Eating Out on the Avenue: Best Restaurants near Lisbon's Fashionable Thoroughfare


Lisbon’s fashionable Avenida da Liberdade and the areas in and around Marquês de Pombal and Estefânia together provide the visitor with an interesting mix of restaurants, from jolly, down-to-earth eateries to refined Michelin gourmet hot spots. At the top end of the Avenue – quite literally – is the Michelin star Eleven, where gourmet cuisine heightens the dining experience. The new Bistrô4 also benefits from Michelin influence, but is far simpler in presentation and easier on the pocket. One of the most unusual places is Restaurant 33, a former hunting lodge just off the avenue that still features original wooden ceiling beams and a splendid sunken terrace set in a verdant garden. Also tucked away in a side street is Floresta do Salitre, a spirited tasca popular with locals, especially at lunchtimes. The interior design of the aptly named Avenue restaurant is associated with Porsche, and offers a requisite fine-dining experience. Similarly, its near-neighbour AdLibis acknowledged for its haute cuisine and upscale ambiance. Another restaurant actually situated on Avenida da Liberdade is Brasserie Flo, a refined dining spot where the menu errs towards French cuisine. One of the city’s most celebrated fish and seafood restaurants, Ribadouro, is a short walk away. Across the road and into the Estefânia district is Open, whose commendable green credentials mean much of the produce is sourced from fair trade outlets. Meanwhile, back across the avenue, is SushiCafé Avenida, arguably the most fashionable sushi bar in the capital. 



An über cool sushi bar just off Lisbon's main avenue, sushicafé's striking interior draws on the contours of a rolling wave – an apt and clever contemporary design signature that readies the palate for the extraordinary menu of Japanese cuisine designed by executive chef Daniel Rente. Seafood of course is the mainstay of the land of the rising sun, and diners can indulge in innovative dishes like black cod. The more adventurous should try the wagyu carpaccio with foie gras and, er, chocolate. Many of the plates are exclusively based on molecular cooking, where colour and texture are brought to the fore. For those with more traditional tastes, it's all here: teriyaki, tempura, sashimi, makis and uramaki, among other mainstays. Needless to say, the sake goes down a treat!

Recommended for Avenida Liberdade/Marques de Pombal/Estefânia's Best Restaurants because: Outstanding sushi served in a truly imaginative and daringly designed restaurant space. Prepare to be impressed.

Paul's expert tip: Arrive earlier and enjoy a pre-dinner cocktail at the esplanade bar.

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Designed around a Mediterranean brasserie concept, the in-house restaurant at Inspira Santa Marta Hotel exudes a pleasantly understated cosmopolitan ambiance. The fine dining venue's cultured organic look is deliberate and the kitchen follows the hotel's guiding principals of environmental sustainability: for the most part, ingredients have been sourced locally, and preferably through fair trade outlets. The menu celebrates the textures and flavours of southern Europe, and surprises abound. Order the roasted triggerfish with herbs, olives, cherry tomato and olive oil bathed in sweet garlic sauce for a gastronomic revelation. Equally appealing is the pistachio encrusted lamb chops with whole grain mustard sauce. By all means investigate the wine list but make sure you also order the mineral water. The proceeds of every bottle sold goes towards building and maintaining fresh water pumps in rural African villages - a wholly commendable initiative.

Recommended for Avenida Liberdade/Marques de Pombal/Estefânia's Best Restaurants because: The award-winning Inspira Santa Martal is Lisbon's first Green Globe hotel property, and the eco credentials extend to the restaurant.

Paul's expert tip: Be sure to order a bottle of mineral water. All proceeds go towards the construction of fresh water pumps in African villages.

