Best of Lisboa 2016

They say Lisboa has the best food, people, weather, and light, but who, where, and what are the best of the best? After extensive polling and tireless testing, Atlas has completed our 2016 list to help you through what we imagine will be quite an interesting next 365 days. Keep your head up, make and break resolutions, and above all, have fun out there in 2017.

Best all-you-can-eat sushi: Hayaci Restaurante Japonês. These are the best cuts of sashimi and the freshest assortment of sushi and rolls in town! At 10.90€ per person, make sure to wear some comfy pants. -Effie

Best aggressive service that doesn’t matter because the food is so good: Madragoa Cafe. For a wonderfully prepared steak with a side of arrogance, this spot in Madragoa wins the award. At times you wonder if the attitude is just a game, but when the food comes, the serious deliciousness reminds you they aren’t playing around. -Patricia

Best bar: O Botequim. It needs no introductions, and it’s pretty ecletic. The perfect place for a casual afternoon coffee, a tasty snack any time, a drink after dinner… or to get irreparably drunk throughout the night. -Levy Mealone

Honorable mention: O’Gilin’s Irish Pub and Trobadores

Best bartender: Francisco at O Cantinho da Saudade, of course. For the second year in a row, the award goes to this mixing genius and his passion for perfection. Cheers to you for your consistency, good sir! -Ellis

Best bifanas: A Parreirinha do Chile. Bifana is a typical Portuguese sandwich that you can find everywhere, but nobody cooks these pork steaks on bread better than the “king of bifanas,” as the owner of this small bar in Praça do Chile likes to be called. -Lorena

Best bike ride: The bike lane from Oriente to Campo Grande. A little bit of everything with few pedestrians in your way. -O Vádio

Best book shop: Ler Devagar. Still the number-one Lisbon shop to browse books and have a read with a drink and a cig late into the night. -O Vádio

Best bouldering wall: Vertigo. Aside from being the only bouldering cave in the city, this is also the best. The staff is really nice as is the atmosphere. Pop in for a climb or a slice of awesome chocolate cake and a beer at the cafe and just watch. -Eddie

Best brunch to take your mom to: Casa do Lago. Small rowing boats in the lake surrounding this garden café? Check. Amazing all-Portuguese cuisine? Yep. Can you afford it? Absolutely. -O Vádio

Best cafe with a view: Pollux. Yes, the best viewpoint (miradouro) of Lisbon is the ninth floor of a home decor store. Now it’s temporarily closed for remodeling and repairs, but it’s coming back soon! -Lorena

(For the truly in-the-know, nothing beats finding your hangout spot behind the fake flower arrangement section of Lisbon’s first shopping mall. Honoroable mention: Topo, but the drinks are more expensive here, albeit more varied and fine… -O Vádio)

Best chocolate croissant: Intensamente. It’s that little coffee place by the turnstiles at Cais do Sodre train station. May seem like a strange one but I swear these things are about 90% butter and make mornings bearable. -Pete B

Best cafe for croissants: La Boulangerie. This place in Santos has both the views and the vapors (of fresh, baked on-site croissants). You should go plain if you’re a purist, but my favorite it their croissant misto, with a fried egg yolk soaking gently into the buttery layers of flakes under a blanket of ham and cheese. Yum. -Ellis

Honorable mention: La Fabrica. -Patricia

Best cocktail: Herbs and Spices at O Cantinho da Saudade. Of course the best bartender will make the best cocktail. This one is on and off the menu and is currently undergoing an upgrade (!) but ask and you just might receive. Just tell Francisco that Atlas sent you. -Ellis

Best dingy late-night hole in the wall for interesting locals and cheap tequila shots: Flamingo Bar. Colorful characters late into the night, friendly staff, minimalist comfy decor, a painted pink flamingo outside. Somehow, it feels like a ghost of the legendary but now defunct Anos 60 Bar, on the same corner (soon to be a hotel, most likely). A breath of fresh air from the madness that pink street often becomes, and a five-minute walk from Martim Moniz. Good soundtrack too. -Ipad Bassman

Best dog-walk: Jardim da Quinta das Conchas. Grass, forest, lake, other fellow dogs, beer. No one gets bored. -Levy Mealone

Best English language school: The American School of Languages. If you are looking to spruce up your English skills, this is the place to do it. Classes are challenging yet relaxed. Once in the door, you willl feel comfortable enough to push yourself, and inspired enough to keep doing so. Just the right mix. -Ellis (Full disclosure: I teach there.)

