Top 5 Local Friendly Restaurants in Lisbon


Lisbon is one of the most attractive cities in Portugal, not only because it is the capital of the country, but also because of the great variety of entertainment, activities, and meals that can be found there. In fact, many tourists say that what attracts them the most is Portuguese culture and their love of food.

Thinking of coming to Lisbon and enjoying its traditional food and typical dishes? Read on…

Portugal’s capital is a city that has managed to combine modernism with its traditional and proud architecture and modern surroundings. Portuguese food is one of the best in the world, so it is unsurprising that noone can forget its rich, unique taste.

1. Carvoaria Jacto – Portuguese Grill in Penha de França

Carvoaria Jacto in Lisbon

Carvoaria Jacto in Lisbon, sourced from foursquare

Very close to Penha de França, right next to the tourist district of Alfama, Carvoaria Jacto restaurant is located; a local place that is always full of Lisbonners due to its folk recipes and dishes. This restaurant is known in Lisbon as “Steakhouse of Excellence”. They serve the very best meat cooked under traditional Portuguese recipes.

The restaurant offers a variety of different meat dishes for you to choose from. Beef, lamb or pork – the choice is yours! In addition, you can also find fresh fish prepared also with authentic recipes of Portuguese cuisine. You also have the option of adding a high-quality delicious salad to your dishes for free.

To be able to get a good place to sit you have to arrive early. The place is a little noisy but not it’s quality, as well as its authenticity, remaining intact. One of the most popular dishes is grilled cod roasted with sweet potato a la murro, also known as roasted cod prepared with potatoes. This dish is traditional Portuguese food and one of the most recommended by the locals. 

Another of the exquisite dishes of this place is pork ribs or costeletas porco preto. These pork ribs are really a delicacy, so much so that you can appreciate how the ribs gently detach from the meat and are very juicy. To accompany this dish you can order a red wine worthy of the Alentejo region.

Wine in Lisbon, sourced from Pixabay

The dessert menu is also of high quality and traditional authenticity. However, what they recommend the most is the Portuguese chocolate cake. It is a dense chocolate cake with more sticky chocolate in the center. Without a doubt, it is an exquisite dessert.

If you are looking for typical regional food then you should come to Carvoaria Jacto and taste its delicious meats. Your fish dishes may not be the best, but for meat lovers, this will be a real pleasure.

Find it at Rua Maria Andrade 6 B, in Penha de França.
Open Monday to Saturday from 12:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m

The locals recommend omitting cod or any other seafood, not because they are bad, but because they are not the best you can eat in the city. Enjoy delicious meat with authentic Portuguese flavor.

Portions are usually large, another feature of local food restaurants, so you can go along with a lot of hunger, or get accompanied sharing different dishes.

2. A Grelha Marisqueira and Churrasqueira 

This restaurant is one of the simplest and most authentic in the city of Lisbon. In fact, quite a few people appreciate this place for being so different. As a common feature of local restaurants is that they have no menu and no name in English. The decoration of this restaurant only shows a slogan of a brand of Portuguese beer and names of traditional Portuguese dishes on the windows.

However, this Marisqueira is one of the most frequented in Lisbon. There is not a moment during the day when the waiters are unoccupied. For tourists, this place is often intimidating because of the high influx of native Portuguese.

Those tourists who dare to enter this place can really have the joy of enjoying delicious smells of sizzling meat and a pleasant heat that catches anyone. The place usually is overcrowded especially on weekdays.

In the different tables of the restaurant, you can see how the locals taste fish and meat prepared on the grill. Once you arrive at the place, the waiter will approach your table with a respective basket of bread, cheese, olives from the region and butter, and then tell you the menu of the day.  

One of its traditional dishes is Portuguese seafood rice. It is served in a large bowl with enough for two people to eat and be satisfied. Seafood rice is a combination of shrimp and clams in its shell, with a touch of cilantro and a touch of homemade tomato sauce.

Portuguese seafood rice

Portuguese seafood rice, sourced from Wikimedia

The place has many other local dishes with varieties of seafood, fish, and meats. You can locate this place on the top of the hill that leads to the Graça district. It is a little far from the tourist attractions of Lisbon.

Find it near the Sapadores Market and the Lisbon food market at Rua dos Sapadores 1
Open every day except Tuesdays from 12:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m

A tip before going to this or any other restaurant in Portugal is that if you don’t eat your entrée, you don’t have to pay for it. However, this restaurant has one of the best aperitif from Lisbon and Portugal, so you can enjoy their artisan cheeses and fresh bread with taste, it is certainly worth it.

3. Farol Restaurante Cervejaria in Alfama

Farol cervejaria in Lisbon

Farol cervejaria in Lisbon, sourced from the fork

For those tourists returning after visiting the Museu do Azulejo, there is a local restaurant very close to the Santa Apolonia train station in Alfama. It is the Farol Restaurante Cervejaria which remains open until Sundays. Not all restaurants near a train station are the best option, but this is one of the few exceptions to which it is worth giving a chance.