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One of Lisbon's premier fish and seafood restaurants, Ribadouro has been around since 1947. The menu lists a veritable feast of ocean cuisine, options like jumbo shrimp, Algarve prawn, tiger shrimp, oyster, king crab and crayfish. The seafood platter is famous for offering these delicious delicacies in one gigantic serving garnished with lemon and garlic. But if you're up for something lighter, then the pesticos (snacks) are just as mouth watering. Try the prawns or clams in olive oil and garlic, lots of garlic. Fish dinners feature the house special – bacalhau ? brás: flakes of grilled codfish serves with egg, onion, parsley and matchstick potato fries. The restaurant is also a beer house (cervejaria) and customers are welcome to pop just for a drink.

Recommended for Avenida Liberdade/Marques de Pombal/Estefânia's Best Restaurants because: Somewhat of a culinary institution, Ribadouro is a little pricy perhaps, but this is one of Lisbon's most renowned fish and seafood restaurants.

Paul's expert tip: Note that prices are quoted in kilos so do the math before ordering. Better still ask the waiter the exact price of each dish.

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Based on the French brasserie concept, upscale Flo is a favourite business lunch venue and always attracts clients from the neighbouring five-star Tivoli Lisboa hotel. The seasonal menu is of course inspired by classic French cuisine, with seafood highlighted by dishes such as their Plateau Prestige – 1 lobster, 1 crab, 8 shrimps and a selection of sixteen oysters, the flavours of which are enhanced by chilled champagne. But simple starters like French onion soup exude an equally authentic flavor, and those with a sweet tooth should opt for the cr?me br?lée with vanilla bourbon. The setting and service is refined and discreet, and the décor is such that you'd be forgiven for thinking you were dining in Paris.

Recommended for Avenida Liberdade/Marques de Pombal/Estefânia's Best Restaurants because: The Tivoli brand is one of the most prestigious in the country, and the level of service is carried through to this restaurant.

Paul's expert tip: If visiting during the summer months head for the hotel's rooftop Sky Bar for a pre-dinner cocktail. The views are outstanding!

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Refined French cuisine coupled with traditional Portuguese gastronomy heightens the menu at this elegant fine dining venue. The restaurant enjoys a prime city-centre location, positioned as it is next door to the five-star Hotel Sofitel Lisbon Liberdade. Directing the kitchen is executive chef Daniel Schlaipfer. Originally from Germany, Schlaipfer excels at combing the textures and flavours of southern Europe with those of the Atlantic to produce dishes like roasted rack of lamb with a crust of artichokes and herbs garnished with crispy garlic accompanied by vitellote potato. The sea bass cooked in rock salt served with sautéed vegetables, new potatoes and a fresh crispy salad exemplifies the seafood choice. The wine list features some truly exceptional Portuguese and French labels, including a rare Château Calon Ségur 2002.

Recommended for Avenida Liberdade/Marques de Pombal/Estefânia's Best Restaurants because: The fashionable and sophisticated atmosphere matches the first class service and attention to detail.

Paul's expert tip: The "Wine Flight" allows diners to enjoy three different glasses of wine rather than opting for a single bottle.

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This sleek, urban restaurant has garnered a reputation for gracious service and a creative menu of Portuguese gastronomy. Dishes such as the alheira de caça de mirandela, an intriguing combination of breaded sausage with pork, garlic and chilli served with roasted red potato, quail's egg and pureed broccoli, have introduced visitors to the delights of regional cuisine, presented with artistic flair and contemporary flourishes. Besides the a la carte choice, there's a menu degustation for the more serious foodie to consider. The cellar heaves with over 300 wines from across the country, and it's possible to taste a selection in the salon (enoteca) during late afternoons and early evenings. A noted business lunch venue, Avenue is equally regarded as an informal fine dining spot and is conveniently located near the Hotel Sofitel Lisbon.

Recommended for Avenida Liberdade/Marques de Pombal/Estefânia's Best Restaurants because: The restaurant is associated with the design arm of Porsche. So not only does everything taste good, it looks good too.

Paul's expert tip: Meet up in the fashionable bar before dinner – the strawberry daiquiri makes for a perfect aperitif.

