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Restaurants with the Best Value in Lisbon

Best Value Restaurants in Lisbon: Where to Eat That's Worth It


The best value restaurants in Lisbon are regarded for their location, menu variety, quality of food and service and wallet-friendly prices. They also provide a great excuse to explore the Portuguese capital, situated as they are in different city neighbourhoods. A Provinciana in the Baixa district ticks all the boxes for its authentic countryside atmosphere and rustic menu, even though it's located in the city centre. Meanwhile over in Lisbon's funky Bica neighbourhood, Estrela da Bica wows with its inventive cuisine and super cool pavement terrace. Also offering terrace table service is Bistro Gato Pardo, in Alfama. This cosy eatery is famed for its laid back character and local flavour. Benefitting from an equally cool setting is Sea Me, a seafood eatery based in Chiado. Similarly, at waterfront IBO, seafood is the catch of the day, all priced very reasonably. For a light lunch that’s easy on the pocket, grab a table at Tascardoso, a humble little eatery up in Principe Real that serves traditional Portuguese cuisine. Alternatively, if Spanish-style tapas works up your appetite, head to Cais do Sodre and the stylish Meson Andaluz. In Graça, locals in the know dine at O Piteu da Graça, highly regarded for its homemade fare and sociable atmosphere. Meanwhile, pocket-sized A Baîuca, tucked away in Alfama, provides amateur fado and lively banter with its hearty meals – an all-round authentic dining experience! Considering the quality of its Argentinian steaks, an evening out at La Paparrucha is remarkably good value and includes amazing views of mid-town Lisbon.


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10
Bairro Alto/Principe Real

This Michelin recommended Argentinian restaurant is famed for its choice of succulent parrilla-grilled steaks, anything from sirloin and tenderloin to rump and flank. Serving options range from a juicy tenderloin wrapped in puff pastry with wild mushrooms and bacon to their signature mixed beef kebab with bacon, onions and peppers. The menu also lists a selection of fish and seafood dishes, and even a vegetarian dish. Desserts are to die for and the selection includes the awesome "Torture", ice cream with caramel and praline. A kids' menu caters for smaller appetites. As you'd expect, the extensive wine list features several Argentinian labels including a full-bodied Finca Flichman Misterio Syrah red. The restaurant's other claim to fame is the fabulous views (totally Romantic at night) across midtown Lisbon from the window tables and outside terrace. A bar with outside terrace allows for drinks before or after dining.

Recommended for Best Value because: Melt-in-your-mouth steaks served with a picture-postcard view - for many, a priceless combination.

Paul's expert tip: From Monday to Friday the restaurant offers a set-menu three-course lunch option (drinks extra).

Read more about La Paparrucha →


This shoe box-sized taberna in Alfama serves up ensopado de borrego (lamb stew and toasted bread) among other rich, hearty and value-for-money Portuguese fare. But what really is special about this family-run eatery is the amateur fado performances (fado vadio) that take place onThursdays through Mondays. Instead of hosting professional singers, the proprietor, Isabel, invites members of the public to sing in front of diners. Invariably, these are local residents who offer their own unique renditions of favourite fado songs. A surprise is the two cooks, Carla and Paula, who briefly swap kitchen duties for the spotlight and delight the audience with their beautiful singing. The atmosphere is homely and wonderfully amateurish but absolutely genuine. The singing is from the heart and makes for one of the most authentic dining experiences in the city.

Recommended for Best Value because: The effort made by staff in providing home-grown hospitality is matched only by the cuisine that leaves the kitchen with a smile and a song.