The atmosphere of this restaurant is quite traditional and at first glance, you can notice that the food they offer is all local. The main stage of the traditional cuisine is the sea counter, followed by some tables distributed throughout the restaurant. If you wish you can sit at the tables outside and enjoy another view.

By checking the menu you can confirm that the dishes are authentic Portuguese cuisine. This restaurant serves good seafood and other seafood dishes. Visitors’ favorites include “powder a la lagareiro,” a Portuguese dish of octopus and other seafood cooked “a la lagareiro. It is about cooking the octopus with boiled or roasted potatoes, crushed, salted and mixed with seafood in olive oil with coriander and other herbs.

You can also taste some roasted sardines. A simple and traditional dish served with boiled potatoes, really simple but delicious.

 Located at Rua Caminhos de Ferro 106, in the Alfama district
Open every day from 6:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m

The prices of the dishes in this place can be a little higher than other restaurants in Lisbon, in addition, the service can be slow on some occasions. However, if you plan well, you can make the most out of your time and taste the delicious local Portuguese food that many other people love.

4. Mascote da Atalaia

Mascote Da Atalaia in Lisbon

Mascote Da Atalaia in Lisbon, sourced from mascotdeatalaia

Traditional Portuguese food is something very special for the Portuguese and even tourists. Another thing that identifies Portugal is fado. By the inhabitants of Portugal it has been considered as the soul of the country or even a symbol. In fact, it is in a Unesco cultural heritage.

Fado is a musical style, which originated in two of Lisbon’s oldest neighborhoods, Alfama and Bairro Alto. This music is characterized by melodies and melancholic lyrics. Previously this music could only be heard in bars of bad fame where only sailors and poor people of the city went to, but today it can be seen in the most sought after and popular places of the city.

And Mascote da Atalaia is one of those places, where you can not only enjoy a local and intimate atmosphere, but you can also appreciate fado. This is a restaurant where space is limited and tables are shared, but everything is a perfect there to listen to fado accompanied by good wine and some petiscos.

The menu of this restaurant is usually like a traditional menu: starter, main course, dessert, wine, and coffee. Among its local dishes is grilled tuna, accompanied by peppers and Portuguese stew with peas, chorizo, and a fried egg. These are two of the variety of dishes they offer.

For dessert, try the Ginja pudding, a sweet cherry liqueur worthy of Portugal. Or you can order the chocolate salami dessert, which has a marbled look made with exquisite chocolate and Maria biscuits.

The dishes prepared in this restaurant are quite simple but have a great taste and are of high quality. The portions are medium, but it really eats very well and you can enjoy good traditional fado music.

Mascote Da Atalaia in Lisbon

Mascote Da Atalaia in Lisbon, sourced from their site

Located at Rua da Atalaia 13-15, in Bairro Alto
Open Monday to Wednesday from 6:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m  & Thursday to Saturday from 6:00 p.m. to 3:00 a.m

If you want to enjoy or get to know the traditional music of Lisbon and at the same time a good local meal, then come to this place and enjoy both. If you can’t go in advance, make your reservation so you can enjoy a pleasant and unforgettable moment full of flavor and music.

5. Fábrica de Pastéis de Belém

Fresh pastel de nata – by ZhengZhou – Wikimedia Commons

Everyone who has visited Portugal has listened at least once to the popular pasteis de nata or pasteis de Belém. We are talking about egg custard cakes that have been prepared under the same recipe that the monks brought to a bakery in Belém in 1837. 

There is no doubt that these are Portugal’s most popular and symbolic desserts. Nowadays you can find this type of cakes in many bakeries in the country. However, it is unforgivable to go to Lisbon and not eat pastéis de nata in the place where they originated; in the Fábrica de Pastéis de Belém.

This recipe was brought by monks who were expelled during the 1820 revolution, and selling cakes was their way of making money. Soon after, the cakes became popular in the region by local visitors, and so shops were opened that began to sell them in the city.

Since then, the Fábrica de Pastéis de Belém has maintained the same recipe used by the monks to prepare cakes. Today they are so popular in the country that more than 10,000 cakes are prepared every day so that local visitors and tourists can taste this unique traditional Lisbon recipe.

There may be other sites selling custard cakes, but no one else has the authority to sell them under the name Belém Cakes. Although many come close to their taste, none have been able to match the original recipe.

These cakes are made from puff pastry dough, which has a lot of butter and is folded into different layers. The small cakes are filled with egg cream and then baked. These cakes are usually served hot with a strong Portuguese coffee, which is known as “bica” in Lisbon.

At the Fábrica de Pasteis, you can find not only cakes, but also other sandwiches, better known as tostadas, quiche, croissants, and other sandwiches that maintain a traditional and local flavor of the city.

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Located at Rua de Belém 84 – 92
Open every day from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 a.m