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2 nights in Lisbon and then Cascais

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I will be traveling from New York to Lisbon with my boyfriend in a few weeks. We are in our mid 30s and like to explore good restaurants and bars. I am wondering what is the best neighborhood to stay in terms of proximity to restaurants, nightlife, cafes, shopping etc. we'd like to be able to walk outside and have some good options . Also, I am looking for some must-do restaurant recommendations local spots and local cuisine, not tourist traps- looking for good food/fun crowd/lively atmosphere - not looking for something formal or stuffy, but we want excellent food. Price is not really an issue but we don't need to go to the most expensive spots in the city

Also, we'll be spending 2 nights in Cascais so if anyone has any restaurant recommendations in that area let me know. Do you think the best bet would be to rent a car to go between Cascais and Lisbon?

Thanks in advance.

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  1. You should do a search on this board for Lisbon recommendations. There are a wealth of them.

    The center of Lisbon is very walkable.
    Baixa is the touristy center especially on the side near Chiado. It is full of tourist traps for sure and a few good places mentioned on this board.
    I'd probably recommend staying near Bairro Alto which not only has great and lively restaurants but is really the nightlife hub of the city. You'll find plenty of tourists but also locals here. My wife and I and her Lisbon family often go there to eat.

    Tip: All of the above neighborhoods are near each other but Bairro Alto and Chiado are on a hill while Baixa is more in a valley. To get from one to the other you could use the famous Santa Justa lift but an easier option is to go into the FNAC store and use their lifts.

    1. Also worth noting that almost the exact same question was asked recently:
      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/713789

      10 Replies
      1. re: r.vacapinta

        @ hungryinny

        If you search the archives, I have posted significantly on Lisbon (where I reside) over the past two years. I have provided hundreds of recommendations of all price ranges, cuisines, and neighborhoods throughout the city.

        If you have any specific questions on a particularly place, please let me know.

        Boa Sorte!

        1. re: vinhotinto75

          Yes, I've been trying to sort through previous posts, but it seems like lisbon is an amazing city with so many choices. There are a lot of posts that mention different places (thanks to your thoroughness, vinhotinto) and I'm a bit overwhelmed.

          In regards to hotel, I am currently considering the York House on Rua das Janelas Verdes, the sofitel liberdade, and the fontana park hotel on Rua Engenheiro Vieira da Silva. I want to choose the one that will be in the best area to walk outside and stumble on cafes, shops, etc in the immediate vicinity plus conveninent (preferably walkable) to other areas of the city we should explore .

          Also, I am trying to isolate a few restaurants that are sure bets - looking for portuguese cuisine with excellent food, a good crowd, and a lively atmosphere. Some restaurants that I am considering -

          Pap'Açorda
          Solar dos Presuntos
          Eleven
          Bocca
          Clara Chiado
          Gambrinus
          Assinatura
          Tasca de Esquina
          Manifesto
          Tágide
          restaurante 560

          Are any of these NOT what I am looking for? I'm worried that some might be more about the scene than the food (and that's not what i'm looking for). Would any be better for lunch than dinner? Are there any other places that i should be considering instead?

          In Cascais, I am considering
          monte mar
          furnas do guincho
          Porto Sta Maria
          beirra mar

          Thanks everyone!

          1. re: hungryinny

            @ Hungryinny,

            Out of all of the options for hotels, I would opt for the Sofitel Liberdade. Being on the Avenida da Liberdade, the main avenue which connects "uptown" to the historic Baixa, is great for strolling at any time of the day. You can windowshop (or shop), go into a pastelaria or café, and most importantly, access the metro system.

            I do enjoy Lapa, but I think there you will be quite isolated from public transport and at night it isn't the most exciting place. Being along the Avenida da Liberdade will present you with options to going to the Baixa, Bairro Alto, Chiado, Alfama, etc. with relative ease. Not to mention it is not far from two good wine bars, Os Goliardos and the Chafariz do Vinho (although service and food here has been shaky lately).

            Regarding restaurants, some of what you mentioned above are more about appearances than the food (Eleven, Tasca da Esquina). Thus, here are some suggestions:

            Solar dos Presuntos - A must in my opinion as the menu is varied, the wine list (now on an IPAD) is extensive, and the ambience is classic and simple. Reservations are recommended, particularly on weekends. I highly recommend the goat dish, but just about anything is spectacular. While many famous people do frequent the restaurant, it is because the food is excellent.

            Assinatura - the first few times I went there I really enjoyed the food and ambience. The service is excellent, although the last two times I went there in January and February my food wasn't as good as the first few times. Yet, it is very well run, professional, and worth a try; albeit pricey for Lisboa.

