the morning (don't know in what state the track to the beach is nowadays), then have lunch in Gabriel, and after lunch take the scenic route from Aljezur towards Monchique and come back to Lagos via Senhora do Verde or Monchique. But you don't want to go to Gabriel before driving to Evora (opposite direction!). Romantic in Meia Praia: Vivendo, I mentionned in my ealier post.

                    Mealhada is definitly a car job... They must hav atrain station, and you could taxi, but I think Coimbra is a better bet to find your "leitão a Bairrada"

                    Some more ideas for restaurants at

                    One final word: It is an exception in the Algarve, but be careful at night in Lagos, this is druggie's turf. Stay on well lit streets and frequented areas. Same in Lisbon!

                    Enjoy your trip!

                    1. re: monchique

                      @ Rieu:

                      I just got an email from a friend who lives in Coimbra, and she recommended a restaurant called O Porquinho if you wanted to try Leitão while in Coimbra instead of going to Mealhada.


                      Also, if you are taking the train from Lisboa to Coimbra, make sure you get off at the proper station since Coimbra has two stops.


                      1. re: vinhotinto75


                        Many thanks for your help! If we do go by train, then oporquinho it will be!

                        I read a post inquiring about Paul Laureano wine.
                        Sounds like a good wine to try.
                        Where can we buy it? Also, what are your recs re:portugal wine, please.
                        What do you think of Lisboa A Noite. I did a search and found mixed reviews!
                        I shall have to find time to finish reading your links re:neigbourhood and food.

                        1. re: rieu


                          About Lisboa A Noite, I just read your "correspondence" with willowan in May 2010, so please disregard that question!
                          Although you had explained the different wines/regions, I still would appreciate some more specific recs please i.e. names, vineyards, etc.
                          Many thanks!

                          1. re: rieu

                            @ Rieu

                            Lisboa à Noite generally has excellent food, service, and a good wine list. Still, I would recommend a few places before going there; yet, I must confess that I've never had a bad meal there. They are owned and managed by the same family that runs the also good Sinal Vermelho (adjacent to each other), however they tend to be geared towards different clientele. Both restaurants are excellent when they are "on."

                            There are ubiquitous wine shops throughout Lisboa and you should definitely go to ViniPortugal in the newly remodelled Praço do Comércio. Each month they feature three different wine regions throughout Portugal and you can taste 4 wines each time (full pours) for free.

                            If you let me know the types of wine that you enjoy (varietals, body, regions) I might be able to indicate some regions and producers for you to try while in Portugal.

                            Since Paulo Laureano's wines come from Alentejo, they will be easy to find when you are in Évora. Nonetheless, here are some shops in Lisboa that carry a fantastic array of wines and should carry wines from all regions and price-levels. Most of these have locations in the Baixa.

                            Garrafeira Nacional


                            Manuel Tavares, Lda - Praça da Figueira

                            Garrafeira Campo de Ourique

                            Coisas do Arco do Vinho - Belém

                            Wine O'Clock - Modern Hip Shop in Lisboa

                            In Évora:
                            Saberes e Sabores do Alentejo

                            You should also visit the Comissão Vitivinícola Regional Alentejana while in Évora as you will be able to do some wine tasting, visit wineries, and purchase wines too.


                            Boa Sorte!

                            1. re: vinhotinto75


                              Many thanks to you for your time and effort to help.

                              I am not very well versed in the wines produced in Portugal. Just have fond memories of some very good wine from the Douro region the last time we were in Lisbon (just a week end)
                              Let's just say we like full bodied wine, and tend to prefer dry white wine to the sweeter variety; but when it's hot we do enjoy a Vinho Verde (which probably will not be the case in October? high temperatures, I mean)

                              Restaurants wise, which ones would you recommend in preference to Lisboa A Noite?

                              About transportation, I looked at the web site. I understand the daily pass is at 3 Euro 75.
                              Is there a weekly pass?

                              As I have some time tonight, I am going to read through other posts just to 'wet my appetite"!

                              Thank you very much for your kind help.
                              Have a great week end!

                              PS: vinhotinto75,

                              I just read your reply to kmt, so now have a list of "upscale restaurants".
                              Forgot to ask where we can go for good sardines, bacalhau and cabrito, in Lisbon!

                              1. re: rieu

                                @ Rieu

                                For full bodied Red Wines, the best regions to follow would indeed be those of Douro and Alentejo. Some Dão and Bairrada (also known as Beiras) might also apply too!

                                I have nothing against Lisboa à Noite as the menu does represent all facets and regions of Portuguese cuisine, however on the high end I do prefer:

                                Clara Chiado
                                Restaurante Largo

                                Regarding simple dishes such as bacalhau, sardinhas, e cabrito? My one recommendation for Cabrito would be the Restaurante Esquina da Fé on the Rua da Fé in São José which is rather hidden. They usually feature the dish on Fridays. For bacalhau, some suggestions might be João do Grão which is along the Rua dos Correeiros. While the neighboring places might seem touristy, this place has indeed been there for almost (or more) than a century.

                                Another recommendation for traditional bacalhau would be across the Tejo at O Ponto Final in Caçilhas.

                                Please let me know if I can continue to help in any way!


                                1. re: vinhotinto75


                                  With a list like the one I now have thanks to you, Monchique and this board, we certainly shall not go hungry or thirsty!
                                  Just have to watch ourselves and not go overboard....! Luckily we can walk it off in beautiful Lisbon!

