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Eating and Drinking in Lisbon

The Ano Novo restaurant in the Rua dos Correeiros

This page 25 October 2013

Copyright: ©
Compiled by John Laidlar

Restaurants in the Rua dos Correeiros

One of the best streets in central Lisbon to find a number of good, cheap Portuguese restaurants is the Rua dos Correeiros. This road runs parallel and to the east of the main Rua Augusta, though at its southern end it terminates before reaching the Praça Comércio. Sadly, the number of such restaurants has declined in the last 20 years as the Portuguese inexplicably fall for the fast-food of McDonalds, Burger King and the like. Even more bizarrely, since 2007 there has been a rise in incongruous Indian-Italian restaurants in Lisbon and several of these now operate on the Rua dos Correeiros. These are establishments run by Portuguese Indians but serving Italian food!

Nevertheless, despite this rise of international cuisine, a dozen or so traditional Portuguese establishments remain in the street though these are now tending to clump towards the northern end of the street, near the Praça Figueira, where tourists are an ever increasing proportion of the clientele. Nevertheless, a number of the surviving restaurants are still frequented to varying degrees by local residents too. Pictured, left, is the interior of the Lagosta Vermelha restaurant, one of the best, but which sadly closed in 2007/08 to be replaced by one of the Indian-Italian set-ups. However its sister restaurant the Marisqueira Popular, whose advert is seen, right, does survive.

Since the advent of the Euro, prices have escalated but are still good value in UK terms. In summer 2013, excellent three-course meals, including a bottle of house wine, could be had from the varied menus at most of the nearby restaurants at a cost of less than 15 Euros a head. Service is invariably quick and a wide variety of fresh fish and meat dishes is available, with a main course typically from 7 Euros upwards. Daily specials are also a feature of all the premises. Local fish to be recommended includes "cherne", "peixe-espada", "robalo" and "dourada". Amongst the restaurants to be recommended are the:

  • A Covelense, at 157-159 Rua dos Correeiros. Superbly cooked but good value dishes. (Last sampled summer 2013).
  • O Ano Novo, at 109 Rua dos Correeiros. Excellent cooking at excellent prices with good, efficient service. (Last sampled summer 2010). They also do an excellent home made chocolate mousse and "pudim flan" (creme caramel). This is one of the least aggressively marketed of the restaurants. At most of the others, waiters will engage passers-by in conversation to persuade them of the virtues of their establishment. (Last sampled summer 2013).
  • Irmãos Unidos do Minho, 215 Rua dos Correeiros, includes northern Portuguese specialities. (Last sampled summer 2012)
  • Ena Pai!, at the top (north) end of the street and well frequented by tourists. (Last sampled summer 2012)
  • Adega Friagem. This is more or less opposite the Ano Novo and, again, serves good Portuguese fare (Last sampled summer 2010)
  • João do Grão, at the top (north) end of the street and well frequented by tourists. (Last sampled summer 2003)

    Don't be put off by the growing nuisance which plagues most of Lisbon's central restaurants if you choose to eat outdoors - "musicians" who "treat" you to the mixed pleasures of their music and then come and ask for money. Some are better than others - other itinerant salesmen prevalent throughout central Lisbon are those selling sunglasses, fake Rolex watches and flowers. Just say "no" if you don't want them.

    Further north, near the Marquês de Pombal Metro station lies:

  • O Cacho Dourado, Rua Eça de Queirós 3. This is a good, cheap restaurant. (Last sampled summer 2002).

    Cafés in Lisbon

    Cafés are numerous in Lisbon but a personal favourite is the:

    Leitaria Campesina, Rua S. Nicolau 51

    which has outdoor tables.

    L to R: The Leitaria Campesina; a bill from the Leitaria Campesina; the Lagosta Vermelha restaurant.

    This is a really excellent spot for a sandwich or light meal, only a short work from the Baixa-Chiado metro station. Prices are a little higher than some places but you pay for the location. It is a small snack-bar, owned by A.S. Antunes Lda, on the corner of the Rua S. Nicolau and the Rua dos Correiros. Its interior is very small but it has numerous outside tables in the pedestrianised street. Particularly recommended are the range of cold/hot sandwiches, salads, fruit, soups and cakes. The "sande de leitão" (pork sandwich), melon (melão) and cakes are particular recommendations. A full range of drinks, including draught beer is available. Service is quick and extremely friendly. It may be e-mailed here. (Last sampled summer 2013).

    Café Pombalino, Rua dos Fanqueiros

    This excellent café is situated on the eastern side of the Rua dos Fanqueiros, towards the Praça do Comércio end of this road which runs parallel to the Rua Augusta. It provides excellent service as well as a wide range of cakes and sandwiches. Drinks include beer, on tap, as well as the usual range of coffees and soft drinks. (Last sampled summer 2003).


    There are two good cafés at the bottom end of the Rua João de Deus, near the tram turning loop, facing the basilica. (Last sampled 2009). The trams on routes 25 and 28 can both be observed from here.

    A Bolaria, Santo Amaro

    This is an excellent, clean café which is conveniently situated directly across the road from the Santo Amaro tram depot, pictured above, and is used by many of its staff. It offers good views of the depot's comings and goings, as well as very good lunches, excellent sandwiches and cakes. (Last sampled summer 2003).