            Diverging from the above list, here are some others I suggest and you can find links either from previous posts or by googling for the websites.

            Restaurante Trempe (Campo de Ourique) - Authentic food from the Alentejo region with excellent grilled foods.

            Largo (Chiado) - Trendy and Upscale, with excellent food and service.

            Restaurante Ibo (Cais do Sodré) - Upscale, Refined Portuguese food with a hint of Mozambican flavors. The wine list is excellent and the view of the Rio Tejo is stunning.

            Sinal Vermelho (Bairro Alto) - Consistently good and less formal with excellent dishes from various regions of Portugal. Highly recommended.

            Cervejaria Ramiro (Estefânia) - If you like shelffish this all they serve (not even fish) and this is the place to sample it at its finest in Lisboa.

            If you have any specific dishes or things you want to try in mind, please let me know and I will indicate as much as I can.

            Boa Sorte!

            1. re: vinhotinto75

              Hi, vinhotinto75. Wonder if you have been to Chimarrao, a Brazilian restaurant at Amazens do Chiado, is it worth a visit? I will have 2 lunches in Lisbon and would like them to be memorable. Seafood would be a good option and I heard piri piri chicken is good too. I came to Portugal and Spain for the food. I will be staying at the Hotel Mundial so places nearby would be preferable.

              1. re: Sl3879

                Hi, Chimarrao in Armazens do Chiado is an ordinary shopping mall restaurant. It's OK if you like Brazilian food, but not a "destination restaurant" if what you're looking for is a memorable dining experience. For piri piri chicken try Bonjardim in the center of the city. Portugal also has great seafood which either be an excellent value or be really expensive. All Lisbon dining ideas here: http://www.lisbonlux.com/lisbon-resta...

                1. re: lisbon

                  Thanks! What are your favorites as far as memorable experiences go? And any close to hotel Mundial?

                  1. re: lisbon

                    Thank you for your help! The link was great and informative.

                2. re: vinhotinto75

                  Largo is an excellent restaurant, went twice. The duck magret was heaven.
                  Sacramento was also fab, their Iberian black pork chorizo with apple puree, WOW.
                  Bistro 100 Maneiras, wonderful suckling pig and sauteed vegetables. Would have liked to try their Restaurante 100 Maneiras which was recommended by a local couple who seemed to know good food!

                  1. re: vinhotinto75

                    Thanks, you really know what you're talking about. Largo was magnificent. Wish I lived in Spain/Portugal. So many good restaurants.

                3. re: vinhotinto75

                  My husband and I are particularly interested in finding excellent cataplana and leitao - We have been to Mehellada (sp?) years ago, but don't have the time to venture there this time.

                  Other typical not tourist trappy info appreciated.

              2. The best part of the city to stay is in or around Avenida da Liberdade, although the hotels there tend to be a little more expensive. New, rather affordable accommodation has also opened around Baixa recently. Here is a Lisbon neighborhoods guide:

                http://www.lisbonlux.com/lisbon/bairr...

                As for restaurants, here's a long list by cuisine:

                http://www.lisbonlux.com/lisbon-resta...

                Finally, here's the guide to Cascais:

                http://www.lisbonlux.com/cascais/

                You should also not miss Sintra: http://www.lisbonlux.com/sintra/

                You should not rent a car. You can easily reach Cascais and Sintra by train.

                3 Replies
                1. re: lisbon

                  Thanks for all of your help, Lisbon and Vinhotinto. Will be staying at the Sofitel libertade lisbon on saturday night and have a dinner reservation at Solar Dos Presuntos. I will be in Cascais on Sunday. Does anyone have an specific restaurant recommendations in Cascais that would be open on Sunday night?

                  1. re: hungryinny

                    For once, the tourist thing is the right thing: Jardim Dos Frangos in Cascais. They grill chicken on charcoal and serve it with chips and salad. A slather of piri-piri will be provided on request. Bear in mind that you are under no obligation to pay for the stuff that comes with the bread if you don't eat it. But the bread is home made, sourdough, chewy, tasty, wonderful.

                    1. re: MrManners

                      I just remembered they don't make their own bread. Still good though.

                2. Just posted my luncheon reviews, last 5 days, Cascais lunches.
                  Don't bother with a car unless u have lots of luggage. Train fro Lisbon to Cascais only 1/2 hr, 40 minutes and cheap. This is a small town and easy to get around. Loads of good restaurants too. I am staying at hotel Baia, 3 star but nice staff. No fridge In room but balcony and view of sea.