Acclaimed 26-year-old chef António Galapito returned from London (where he worked with Nuno Mendes) to open Prado in November 2017. An abandoned fish factory was converted into this stylish, high-ceilinged restaurant, with Roman ruins on display – discovered the during renovation. Prado means meadow and Galapito’s mission is to celebrate local, seasonal produce, with small plates accompanied by organic and biodynamic wines. The menu offers a modern take on the traditional: dishes such as cockles, spinach, coriander and fried bread (€5.50) and Iberico pork tenderloin with quince and chocolate peppers (€10) are pretty as a picture and delicious. Don’t skip dessert, the sweet potato with smoked milk ice-cream and honey (€5) is fantastic.
• Travessa das Pedras Negras 2, Baixa, +351 210 534 649, pradorestaurante.com, closed Mondays and Tuesdays
The brincos (squid tentacles with coriander, €13.50) are so good here that people call ahead to ask for a portion to be saved; and the arroz de choco (cuttlefish rice, €17) is arguably the best in town. Vasco Hipóliot took over the popular, traditional Bota Velha (which he used to visit as a child) but has kept the old-school vibe – with wooden booths and beams intact. Homemade pastel de massa tenra (€2.20 each), fish soup (€12) and croquets with dijon mustard (€1.80 each) are other menu stars – and there are great cocktails, too. Kick-off with a rum sour, served with chilli jam and orange. This place opened last spring and Hipóliot has stellar credentials: he also owns upmarket seaside fish restaurant Sal in Comporta.
• Rua Domingos Sequeira 38, Estrela, +351 21 390 4447, on Facebook, closed Mondays
Loucos de Lisboa
With its speakeasy vibe – dark purple walls, mismatched furniture from owner Victor Cordeiro’s grandparents’ house, a 1920s soundtrack, candlelight – you could while away the hours here, sipping wine and sampling petiscos (the Portuguese version of tapas). Local cheeses feature widely – try the indulgent dressed cheese (€14.80), a round bread hollowed out and stuffed with gooey melted queijo. Other specialities include flaming chorizo (€6.50), various bruschetta (€4.50) and homemade smoked salmon carpaccio (€13). The extensive Portuguese wine list offers lots by the glass too. Opened last March, it’s loved by locals, as well as tourists, and Cordeiro is hoping to open a second place this year.
• First floor, Rua da Palmeira 15, Príncipe Real, +351 21 407 8838, on Facebook, closed Tuesday
O Watt is the latest offering from chef Kiko Martins, one of the city’s leading culinary lights. It is on the ground floor of the electricity board’s striking, modern HQ, not far from the Time Out market. Martins’ aim here is to serve healthy, energy-giving, mouth-watering food – without using butter and sugar or frying. There is an international menu and slick decor, with standout dishes such as mini steak tartare with seaweed (€13.80), Indian shrimp in banana tree leaf (€20.80) and Galician octopus (€19.70). The six-course tasting menu is €54.80.
• Avenida 24 de Julho 12, Cais do Sodre, +351 21 136 9504, on Facebook
At this new addition from Manuel André Fernandes, a Portuguese Masterchef winner, the focus is on street food (rua means street in Portuguese). The vibe is fun and relaxed, there is an open kitchen and a long, thin dining space brightened with turquoise banquets and multi-coloured patterned walls. Share colourful, prettily-presented plates such as angry fried chicken with Korean kimchi (€7.50) and tacos with prawn and octopus (€7) or the inventive cod with Guinness and remoulade (€9). Tasty cocktails, too.
• Rua de O Século 149a, Príncipe Real, +351 214 065 099, ruaprincipereal.com, closed Sunday and Monday
Several great restaurants from Portuguese celebrity chef José Avillez can be found under one roof in the cavernous Barrio do Avillez, including a new cabaret dining room behind bookshelf doors. The latest offering is stylish Cantina Peruana, with Peruvian star chef Diego Muñoz at the helm. Dining is in a dramatically-lit mezzanine area, with a beautiful pisco bar (cocktails from €8) and a menu bursting with ceviche (from €6), as well as Peruvian street food such beef heart or octopus anticucho (small kebabs, €8) and Andean quinoa burgers (€9). The six-course Discovering Peru with Diego Muñoz menu is €70 for two.