Best fast-food joint: Pão Pão Queijo Queijo. Friendly place, friendly staff, friendly prices; the perfect comfort food for a proper hangover. A greasy whiff of fresh air in a heavily touristic area. -Levy Mealone

Best feel-sorry-for-yourself view: Miradouro de Nossa Senhora Monte. Before the tuk-tuk invasion, it was kind of a spiritual retreat any time of the day. Nowadays, in the middle of the night, when no one is watching, it’s still possible to smoke a cigarette in peace and feel miserable while contemplating the beauty of Lisbon. -Levy Mealone

Best folhados: O Botequim. Food is hard to come by late at night in Lisbon, so being able to walk into a bar with good drinks at 1am and order what can only be described as a god-given seitan pastry is incredible. This place would top my “best of” lists for many things (Atlas: See Best bar) but this really sets it apart. -Pete B

Best ice cream: Nannarella. Off of Rua São Bento toward Principe Real, you’ll find a brand new storefront, larger than the original closet-size space and more or less right next door. The business is growing, as are the lines for their deliciously creamy handmade ice creams and gelatos. Honorable mention: Amorino -Ellis

Best illegal Chinese: The restaurant at the top of the Escadinhas da Saude is good and cheap. It is owned by a super-nice couple who really know what they are doing in the kitchen. Their Portuguese and English are pretty poor but don’t let that stop you, my kidneys ain’t missing (Atlas: long story) and they make nice dumplings! -Patricia

Best interior decoration: Foxtrot. Ring the doorbell of this spot in Príncipe Real and enter one of the most iconic bars in Lisbon. Its art déco style, the soft lightning, and the great atmosphere will make you take a step back in time. It even has a cozy fireplace for the cold winter nights. -Effie

Honorable mention: Café da Garagem. -Patricia


Best interior to explore: Casa do Alentejo. Built in an amazing late 17th-century palace, this venue’s main objective is the promotion and preservation of Alentejo culture, acting as a multipurpose cultural space. The food here is amazing too. -Lorena

Honorable mention: Decadente, Palacio Chiado, Casa Independente

Best International Food Restaurant: Cantinho do Aziz. This is the Mozambican restaurant to visit. Go for the lamb chacuti, but call ahead and reserve because this place can get packed fast. -Levy Mealone

Best “in-the-know” rooftop terrace: Memmo Hotel in Alfama. The drinks are over-priced, the pool is a death trap, and the punters leave something to be desired, but the views from here are spectacular. Well known, but still worth checking out. -Pete B

Best Japanese food (not sushi): Tasca Kome. Great food that’s not all sushi (and no mayonnaise on sushi here), warm staff, and unlike 3/4 of the new breed of fancy Japanese restaurants in Lisbon today, these guys won’t pretend like they are fully reserved. -O Vádio

Best (legal) cheap Chinese food: Restaurant Xiang. For (legal) Chinese cuisine at a low price, you shouldn’t miss this spot in Telheiras. Oh, and you get to see live turtles in a small pond! Don’t worry, they’re just pets, not menu items. -Mário

Best live samba music: ArtCasa. This is an association, a bar, a gallery, ultimately an alternative space where something different happens each week. Every Sunday there is a dance party with Brazilian musicians playing the most authentic samba in Lisbon. -Lorena

Best margarita: Mez Cais in Cais do Sodré makes a mean margarita served in a jar with a salty/spicy rim mixture that goes perfectly well with any flavor you choose (though for us classic lime is the only option). The food is excellent as well and they have poblano peppers! Also, one of the friendliest and most efficient staff teams in the city. Olé! -Ellis

Best martini: Megan’s, at O’Gilin’s Irish Pub. She’s had a great teacher. -O Vádio

Best Mexican food: Pistola & Corazon. Their shared table concept, cheapish prices, and dedication to having varying degrees of spicy sauce and yummy salsa flowing (and mezcal) wins them the Mexican casual dining award. -Patricia

Pistola & Corazon, bar none. Worth it despite the non-stop hipster circus on the sidewalk during dinner time. – O Vádio

Best outdoor drinking: Jardim do Arco do Cego. This is a quadrangular garden with a lot of grass near Técnico University. There can be over 200 people there at once just drinking and sitting on the ground, the majority of which are college students, but there’s always room for one more. -Mário

Best place for a swordfight: Espada Negra. It’s only been around for one year, but, if you wanna learn to fight with swords, this spot in Benfica is the place. Choose from a variety of weapons like long sword, rapier, and British sabre. You read that right. -Mário

