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Oct 31, 2010 11:06 AM

Lisbon for three nights+ Hotel Real Palacio

I've been reading through some of the recommendations and all sound great... I am going with a friend to Lisbon Wed. thru Saturday this week. We are staying at Real Palacio Hotel.

While I speak a little Spanish, I find myself a little off balance with the Portuguese. Reading through menus I thought I would get the general idea- but I don't. How generous are people with pathetic Americans who can't speak the language?

Are there any places within walking distance of the hotel that would be fun and accessible for non speakers?

And any must sees while in Lisbon? while this is a business trip, we are going to sneak out for some fun, too!

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  1. @ sgwhitman

    I reside in Lisboa and if you look through the archives you will find hundreds of recommendations that I have given at all levels.

    To answer some of your questions:

    You will be better off speaking English than Spanish and you shouldn't fret as many Lisboetas speak excellent English and are indeed very warm and understanding. Your hotel is mainly in a residential and business area and close to the Parque Eduardo VII, so there are not many exciting options nearby unless you want to count the VASTLY overrated Eleven which earned a Michelin Star. Still, you are close to the metro and taxis in Lisboa are rather cheap so you can go out and explore restaurants and other attractions.

    Not to be missed sites in Lisboa:

    Alfama and Graça
    Praça do Rossio, Figueira, and Comércio
    Belém and Mosteiro dos Jerónimos
    Chiado and Bairro Alto

    If you want more precise recommendations after visiting the archives, it might help to know what you like to eat (meat, poultry, fish, shellfish, etc.). Do you enjoy wine?

    Boa Viagem.

    13 Replies
    1. re: vinhotinto75

      thank you so much! I am going to scan the archives-

      love wine. love love love wine.

      again, I truly appreciate your response. I'm new to chowhound, and will do my best to figure out this archive business.

      1. re: sgwhitman

        @ sgwhitman

        No need to fret over the archives, yet it does refrain from repetitive posts. Nonetheless, if you do enjoy wine, a visit to ViniPortugal in the Praço do Comércio is obligatory.

        While your hotel is a nice place, some restaurants such as the following are only a metro (subway) or cheap taxi ride away:

        Solar dos Presuntos
        Restaurante Ibo
        Café São Bento
        Via Graça
        Restaurante Alma
        Cervejaria Ramiro
        Esquina da Fé
        Lisboa à Noite
        Sinal Vermelho

        Feel free to write if you have ANY questions.


        1. re: vinhotinto75

          ok, so we leave late tonight, get in to lisbon about 4pm tomorrow- we'll be a little jet lagged. where should we go tomorrow night that's easy and fun? Assinatura is on the list for Friday night. looks great.

          1. re: sgwhitman


            Providing you get to Lisbon around 4pm and by the time you check-in to your hotel and get situated, perhaps you might want to take a stroll or metro ride to the Praça Marquês de Pombal and then down the Avenida da Liberdade. Some other ideas might be take the metro (or taxi) to the Praço do Comércio (Terreiro do Paço stop)and go to ViniPortugal to try some wines for free before dinner.

            Some other ideas would be to take the metro or taxi to Rossio or Baixa Chiado and stop somewhere and have a glass of wine or some "petiscos" before dinner.

            I think a nice intro to Portuguese cuisine for your first night:

            Solar dos Presuntos (Baixa/Restauradores)
            Clara Chiado (Chiado)
            Quinta dos Frades (near Lumiar Metro Stop)
            Charcutaria Francesa (near Praça das Flores; excellent and Portuguese)

            Let me know if you have any questions.

            Faça uma boa viagem!

            1. re: vinhotinto75

              Hi vinhotinto75,

              We're landing in Lisboa after our Canary Islands cruise and staying at the Sheraton (Rua Latino Coelho, 1) for 5 days.

              What's good and delicious (preferably local faire) that's not too far? We're good for everything but wine.. (I'll start diving into the archives as well)


              1. re: taiphun


                Essentially I would suggest the same for you as I did Sgwhitman since the Saldanha/Picoas area is heavily banking and business based with mainly simple cafés. Still, you are right on the metro line and taxis are cheap and plentiful to get to the rest of the city.

                While the cuisine isn't very innovative, you could always go to Galeto which is an institution in Lisboa. It dates back to the 1960s and serves until the early morning hours. It is sort of quirky Portuguese cuisine in a friendly relaxed, almost diner-style environment. Worth trying, particularly for something less formal.

                Avenida da República 14 A
                1050-191 LISBOA

                Another idea would be the Restaurante Peixe Saldanha Mar which is at the nearby Fontana Park Hotel.


                Please let me know if you have any questions that I can answer about Lisboa and dining.

                Boa Viagem!

              2. re: vinhotinto75

                we went to solar dos presuntos. it was the best procuitto I think I have ever had. My dining guest was a bit disturbed by the chopping of fish but <i thought it was a wonderful restaurant. Thank you so much.

