Fado restaurants in Lisbon: where to eat and listen to voice and guitar.

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.   

Cais do Sodré/Santos

While not a fado restaurant in the traditional sense, Madragoa Café nonetheless regales diners on a weekly basis with an evening of this most expressive and enchanting of Portuguese musical expressions. Young, talented and attractive, fadista...  Read More

Bairro Alto/Principe Real

Founded in 1927, this prestigious venue is inexorably linked with the history of fado – the late lamented Amalia Rodrigues sang here, among other great names. The restaurant is one of the most impressive of all Lisbon's fado houses and in fact...  Read More

Open for over 50 years, this is one of Lisbon's oldest fado houses. A firm favourite with locals, many of whom have grown up with the redoubtable Argentina Santos, the fadista who owns and runs the restaurant and who often takes to the floor to...  Read More

This shoe box-sized taberna in Alfama serves up ensopado de borrego (lamb stew and toasted bread) among other rich, heart Portuguese fare. But what really is special about this family-run eatery is the amateur fado performances (fado vadio) that...  Read More

24 de Julho & Docas/Alcantara

Established since the 1960s, this is one of Lisbon's most famous fado houses and features resident singers Celeste Maria, Isabel Pinheiro and Helder Santos, plus a host of well-known guest artists. Interestingly, the restaurant also stages...  Read More

Bairro Alto/Principe Real

The façade of this historic fado house is distinguished by a stunning vintage azulejo (tile) design fashioned around the front door of the premises. The tiles depict guitars, dancing folk singers and jugs of wine and date from 1937, when the...  Read More

Bairro Alto/Principe Real

The same family have run this highly respected fado house since 1955, which makes A Severa quite unique. The original owners, Maria José and Júlio Barros Evangelista, named their restaurant after Maria Severa, a 19th-century gypsy singer who...  Read More

West of Center

This smart, rustically decorated venue is ticked away in Lapa, one of the city's most exclusive enclaves. As such, customers tend to hail from the world of politics and the arts, and prices are a little steeper than elsewhere. But it's worth the...  Read More

Mario Pacheco, an accomplished guitarist who's played with the best of them, including Camane, Ana Sofia Varela and Mariza, owns this beautiful and revered establishment. The club is one of the best venues in Lisbon to hear professional fado,...  Read More

Bairro Alto/Principe Real

O Faia began life as a small bar back in 1947 when founder Lucillia do Carmo together with her son Carlos opened the Casa de Fados in Lisbon's Bairro Alto neighbourhood. One of the city's most respected fado houses, the smart interior exudes a...  Read More


Meet Paul Bernhardt

Paul Bernhardt cut his teeth as a press photographer in England before leaving the UK to settle in Portugal, where he has lived for over a decade, and where he started to focus on more...  More About Paul
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