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A lively local clientele adds flavor to this popular family-owned eatery. The menu of traditional Portuguese cuisine includes hearty salmon and tuna steaks, with the fresh fish and seafood choice complemented by meat options such as melt-in-your mouth veal cutlets and a piping hot lamb stew, always served with wafer-thin homemade fries. They're good at desserts too, and the almond tart is a treat. The wine list is selective but well matched for this kind of mid-range food. The lunchtime daily specials draw hungry city workers in their droves, and it's sometimes difficult to get a table. Likewise, evenings can get pretty busy especially towards the weekends.

Recommended for Avenida Liberdade/Marques de Pombal/Estefânia's Best Restaurants because: Good, no-nonsense food at very reasonable prices served with genuine pride in a family-run city-centre restaurant. Perfect!

Paul's expert tip: Expect a crowd when the television is screening a local football game.

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Believe it or not, this restaurant used to be a hunting lodge despite the fact that it's located in the centre of Lisbon. Inside, the rustic décor gives the game away. The dark wood beam ceiling and wall supports are original, and the framed prints of duck, geese and wild boar highlight the pastoral appeal. During the day, this is a prime business lunch spot. But "33", named after its street number, comes into its own at night, especially when candlelight illuminates the sunken garden where tables are set under a leafy canopy. The menu errs towards meat and game (try the rosbife - roast beef which comes rare and practically melts in your mouth). Meals are presented in a simple manner and served by seriously friendly waiting staff. The wines live up to their promise, with some fine labels from the Douro and Alentejo among the modest selection.

Recommended for Avenida Liberdade/Marques de Pombal/Estefânia's Best Restaurants because: Quite simply the most unique setting of all Lisbon's city-centre restaurants, this former hunting lodge still has the iron horse rings embedded in the walls.

Paul's expert tip: Order the Sopa Dourada, which isn't a soup at all. Instead, it's a fantastic sweet dish of egg strands and caramel.

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Bistrô 4

The in-house restaurant of the new Hotel Porto Bay Liberdade, Bistrô 4 is named after its innovative 4x4 concept where diners can choose from four different menus: Bistronomie combines bistro-style fare with French haute cuisine. The Signature menu is designed by chef Benoît Sinthon, who directs the Michelin-starred kitchen of Il Gallo d'Oro at Porto Bay's flagship Cliff Bay property in Madeira. Executive chef João Espírito Santo ably supervises Signature's classic French, Portuguese and Brazilian gastronomy. The 4X4 is ideal for groups, where a different dish is created every day that can be shared by diners. And for those looking for tasty small plates, the petiscos, or tapas, menu is the perfect accompaniment. Further whetting the appetite are nearly 200 mostly Portuguese wines, available by the bottle or glass.

Recommended for Avenida Liberdade/Marques de Pombal/Estefânia's Best Restaurants because: The unfussy menu belies the gastronomic expertise behind the creation of each dish, no doubt influenced by the helping hand of a Michelin chef.

Paul's expert tip: Looking for something simple? Order the prawn omelette – the creamy shellfish sauce is divine!

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This well-established Michelin star gourmet hotspot enjoys an elevated position at the top of the city's Parque Eduardo VII and affords diners with sweeping views of the Portuguese capital. Directing the kitchen is acclaimed German chef Joachim Koerper, who has worked in some of Europe's most celebrated Michelin-starred restaurants. Koerper's great love is southern European gastronomy and his menus here celebrate the fresh, subtle flavours of Portugal, Spain and Italy. A Grand Chef Relais & Chateaux, Koerper describes his cuisine as luminous and elegant and rooted in traditions of Mediterranean cooking: try the lobster with cauliflower panacotta with watercress sauce. The wine list is impressive, with some of Portugal's finest labels sharing the cellar with a noted international selection.

Recommended for Avenida Liberdade/Marques de Pombal/Estefânia's Best Restaurants because: Eleven catapulted Lisbon into Europe's gourmet cookbook and has proved an endearing fixture on the capital's restaurant scene ever since. It's deserving of its Michelin star.

Paul's expert tip: Chef Joachim Koerper makes a point of meeting diners at the table. Why don't you quiz his culinary brain?

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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