                We are headed to barrio alta tonight. She requested italian food- she is not a food person. cannot be helped.

                this is a beautiful city. the people friendly, easy to get around on metro- I am most impressed.

                1. re: sgwhitman

                  We were in Lisbon a few years ago and had a wonderful time. Do not miss the best custard egg tarts in the world. Go to Belem and the famous bakery is right down the street from the monastery. My husband could not believe the size of this place!

                  If you get to the Modern Art Museum, the cafe there has very fresh and lovely food for lunch. A native of the city and good friend took us there, and it was a nice discovery.

                  1. re: sgwhitman

                    @ sgwhitman

                    There are several good Italian places in Lisboa, including the Bairro Alto. One suggestion might be Império dos Sentidos.

                    Feel free to let me know if there are others I can suggest.


                    1. re: vinhotinto75

                      oh. oh oh oh. we had the best clams at alfaia - we call them cockles here, as they are very very small- in bairro alto. sat at a cafe, with the cheeses, again the procuitto, olives... we had clams in garlic and oil and they were stunning. had to order another batch after one. we kept getting small things off the menu, had cars pass us within two inches (guess there really is no drunk driving over there!) and listened to fado music played on the streets.

                      my less than adventurous colleague was blown away. thrilled. we learned about verde wine- bubbly. we were hoping for organic but... bubbly. why? I don't understand why it's "green" wine- is it the early grapes used?

                      the following afternoon we walked all over the moorish part of town, winding our way up to the castle, taking turns upon turns upon turns, seeing old buildings, narrow walkways, some friendly faces, some not so amused faces. those hills can put san francisco to shame!

                      but we simply didn't want to stop, nor end the day, nor end the adventure of the maze.

                      I love your city, the people, the kindness with the language. I tried a little portuguese and people were encouraging and kind. I did get a couple say, speak spanish? and we did which reminded me how much I value being able to speak another language and how I miss being able to use it.

                      my favorite moment? we were walking around the ancient part, and came to a tiny shop with an older man behind the counter selling dishtowels, aprons, and... buttons. thousands of buttons. my friend walked in and started to chat- she did not try any portuguese at any time, and he started to speak, too- all in portuguese.

                      it was a beautiful exchange because while neither had any idea what the other was saying? they completely understood each other, talking about the fabric, the quality, the color... I wish I could have filmed it. five euros, two towels and a apron later, there was a moment that she will probably remember for the rest of her life.

                      not because it was profound, but because it was elegant and respectful.

                      thank you for sharing your city, your thoughts and your passion for great food.


                      1. re: sgwhitman

                        @ sgwhitman

                        I'm glad that you enjoyed Lisboa and the food, wine, and neighborhoods. Yes, Vinho Verde (which can be white or red) refers to young grapes. In case you wanted learn more about it, the Comissão de Viticultura da Região dos Vinhos Verdes has a website with recipes, videos, tourism, and other info.


                        Boa Sorte!

            2. re: sgwhitman

              Not far from your Madrid hotel La Broche (sp?) is still excellent and a good deal at lunchtime. Casa Rafa, for seafood, and El Lando, first-rate. In Lisbon we found a delightful wine bar, Garrafeira Alfaia, 125 rue do Diario de Noticias, whose friendly owner is terribly knowledgeable about Portugese wines, just ask him to suggest a lower-alcohol wine made in a contemporary fashion. He came up with an outstanding Riesling blend and an excellent low-alcohol red. Some reds there come in at >14 percent alcohol, not usually a good product. Across the street is their sister restaurant, same owners, same enthusiastic wine advice plus very nice trad food. We had an outstanding dinner at Taveras, the decor alone is a reason to go, but the pastry chef (a 20-year-old female) is brilliant. The Cervejaria Ramiro was a total joint, wonderful seafood and packed with regulars, very reasonable for the quality. If you get into trouble with your teeth, as I did, Clinica White offers up-do-date dental care at a very sophisticated level. And if you need hair, Jacques Dessange, 21342-1030, is a good address. We had an outstanding driver, Jose Mamede, who really knows Lisbon and beyond, 917-620-216. On the language front we got along very well with English, Italian is more useful for understanding Portuguese than Spanish. Portugal is the most underrated country in Europe -- beautiful architecture, innovative decorative arts, proud history, good museums, delightful and kind people. Boa viagem, Chic Fille

              1. re: chicfille

                I suport Tavares! We had dinner there last week and had an oustanding degustation menu with matching wines; Beautiful decor (but that has always been), attentive and professional service. The only downside was the clientele that night, mostly tourists (I have no problem with that) but not even an effort to dress up or even look clean to visit the top restaurant in Lisbon. I had passed by my hotel to change and grab a jacket for dinner, but guess I'm old fashion ...
                Apart from that detail, we had a memorable evening at Tavares!