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Menus for midnight. Lisbon's favourite late-night restaurants.



 

Lisbon thrives after dark and there are plenty of late-night restaurants catering for hungry insomniacs. In a city renowned for its nightlife, an evening out means eating out, and there’s an appetising choice of midnight menus to tempt the seriously wide-awake. The steak in pepper sauce served at Café de São Bento is a house speciality, and here you can dine till 2am. Another local draw is the cavernous Cervejaria Trindade in Chiado – always busy after midnight. A culinary institution, Galeto, is a funky 60’s diner located in the city’s Saldanha district that rustles up tasty comfort food almost around the clock. The king of the all-nighters though is A Merendeira. This is the place to end up in and refuel after a heavy night clubbing. Meanwhile over in Chiado diners can enjoy a late night fish dinner at Sea Me. Looking to burn the midnight oil in Alfama? Head for Santo António de Alfama (half the fun is finding this lovely late-night venue among the neighbourhood's winding streets and narrow alleys). Some of Lisbon’s best seafood is prepared at Ribadouro – a favourite city-centre haunt for theatregoers seeking post-show sustenance. For more local flavour, try Portugalia in Cais do Sodré. But if you’re in a large group nearby Kais, an unusual restaurant converted from a waterfront warehouse, is a better bet. And for good wine in splendid company, grab a table at By the Wine JMF. The after-hours fun is quite memorable!

 

 


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Traditional Portuguese and southern European gastronomy enlivens the menu at this rustic-chic wine bar. Besides the Iberian flavoured cuisine the restaurant is also known for its enviable selection of wines from noted producer Jose Maria da Fonseca. The food comprises regional delicacies, typified by dishes like salada de mexilhoes (mussels in brine with tomato, red onion and peppers) and quesadilla 'Chiado', shoulder ham with provolone cheese, red onion and capers. Their 'Bellota" sausage boards feature appetizing ensembles of Spanish and Portuguese spicy chorizo and cured ham. The cheese boards feature Italian, Spanish and Portuguese cheeses. Dessert choice is modest but includes treats such as torta de Azeitao. Doors close at midnight but seldom is anyone in a rush to leave.

Recommended for Late Night because: A combination of regional gastronomy and wines plus a unique interior makes By the Wine an irresistible night out.

Paul's expert tip: Try the signature dish, Portuguese oysters from the Algarve, accompanied by a glass of Quinta de Camarate, a dry white from the Setubal region.

Read more about By the Wine JMF →


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Cais do Sodré/Santos


Fashioned out of the shell of a former 19th-century engine warehouse, this cavernous restaurant in one of the landmark features on the docks mid-way between Cais do Sodre and Alcantara. There's an industrial quality to the interior, with the design drawing on the building's history. The menu is international haute cuisine and features dishes like asparagus risotto, deep-water rose shrimps in champagne sauce, and grilled Iberian black pork tenderloin. The arm-long wine list is impressive, with Portuguese labels at the fore. Kais is particularly suited to large groups, but for smaller parties go downstairs to the rustic-styled Adega do Kais, where grilled meats are the speciality.

Recommended for Late Night because: A fantastic example of how a disused dockside warehouse can be turned into a top-flight restaurant and still retain its industrial character.

Paul's expert tip: Always book in advance because of the restaurant's popularity with groups, especially on Friday and Saturday nights.

Read more about Kais →


8
Cais do Sodré/Santos


This smart riverfront eatery belongs to a national chain of restaurants beloved by the Portuguese. Specialising in fresh fish and seafood but also serving succulent meat dishes, the Cais do Sodré venue faces the river not far from Alcantara and is known for its shellfish specialities such as "Espinho" shrimp from Portugal's northern shores, grilled tiger shrimp and mantis shrimp, with crab, king crab, lobster and spiny lobster. The seafood platters house specialities. The roasted cod with jacket potato is a popular and healthy dish. Portugalia is noted for its range of beers and ales, and there's a great wine list too. A children's menu keeps youngsters happy.

Recommended for Late Night because: Portugália offers superb riverside views from window tables as well as from those set on the terrace.

Paul's expert tip: As well as Friday and Saturday nights, the restaurant stays open till 1am on the eve of Portuguese national holidays.

Read more about Portugália →


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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 â€" bacalhau a bras: 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 Late Night because: Ribadouro is famed for its choice of seafood and the fact that it's one of the few restaurants in the vicinity open beyond midnight.

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.

