Dining in Lisbon: A Guest Post by Richard Lachmann
My husband’s secret dream is to be a food reviewer. (OK, it’s not a secret anymore–sorry!) During our months in Lisbon, we had the opportunity to sample a variety of restaurants, stores, and other food-related establishments, and he has asked for a guest post to record his impressions. And for an update as of May 2014 and reviews of new restaurants, go here.
As Lyn made clear in more than a few of her blog entries, food is one of the great attractions of life in Portugal. What follows are my evaluations of the places where we ate and shopped during our four months of living in Lisbon, grouped into categories. I hope you will find this helpful if you travel to Lisbon, and that you will add your impressions of these and other Lisbon eateries.
Innovative restaurants (these seek to combine Portuguese ingredients and recipes with international contemporary cooking techniques and sensibilities):
Belcanto (Largo de São Carlos 10; phone 213-420-607). This is Lisbon’s most interesting and successful effort at molecular cuisine, making use of first class ingredients.
100 Maneiras (Largo da Trindade 9; phone 910-307-575 http://www.restaurante100maneiras.com/?q=N/-/46). They have both a café and a restaurant with a single tasting menu. The café menu has an excellent variety of interesting dishes, well prepared.
Pedro e O Lobo (Rua do Salitre 169; phone 211-933-719). Outstanding tasting menu, and a bargain at 42 euros. Dishes are inventive, especially for fish.
1300 Taverna (Rua Rodrigues de Faria 103; phone 213-649-170) Located in LX Factory, a fun complex of stores and restaurants. Beautiful décor but mediocre food.
Seafood restaurants (these take advantage of Portugal’s outstanding fish and seafood):
Cervejaria da Esquina (Rua Correia Teles, 56; phone 213-874-644; cervejariadaesquina.com). Excellent super-fresh seafood: wonderful oysters crab, shrimp, barnacles. Their dressed crab appetizer is deservedly famous. The less elaborate dishes that let the seafood dominate are best.
Gambrinus (Rua das Portas de Santo Antão 23; phone 213-421- 466). Fresh seafood, good service, very old style in preparation, e.g. Crepes Suzette made at tableside. Expensive.
Ramiro (Av. Almirante Reis nº1; phone 218-851-024). Fresh seafood, but way overcooked.
Lisboa a Noite (Rua das Gáveas 69/71; phone 213-468-557. Fresh seafood, boring preparations.
Tapas (less formal restaurants that are best for small dishes)
XL (Calcada da Estrela 57-63; phone 213-956-118). Very good tapas, my favorite is their wonderful fried egg with foie gras sauce.
El Gordo (Rua de S. Boaventura 16; phone 213-424-266). Nice wine bar with generally decent tapas.
Chafariz do Vinho (Rua da Mãe de Água; phone 213-422-079). Beautiful space with good wine and mediocre tapas.
Zaafran (Largo Dona Estefânia, nº7; phone 213-558-894). This would be a top Indian restaurant in any US or European city, and well-regarded in London. The owners are Indians who lived in Mozambique, and there are subtle African elements in some of the dishes. Be aware: Thursday nights they have belly dancing and a set menu.
Lapa Restaurant (in Lapa Palace hotel, Rua Pau da Bandeira 4; phone 213-949-494). If you are dying for Italian food this is good though way overpriced, but in any city with excellent Italian food, this would be considered mediocre.
Casanova (Av. Infante D. Henrique – Cais da Pedra. Doca do Jardim do Tabaco, Armazém 7 Loja B; phone 218-877-532). Good pizza, long lines.
Ice Dreams (Rua da Escola Politécnica, 21). This is the best ice cream in Lisbon, with rich flavors and outstanding sorbets. A steady rotation of interesting new flavors.
Artisani (various locations in Lisbon and also in Cascais). Rich, flavorful ice cream, almost as good as Ice Dreams.
Santini (various locations in Lisbon). This is the well-known, tourist-clogged ice cream place. They are good but clearly several notches below Ice Dreams and Artisani.
Stores in Principe Real (we had the good fortune to live in Principe Real, a beautiful neighborhood with excellent food shopping. In addition to Ice Dreams, I want to call attention to three other places).
E Fish Peixaria (Praca das Flores N55; phone 218-261-939). A good and changing variety of excellent fresh fish and seafood at reasonable prices. Their tuna and salmon made for excellent sushi. [Update: E Fish closed in July 2013, a major loss for the neighborhood.]
Poison d’amour (Rua da Escola Politécnica, 32; phone 213-476-032). This is the real thing. Pastries of the same high quality as a top French patisserie.
Claudio Corallo Chocolate (Rua Cecílio de Sousa 85; phone 213-862-158). Outstanding hot chocolate and excellent chocolates, albeit at high prices- 45 euros a kilo, $30 a pound.