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Mar 22, 2011 07:51 PM

Unpretentious traditional/country dinner in Lisbon?

I'm going to Lisbon next week and would love to find a place for dinner without pretensions that serves well-prepared traditional/country food. Atmosphere is unimportant. A location near a metro would be pretty helpful. Any thoughts? Thanks!

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  1. @ Vulpine

    I live in Lisbon and have given hundreds of recommendations on this board, so I'm sure you will find something if you search through the archives. Nonetheless, here are some of my suggestions for more regional-based restaurants and their respective metro stops.

    A Granja Velha - This is a lunch place not far from the Praça da Figueira on the Rua dos Douradores and the food is highly geared towards the food from the Alentejo region. Nearest metro stop is Rossio. I love the Arroz de Pato here.

    Solar dos Presuntos - This is not cheap by any stretch, but the food is heavily inspired by the regions of northern Portugal (Minho, Trás-os-Montes, etc.) and it is simply divine. The wine list is phenomenal too. Nearest metro stop is Restauradores. Atmosphere is very friendly with professional service.

    Churrasco da Graça - not near a metro stop, but the grilled fish and poultry is excellent and the atmosphere is rustic and simple. In the Largo da Graça, you will need to take a taxi, but these a very cheap in Lisboa. After or before dinner, the view at the Miradouro is stunning. FYI, this place is cash only.

    Restaurante Trempe - On the Rua Coelho da Rocha in Campo de Ourique, this is one of my favorite places in Lisboa for food from the Alentejo region. Grilled foods are a specialty. Again, not metro accessible but worth a cheap cab ride too!

    Not far from the Baixa-Chiado metro stop you can walk to many places in the Bairro Alto or Chiado. Some simple, yet non-touristy places worth considering are:

    RESpublica - this is a nice restaurant affiliated with the Associação 25 de Abril. Food and service are excellent and the downstairs gallery will give you a chance to learn about the Portuguese Revolution and other historical events. Rua da Misericordia.

    Sinal Vermelho - on the the Rua das Gáveas in the Bairro Alto, the food is fantastic, refined, yet simple with representations from various Portuguese regions.

    O Caracol - Very traditional and fantastic rustic cusine on the Rua da Barroca in the Bairro Alto. The wine list is quite good too.

    Of course there are tons of other options if you wanted to get off at the Santa Apolónia station and walk up to Alfama. There are tons of rustic places, yet often many of them are either substandard or prey on tourists. Probably the most reliable would be Santo António de Alfama which doesn't do fado and the emphasis is on the food.

    If you have any other questions, please let me know and I will be happy to help with more recommendations.

    Boa Sorte!

    9 Replies
    1. re: vinhotinto75

      Thanks so much Vinhotinto. I really appreciate the list. I've researched the addresses a bit so I know exactly where they are. Price is something of a consideration so I'll probably avoid Solar de Presuntos (also the web suggests Sinal Vermelho is pricey not to mention unkind to tourists). I probably should have mentioned my cheapness in my post. I'm looking at some of your past posts too.

      1. re: vulpine

        By the way: I would love to combine a restaurant visit with a trip to an area where people actually live (suburbs, outskirts?) as long as I could get there and back by metro. Any thoughts?

        1. re: vulpine

          @ Vulpine

          That's quite ok, because eating well in Lisboa sometimes is independent of price. That being said, some simple places and food, particular Luso-African cuisines that preference Cape Verdean and Angolan food are most available in areas that aren't very accessible to many people. Since I have many friends, family, and contacts in the popular, immigrant, and more suburban areas of Lisbon (remember that suburban means something quite different than the US model) there are many simpler/common places that I frequent from the places I normally recommend on this board.

          Nevertheless, based on your predicament, i would suggest Churrasco da Graça to be a nice place to visit. If you can't spend for a cab, another place worth seeking out is Restaurante Esquina da Fé on the Rua da Fé in the Freguesia São José. The nearest metro stop is Avenida. The food is fantastic, service is efficient, and the owners (both named José) are friendly and hospitable. The Friday Goat special should not be missed!

          If you ever venture to Belém, which is a must to understand Portuguese history and Lisbon, try dining at Sagitário. The owner is fantastic and the prices are cheap with honest food and ambience. Also, please do not be turned away by reviews regarding Sinal Vermelho as the service and ownership are very genuine and honest folk.

          As always, please feel free to contact me if you have ANY questions.


          1. re: vinhotinto75

            You've been so helpful I hate to bother you again. But since you made such a kind offer, I'll ask: I'm going for two days to Evora and for two days to Elvas. Any equivalent recommendations for those two places?

            1. re: vulpine

              As far as Évora is concerned, there are tons of options. Some of my favorites include:

              Restaurante Dom Joaquim
              Restaurante Santo Humberto
              A Baiúca
              A Choupana
              O Antão
              Restaurante O Chico
              Restaurante Vinho e Noz

              There are tons of other places, but the above are excellent and vary in price. As always, feel free to ask questions.

              Boa Viagem!

              1. re: vinhotinto75

                Thanks. Anything for Elvas (again country food, no pretensions, preferably low price)?

                1. re: vulpine

                  @ Vulpine

                  Of all people, I will ask the pharmacist down the street about Elvas since her family has a home not far from the main town. Once I compile a list I will report back.


                  1. re: vinhotinto75

                    Thanks! I'm leaving New York today for Lisbon but will check back in probably Tuesday. I won't be arriving in Elvas until Thursday.

                    1. re: vinhotinto75

                      FYI: got back recently. Your suggestions were really helpful . .. unfortunately, I was only able to get to a couple of them. I have an addition I found on my own:
                      Restaurante Chu-Chu, Rua Santa Marte 31. Great grilled fish, inexpensive and totally unpretentious!

      2. We went to Churrasco da Graca for lunch the other day based on the recommendation here and thoroughly enjoyed it. Fantastic grilled chicken. And you can get the famous old tram up there during the day (not sure if it runs at night).

        1 Reply
        1. re: greedygirl

          @ Greedygirl

          Yes, the grilled chicken, rabbit, and fish dishes at Largo da Graça are extremely well prepared and the ambience is fantastic.

          Yes, Tram 28 goes through the Largo da Graça and is certainly worth a ride for any visitor to Lisboa. The tram does run at night and there is also a taxi stand in the Largo as well which is extremely cheap and not much more than the tram.

          Boa Viagem!