Paul's expert tip: This is a very small restaurant so arrive early to bag a table

Read more about A Baiuca →


Very often it's the simplest and entirely unassuming of restaurants that serve the most memorable meals, and this humble eatery does just that! Of course, the locals have known this for years. The menu is right up their street, an appetising cookbook of homemade fare drawn from traditional recipes handed down from generation to generation. Dishes such as filetes de cherne com arroz de tomate e pimentos (turbot fillet with tomato and pepper rice) and rojes minhota (spiced and marinated chunks of roast pork Minho-style) celebrate the country's diverse regional gastronomy, plates that positively sing with colour and flavour. Enjoyed with a jug of house red over gossip and laughter, a meal here is to taste the culture of Portuguese cuisine.

Recommended for Best Value because: Over the years the food at this delightfully down-to-earth eatery has got better and better while prices have remained absurdly low.

Paul's expert tip: The number 28 tram pulls up just across the road from the front door.

Read more about O Piteu da Graca →


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The mouth-watering selection of tapas at this enchanting Spanish restaurant is on par with anything Madrid can rustle up. Tasty appetizers listed include pumpkin soup with curd cheese and wild fruits, garlic prawns bathed in virgin olive oil, and piquillo peppers stuffed with cod. The 'Classic' menu inspires with dishes like lamb shoulder over a carrot and pimento pardon (green Galician pepper) puree. These main courses, and some desserts, appear at the table served not on a plate but instead on a wedge of slate, a delightfully simple and effect presentation. Wines include a Duende from the Alentejo, made by one Andre Herrera de Almeida, who just happens to be the son of the restaurant's owner, Ilidio. Meson Andaluz's interior blends a contemporary design signature with original 19th-century walls, but an outside terrace allows for al fresco dining, a great lunchtime and dinner option in warm weather.

Recommended for Best Value because: Artisan Spanish cuisine like this would cost twice as much in Madrid, so eating here also saves money.

Paul's expert tip: Be sure to admire the carefully refurbished arched stonework towards the back of the restaurant.

Read more about Meson Andaluz →


6
Bairro Alto/Principe Real

They don't stand on ceremony at this tiny tasca, set on a side street just off Praca do Principe Real. But then that's not really the point. Instead, this rustic and informal eatery is feted for its traditional Portuguese cuisine, served promptly and without fuss. Indeed, all you need to do is turn up to savour regional dishes from across the country. The menu also features some unusual delicacies, including peixe corvina do Atlantico, a thick cut steak of Atlantic croaker fish grilled to perfection, and chocos assados com tinta (cuttlefish grilled in its own ink). More conventional palates are also catered for: if you want an omelette, just ask. The wine list is selective but good choice is a simple house red, the wholly agreeable Ermelinda Freitas from Portugal's Palmela region.

Recommended for Best Value because: A favourite with locals who know what they want and how much it should cost. So why not join them?

Paul's expert tip: Besides offering an authentic taste of Portugal, this wonderful little restaurant is excellent value for money. But you'll need to turn up early to secure a table.

Read more about Tascardoso →


5
Cais do Sodré/Santos

Devoted almost entirely to seafood in all its colourful and mouth-watering shapes and sizes, IBO enjoys a Mozambican heritage and their outstanding tiger prawns remain one of the great menu highlights. But the ocean harvest also celebrates national flavour, with produce drawn from the Ria Formosa and Olhão regions of the Algarve and the Berlenga Islands, situated off Portugal's central coastline. The variety of shellfish available is staggering: cockle, mussel, oyster, lobster and crab, among other denizens of the deep. Prepared to traditional recipes and cooked to perfection, the food is beautifully presented, especially the generous seafood platters. The menu also lists meat dishes (the steaks are well worth investigating), and the Mozambican theme extends to a national beer, Laurentina.

Recommended for Best Value because: Shellfish is pricy but the quality of IBO's menu is such that what you're also purchasing is one of Lisbon's most memorable seafood experiences.

Paul's expert tip: Seafood prices are often quoted per kilogram so ascertain the approximate cost of a meal before ordering.

