Fado, Lisbon’s mournful yet beguiling musical expression is an integral part of Portuguese culture, and included on UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Listening to the haunting strains of this unique musical style, a combination of soulful voice and melodic guitars, should be on every visitor’s list of things to do in Lisbon. Fortunately there lots of restaurants, or fado houses, that host performances of this poignant music. Among the most celebrated is O Faia in Bairro Alto, a particularly attractive restaurant. Another famous venue is Clube de Fado in Alfama, as is the revered Senhor Vinho, located in Lisbon’s exclusive Lapa neighbourhood. The oldest family-run fado house is A Severa, whose reputation is acknowledged across the city. The list of fado restaurants is certainly heightened by the well-respected Adega Machado in Bairro Alto. Noted for its genuine atmosphere is Timpanas, situated in the city’s Alcantâra district. For a less informal experience, arrive early at A Baîuca in Alfama to experience fado vadio, the wonderfully domestic amateur version of fado. Alfama is also home to the famous Parreirinha de Alfama. If you’re part of a large group, you’ll probably end up at the ubiquitous Café Luso, a popular restaurant located back in Bairro Alto. But for a more intimate and impromptu night of fado, with a good food and fine wine accompaniment to match, book a table at Madragoa Café.
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