• Bairro do Avillez, Rua Nova da Trindade 18, Chiado, +351 21 583 0290, cantinaperuana.pt
Even meat- and fish-loving Lisbon is showing vegans and vegetarians more love these days: this new, friendly cafe-restaurant makes a great pitstop any time of day. One of the founders is Miguel Júdice, entrepreneur and author of The 500 Hidden Secrets of Lisbon, who wanted to create a place to show that healthy eating “can be delicious”. There are lots of wholesome breakfast options, plus bright salads and mains such as tomato shakshouka (poached eggs in spicy sauce, €8) heart of palm and mushroom stroganoff (€13) at lunch and dinner. For non-veggies, ceviche and codfish make it onto the menu, too.
• Rua da Escola Politécnica 85-87, Príncipe Real, +351 925 406 880, naked.com.pt
A good news story, as well as a good restaurant, Mezze opened in Arroios market last September through a crowdfunding initiative to help recently arrived Syrian refugees in the city. An incredible €23,000 was raised and the small, friendly eatery has been busy since day one. Staffed almost entirely by refugees (mostly women), the menu is packed with traditional Middle Eastern dishes such as baba ganoush, tabbouleh and kabseh (rice with chicken and vegetables), with meze platters from €11.
• Mercado de Arroios, +351 21 249 4788, on Facebook, closed Sunday and Monday
Peixe na Avenida
A must for fish and seafood lovers, this new restaurant from chef Luísa Fernandes, a former orthopaedic nurse, features dishes inspired by places visited by great Portuguese explorers – from Africa and Indian to Latin America. Feast on the likes of moqueca (shrimp stew from northern Brazil, €17), lobster cooked Mozambique style (€29) and Goan curry with crab and shrimp (€23). The three-course €14 lunch menu is good value.
• Rua da Conceição da Glória 6, Baixa, +351 309 765 939, peixenaavenida.com, closed Monday
A Janela da Voz
This new cafe in an old newspaper building is a great place for weekend brunch. Besides the usual coffee, eggs, tomatoes and pastries there are pancakes with curd, Greek yoghurt and granola and “soup of tired horse” – an orange sponge with red wine (small €8.50, large €13.50). Dominated by a huge arched window, it’s a bright, light space with a nod to the paper’s long association with the labour movement in the dramatic mural along one wall. During the week there are great sandwiches and cakes, as well as a dish of the day (such as sautéed cod with sweet potato).
• Rua da Voz do Operário 13, Graça, +351 21 887 3232, on Facebook
Celebrated Portuguese chef Miguel Castro e Silva recently opened Lumni, a fine-dining restaurant with a rooftop bar at the new Lumiares hotel (seven-course tasting menu €56pp). On the ground floor, though, there’s the more affordable, laid-back Mercado, focusing on classic Portuguese cuisine such as Octopus rice (€12.80) and crispy cod fritters (€7.50), as well as a cafe offering freshly baked pastries.
• Rua Diário de Notícias 14, Bairro Alto, +351 211 160 200, thelumiares.com
Almost opposite Rua (see above), Local, opened last August and offers an intimate, communal dining experience with just one long table seating 10 customers. The chefs are at work in the tiny kitchen at the back, preparing dishes such as skate with morels, crispy chicken skin and black garlic or aubergine with egg and Azores cheese (mains around €15 at lunch, a little more at dinner).
• Rua O Século 204, +351 925 675 990, on Facebook, closed Monday and Sunday
With thanks to Célia Pedroso, journalist and Lisbon bureau chief at Culinary Backstreets, which runs foodie tours in Lisbon and other cities
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