Best place to not buy drugs: Rua Augusta, leading up to Rossio train station. Just say no. The police are in on it and the gentlemen approaching you are well dressed and have visual stimuli to boot. Just say no, but don’t be rude. You are outnumbered. -Ipad Bassman

Best place to dance with your shoes off: Sport Clube Intendente. It’s not what it sounds like, it’s much much more. In a large space with a tiny bar, a couple huge billiard tables, and a massive room just for dancing, everyone has ample space to go footloose and shoeless. The music is always spot-on as the DJ has mastered the art of reading the crowd. -Patricia

Best place to dance with your shoes on: Titanic Sur Mer late nights, for the best vibe, good sound system, and excellent variety of musical styles. Even when the DJ “team” insists that DJs don’t have to mix music, just pick music and press play. (Hint: No. You’re a music selector, not a DJ in that case, ganjo. Go back to school.) -O Vádio

Honorable mention: Europa Bar. This bar in Cais do Sodré plays different types of electronica every night, normally from 23:30 ’till 4. Get there on Thursday night to catch some good old Drum and Bass! -Mário

Best place to get an adrenaline rush: Aqueduto Das Águas Livres. Walk along the old aqueduct and enjoy the stunning view, with the whole city at your feet. It’s worth it joining the guided tours organized by the Water Museum. -Effie

Best place to pick up a cougar: Pensão Amor. It’s no longer a brothel, but this bar does attract its fair share of hungry ladies, and the drinks aren’t cheap if you know what I mean.-Ellis

Honorable mentions: Park and Topo Bar

Best place to wander: LX Factory. For aimlessy wandering around, I would make my way through this area in Alcântara. It’s small but surprisingly packed with unsuspecting nooks and crannies, and a killer bookstore (Ler Devagar, see above) where you can read with a glass of wine. -Eddie

Best Portuguese IPA beer: Oitava Colina Urraca Vendavel IPA is all I ever really want these days. It seems I am not alone since most times I ask for it, they’re out (and sometimes they tell me before I even ask, truth be told). My plan B varies between Mean Sardine Amura or Dios Corvos Stardust depending on what there is in stock. -Ellis

Honorable mention: Sovina IPA. -O Vádio

Best Portuguese-teaching waiters: Café do Rio near Terreiro do Paço. They give you plenty of encouragement to learn the language and it’s all done in a lighthearted, fun manner. Also, it has one of the best burgers in Lisbon. Sorry to all the artisanal burger boutiques. -Eddie

Best rooftop hotel bar: Eden Hotel. Good view, usually empty during the day, outrageously bad drinks and service. Stick with beer, wine, or something neat, just don’t try the electric blue drink: you’ll have smurf lips and a headache the next morning for sure. Closes early. -Patricia

Best seafood by the docks: O Farol in Cacilhas. The service is swift, though not especially kind, but the seafood is fresh and the bread is served warm and smothered with butter. Try the clams and the shrimp in garlic sauce and save a piece of bread for what’s left of the dish. You’re in for some serious saucy action there. -Patricia

Best soup and a sandwich: The coffee kiosk at the entrance of São Jorge Cinema. They have great soups and sandwiches with plenty of tasty veggie options too. The staff, while all having a great standard of English, always encourage my slow painful attempts at speaking Portuguese with a smile and a reply. They also serve bottled Dois Corvos Metropolitan, so there’s that. -Eddie

Best spot to drink a lot for a little: Tacão Grande Bar. Beer warms my belly ever so. Here you’ll find a lot of good company and cheap beer to warm you up from the cold in Bairro Alto. -Máro

Best stream-of-consciousness best-of submission: Best place not to buy drugs: nobody buys drugs downstairs from the Sheraton in Saldanha, what are you talking about? Best dentist: I never had cavities (no joke) but I’d love to know one just in case. I have really really small fragile teeth! Best gynecologist: pew pew. -Anonymous

Best terrace: Casa Dos Amigos do Minho. One of the best terraces in Lisbon, in the heart of the Intendente neighborhood. Oh, and it serves delicious bacalhau too. -Lorena

Best weird dessert: Aromas e Temperos in Arroios has this Brazilian sobremesa called the sagu. I will not spoil the surprise, but it is tasty, weird, and memorable. -Alfredo

Best vegan sweets: The Argentinian café just off Portas do Sol, São Tomé 48 no 50. Vegan baked goods are hard to find in any city and Lisbon is no exception. This place serves it up by the slice and is the go-to spot for your vegan friends. Bonus, the staff are super friendly. Downside, they no longer serve pizzas, but you might find an Oitava Colina if you ask nicely. -Pete B

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