    O Glacial Artico, Rua do Arsenal

    This pleasant café is usefully located on the Rua do Arsenal, on the left half way between Cais do Sodré and the Praça do Comércio. (Last sampled summer 2009).

    Centro Cultural de Belém (CCB)

    If you prefer to avoid the many tourist cafés at Belém, the roof-mounted café at the Centro Cultural de Belém is a useful address. As well as a sizeable interior space, it has an outdoor terrace which has good views of the River Tagus as well as of the Padrão monument and the Cascais railway line. It serves meals as well as snacks. Just outside the CCB is the tram stop to/from Lisbon (route 15). (Last sampled summer 2009).

    Café Tropical, Almada

    Across the river, the Café Tropical, Almada, is an excellent café is at the bottom of the Avenida do Cristo Rei, the road leading up to the monument of that name. It is close to the Metro stop at Almada. (Last sampled summer 2012).

    The Menu and a Few Important Words

    Right: the price list in the Café Tropical, Almada. Some of the terms listed below can be seen on the image.

    Lisbon restaurants offer a wide range of both meat and fish dishes, which are well- suited to the British palate as they are not normally spiced. The Portuguese term "bife" (beef) can be misleading as it is applied to any type of meat. Thus you will find on menus "bife de peru" or "bife de porco", meaning a turkey or pork steak, respectively. A "bitoque" is beef with an egg on top. "Frango a piri-piri" is chicken served in a generally fairly mild chilli sauce. "Borrego" is lamb, "Vitela" is veal and "Leitão" is roast suckling pig, often described as Leitão de Negrais (from Negrais, near Sintra).

    Amongst the excellent local fish dishes is "cherne" (bream), robalo and dourada. Cod ("bacalhau") can be a bit of an experience, with "bacalhau à Brás" being popular- this is salt cod with potato, onion and egg. Soups are generally excellent, with the ubiquitous "sopa de legumes/ hortaliça" (vegetable soup), "canja" (chicken broth) and the northern speciality, "caldo verde" (a cabbage and potato soup with sausage) being recommended. Unless you like a rawish egg in your soup, "sopa alentejana" is to be avoided. Sweets include "mousse de chocolate" (chocolate mousse), "arroz doce" (rice pudding) and "pudim flan" (crème caramel). Sadly home-made versions of swets are giving way to commercial products in many restaurants. House wines ("vinho de casa") are generally very satisfactory and cheap (6 Euros was typical in 2008 i.e less than £5 a bottle) - though these prices are double those of five years earlier. Some other useful food and drink terms are:-

  • A beer = "Uma cerveja". Most common brands are Sagres and Superbock. A draught beer is "uma imperial"; a larger glass of draught beer is "uma caneca" - roughly a pint though there are bigger types of "caneca" too.
  • The menu, please = "A ementa, se faz favor"
  • A ham sandwich = "Uma sande de fiambre".
  • A cheese sandwich = "Uma sande de queijo".
  • A hot beef sandwich = "Um prego".
  • A "bifana" is the pork equivalent of a "prego".
  • A small expresso coffee (black) = "Uma bica"
  • A small white coffee = "café com leite"; a large one (served in a glass) is called a "galão".
  • A cup of tea = "chá"
  • The bill, please = "A conta, se faz favor".
  • Thank you = "Obrigado" (if you are male), "obrigada" (if you are female).
  • Where are the toilets? "Os lavabos, se faz favor?"

    Shopping for Food and Wines near Transport Facilities

    The huge Corte Inglês department store, built on top of São Sebastião Metro station has a wide range of wine. This store actually has an entrance immediately off the southern underground atrium of S. Sebastião Metro station and the premises are open for long hours, typically to 10pm on weekday evenings.

    The Pingo Doce supermarket chain has recently opened small to moderately sized food-based supermarkets at the Metro stations of Santa Apolónia and Cais do Sodré. These are modern and well stocked and particularly useful as they have long hours. The Santa Apolónia shop, for example, stays open till 2300 hours. In central Lisbon there is a useful but small supermarket at the southern end of the Rua dos Correeiros, which is one of the roads parallel to the Rua Augusta in the Baixa district.

    In Cascais, the Jumbo hypermarket lies just across the coast road (Estrada Marginal) from Cascais railway station and is open for long hours. It also stocks a good range of CDs and has an excellent newspaper shop. Even closer to the Cascais station is the new Cascais Villa complex which has fast-food outlets on its top floor and fashion, music and other shops on the lower floors. There is also a Jumbo at the Amoreiras shopping centre in north west Lisbon.

    The Vasco da Gama shopping centre at Oriente also has a hypermarket (Continente) with an equally wide range of merchandise. The above-mentioned Rua dos Correeiros has a useful open-all-hours supermarket at its southern end, on the left as you face the south.

    For a massive range of books, CDs, DVDS etc visit FNAC whose entrance is at the foot of the Rua Garrett, where it meets the Rua do Carmo and the Rua Nova de Almada and it is open late at night.

    Copyright: ©
    Compiled by John Laidlar