Read more about Ibo →


In English Peixaria Moderna means "modern fish market", and this is exactly what this stylish eatery functions as. The selection of seasonal fresh fish and seafood is outstanding and rather than hidden away in the kitchen, the "catch" is displayed across a balcony on the restaurant floor. The idea is that customers select their meal as if shopping at a market, with a member of the waiting staff on hand to help with making the selection And it can be a tough call. The choice is bewildering, with dozens of different fish and shellfish caught in various grounds along the Portuguese coast providing a tempting ocean harvest. Sea Me is also a sushi bar so if you prefer you can turn to Japan for tempura, sashimi and other delights from the land of the rising sun.

Recommended for Best Value because: Good seafood eaten in a fine restaurant can be pricy. But when plated to this high standard, it's worth splashing out for.

Paul's expert tip: Note that prices quoted are per kilo, so make sure you establish the cost of your meal beforehand.

Read more about Sea Me →


This little gem of an eatery is named after a feline, the bistro's logo resembling a domestic cat but with the spots of a leopard. Set on a side street in Alfama near the landmark Igreja de Sao Vicente de Fora, this unassuming restaurant is a wonderful local find. Visiting the place is like walking into someone's front room, and the domestic ambiance is tangible. Vintage wooden furniture lends Gato Prado a wonderfully lived in character, with leather-clad chairs and an old sofa enlivening the domestic ambience. The menu is distinguished by authentic Portuguese dishes while the international flavour is represented with the likes of ravioli fungi porcini. There's a "dish of the day" which is excellent value, especially if ordered with a jug of house red. In summer tables are set on the pavement where you can watch the world go by in one of Lisbon's most picturesque settings.

Recommended for Best Value because: This out-of-the-way bistro oozes character and lures locals and visitors alike with an inexpensive menu of Portuguese fare.

Paul's expert tip: On Saturdays tables are snapped up early because of the busy flea market set under the Sao Vicente church.

Read more about Bistro Gato Pardo →


2
Cais do Sodré/Santos

A deliciously tantalising menu tempts the palate at this humble eatery, set on a side street in Lisbon's funky Bica district. Couple that with super attentive service and excellent value for money and no wonder this restaurant is one of the busiest in the area. The kitchen is not afraid to experiment with textures and flavours to create dishes such as tasty squid ink risotto and Atlantic wild tuna tataki. Another fab plate is the subliminal sautéed shrimps on sourdough toast bathed in heavenly garlicky aioli. From the countryside comes hearty pork cheek ravioli on buckwheat smothered in mustard sauce. One of the great attractions of Estrela da Bica is the outside terrace where tables are eagerly snapped up well before sundown. But even if this premium seating spot is full, the inviting interior with is quirky decor makes for an equally conducive dining experience.

Recommended for Best Value because: One of the signature places to eat in Lisbon's Bica district, this restaurant is valued both for its cuisine and the fantastic pavement terrace.

Paul's expert tip: It's best to book in advance rather than arrive on spec, as this place gets pretty busy, especially so during the summer months.

Read more about Estrela da Bica →


Lisbon's restaurant scene delights with eateries like this, a non-frills, family-run establishment that wouldn't look out of place in the middle of the Portuguese countryside. The fact that it's tucked away in the heart of the city makes A Provinciana even more alluring. A popular place even out of season, this is one of the friendliest and most authentic rustic-style restaurants, decorated in wood furniture and featuring a collection of whacky wall clocks hanging on the walls. Frequently patronised by locals who swear by the hearty and wholesome fare listed on the menu, diner numbers are bolstered by in-the-know visitors who recognise a deliciously good deal when they see one. Listed is simply prepared regional Portuguese cuisine featuring a succulent range of grilled meats and fish, accompanied by crunchy vegetables and boiled potatoes or chunky chips, fried to perfection.

Recommended for Best Value because: As you'd expect by its name, A Provinciana exudes a delightfully rural atmosphere even though it's set in the heart of the city.

Paul's expert tip: Order a dish of the day and a litre of wine for two and you'll still walk away with change from 20 euros.

Read more about A Provinciana →


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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

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