                                  It's very likely we shall go back to Portugal to visit Madeira, Porto, the Douro Valley!
                                  Again, many thanks for your help.
                                  Take care.

                        2. re: monchique


                          thank you for the suggestions. Shall definitely go to Aljezur as suggested.

                          How far is Meia da Praia really is from Lagos town then? their advert says 8 minutes to the marina, 15 minutes to town!
                          We hesitated between 3 days in Tavira and 3 days in Lagos as we wanted to avoid Albufeira. Thought Lagos is a nice place....!
                          Also, please advise about Tavira and Rio Formosa. How is it at the beginning of October, the national park I mean? Could we visit both places and Faro in one day or would be it rushing it. For October is it still worth the effort to take the ferry to Tavira's beach just for a walk?
                          Thank you in advance for your help.
                          PS: Where can we buy good wine in Algarve and by that I mean Faro, Albufeira or Lagos? Any recs, please! I gather Albufeira offers the biggest choice of shops/supermarkets?

                          1. re: rieu

                            From where you will be, it's roughly 2kms to the Marina, and 4Kms to the town centre, you can check easily on Google maps. Lagos is a very nice place, much more interesting than Tavira. My warning would apply to most cities in Europe at night... Portugal is a very safe country, with low criminality, but you don't want to tempt the devil!
                            Tavira and Faro can be easily done in one day, with a visit of the ria Formosa, One good restaurant in that area is "O Costa" near Tavira. But whther it is worth it or not depend son teh weather. It might rain in October, and if so, forget it! Silves is certainly worth the trip (to visit the castle and the restaurant "Rui", behind the market the best shellfish in the Algarve).
                            Portugal produces a lot of very good wines, which are available in any supermarket. In Lagos, the Intermarche on the way out towards Sagres has a large selection. The nice thing is that quality still follows the price. Look in the 10 Euros range for reds, 8 Euros for whites, and you will get excellent quality. Here is my selection (supermarket prices, restaurant would be higher but not much). I hope Vinhotinto will approve:

                            VINHO VERDE (GREEN WINE)
                            These are young white wines, still fermenting and slightly fizzy. Very dry. Drink well chilled by the pool on a hot day.

                            Casal Garcia (3€00) and Gazela (6€00) both pleasant for easy drinking.
                            Alvarinho (10€00) top of the range Vinho Verde, goes especially well with shellfish.
                            Quinta da Aveleda (12€00): Slightly more mature, on the border between White wine and ‘Vinho Verde’. Very good with fish and shellfish.

                            VINHO BRANCO (WHITE WINE)
                            Portugal produces a lot of good white wines; Here are some of the most reliable.

                            Monsaraz (3€50), Terras Altas (3€50), Bucelas (4€00) all dry white wines, good value for money.
                            B.S.E. (Branco Seco Especial) (5€00), Cartuxa (6€00) and Planalto (5€00) are worth the small extra cost.
                            João Pires (7€00) made from Moscatel grape, is not as dry and very fruity.
                            Esporão Branco Reserva (10€00) is worth trying if you can find it! One of the best Portuguese white wine, from the Alentejo.

                            VINHO ROSÉ (ROSÉ WINE)
                            Forget Matteus, there are a few decent rosés like:

                            Lancers (4€00) and Casal Mendes (3€00)

                            VINHO TINTO (RED WINE)
                            Portugal produces excellent red wines, some of which are exceptionally good value for money. Unfortunately, it also produces a lot of plonk! In terms of Portuguese red wines, you normally get what you pay for…

                            Courela, Terras del Rei, Alandra, Monsaraz, Terras Altas, Monte Velho, Periquita (all between 4€00 and 6€00) are good, reliable wines for everyday.
                            Chaminé, Marques de Borba, Quinta do Cotto, Montes Claros (all around 10€00) represent the middle of the line. Better quality, some very good wines in that price range.
                            Esporão, Cartuxa Reserva, Luis Pato Tinto Velho, Mouchão are at the top of the range, with matching prices. Expect to pay up to 40€00 and more for the best vintages.

                            ESPUMANTE (SPARKLING WINE)

                            For this special occasion look for Lancers (5€00) or Raposeira Brut (12€00)

                            Moscatel de Setubal (similar to a French Muscat) is a very pleasant sweet wine served chilled as an aperitif, or as a dessert wine.
                            Madeira: beware of the cheap cooking stuff… Go for Blandy’s as a safe choice.
                            Port Wines: There, the choice is yours, and you really get what you pay for…

                            Vintage Ports intend to be more expensive than in the U.K., but you can get some very good L.B.V. (late bottled vintage) or 10 Years Old Tawny at a reasonable price. In the lower price range, some young Ruby Ports like Calem Velhotes are perfectly drinkable and suit the climate well.
                            You must try the Dry White Port. Very good served chilled on its own, or as they do in Porto, adding 2/3 of Tonic water, some ice, a slice of lemon and a sprig of fresh mint for a most refreshing Summer cocktail.

                            1. re: monchique


                              Many thanks for your detailed list, but most of all the time and effort you put into helping others!

                              Casal garcia, monsaraz and monte velho are easy to find where we live, so I guess we shall try other wines. I definitely shall try the Dry White Port

                              About the location, I guess they meant 8 minutes by car then! :)
                              weather wise, I heard it's getting cooler and it has been raining?

                              Again, thank you very much.
                              Shall write a report when we get back!
                              Take care.

                              1. re: rieu

                                Glad to be of help.
                                Typical September weather now, cooler (at last!) and yes we have had some rain and massive thunderstorms...