Read more about Ribadouro →


Tucked away deep in Alfama, Lisbon's oldest neighbourhood, is this charming and wonderfully decorative restaurant. The pretty courtyard intimately set over cobblestone at the front belies a voluminous interior, with no less than three floors that can cater for larger gatherings if necessary. The menu errs towards traditional Portuguese gastronomy from the country and the ocean, and there's an impressive wine list to match. The desserts, meanwhile, are mouth-watering. The decor reflects a warm, homely feel that's somewhat incongruously heightened by dozens of black and white photographs of famous personalities from the world of entertainment (how many can you name?)

Read more about Santo António de Alfama →




Lisbon has its fair share of late night restaurants and if you fancy fish for dinner, there's a place that's known for its midnight menu. Cleverly named Sea Me urges customers to browse their meal before ordering. Rather than hidden away in the kitchen, the "catch" – a veritable ocean harvest of locally caught fish and shellfish – is arranged across a balcony of ice for diners to admire and indeed, choose from. A separate sushi bar serves those with a more exotic palate, where tempura, sashimi and other Japanese delicacies are prepared to order. An exhaustive wine list featuring some of Portugal's finest wines complements the menu. This noted eatery is busy most evenings but particularly so on Friday and Saturday nights, when Sea Me stays open till 1am.

Recommended for Late Night because: Sea Me is always an agreeable restaurant to enjoy a seafood supper. On Friday and Saturday nights though, the vibe is especially animated.

Paul's expert tip: Beware when ordering seafood that prices quoted are per kilo so agree on the price of your selection before ordering.

Read more about Sea Me →


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24 de Julho & Docas/Alcantara


A Lisbon all-nighter and a comfort food institution, A Merendeira has been the salvation of many a reveller seeking a place to eat and wind down after clubbing through the small hours. Located in one of the city's main nightlife districts, the eatery offers a simple menu: pão com chouriço and caldo verde ¬– spicy sausage in a freshly baked roll and a nourishing kale soup. They can also rustle up other tasty snacks and (probably much-needed) coffee. The rolls are baked throughout the night in traditional wood burning ovens (the aroma is mouth-watering) and offered up warm and fresh. And even if you're not very hungry, this is a great location to meet before or after hitting the bars.

Recommended for Late Night because: Serving famished clubbers since 1994, A Merendeira is the only Lisbon restaurant that stays open all night.

Paul's expert tip: If you're craving a sugar fix you'll love their sweet rice and flaky donuts.

Read more about A Merendeira →


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Saldanha

Located in the city's Saldanha district near Campo Pequeno, and well off the tourist trail, late-night Galeto is the nearest thing to a genuine American diner, and the original mid-60s décor is a real eye opener. The long bar snakes around the entire floor with swivel stools set alongside â€" great for a solitary snack. The booths, meanwhile, can seat groups of four. They've been feeding the sleepless here for nearly 50 years and it remains a celebrated comfort food destination. The brusk service will never win any prizes for finesse, and the cooking and plating up is often below par for the price paid. Still, it's worth a visit just for the experience, and simple dishes like the juicy burger and French fries will keep even the hungriest mouths fuelled till dawn.

Read more about Galeto →




A cherished culinary institution and a noted cultural landmark, this cavernous beer hall and restaurant enjoy an illustrious history. The building stands on the site of a former monastery, later a brewery. The beer is no longer made on the premises but it's still served with gusto along with a delicious selection of traditional Portuguese fare. Several rooms â€" the atrium, dining hall, and the Maria Keil room â€" are set under vaulted ceilings and decorated with outstanding azulejo (tile) panels depicting Masonic-inspired mosaics of exceptional craftsmanship. Dishes like tasty octopus salad and an amazing variety of shellfish options enhance the dining experience. So, too, the tender juicy steaks that are prepared using secret recipes handed down over generations. A range of Portuguese beers, including the restaurant's own special brew, plus international lagers, complement a select wine list.

Recommended for Late Night because: Trindade is a noted culinary institution and perfectly placed to feed hungry crowds after their night out in nearby Bairro Alto.

Paul's expert tip: Try a simple plate of prawns with lemon juice and a glass of Bohemia beer - a very tasty way of ending the evening.

Read more about Cervejaria Trindade →


Famed for its classic Café de São Bento steak â€" succulent mignon fillet smothered in a rich homemade pepper sauce â€" this historic eatery (over 30 years old) is a Lisbon late night treat. The ground floor is styled in the Victorian manner, all leather-bound stools, plump upholstered seating and heavy wood panelling, and the ambiance is deliberately traditional and exclusive, almost like a gentleman's club. Complementing the signature steak dishes is a menu of equally delicious starters â€" regional hams, cheeses and even smoked salmon served with rucola and garnished with honey and lime vinaigrette. Desserts include a tangy lemon sorbet enlivened with a shot of vodka! A wide range of wines, many from the Douro region, heightens an already imaginative drinks list.

Read more about Café de São Bento →


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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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