Best of Lisbon 2019

Where do you find the best Portuguese petiscos and the best pizza in Lisbon? How about the best spot to read a book? Or get naked? What's the best Lisbon music festival? Our team of intrepid locals have been eating, drinking, concert-going, and avoiding tourists during the past 12 months to bring you Atlas's Best of Lisboa, 2019 Edition.

Where do you find the best Portuguese petiscos and the best pizza in Lisbon? How about the best spot to read a book? Or get naked? What’s the best Lisbon music festival? Our team of intrepid locals have been eating, drinking, concert-going, and avoiding tourists during the past 12 months to bring you Atlas’s Best of Lisboa, 2019 Edition.

Best Restaurants by Cuisine

Best Portuguese Petiscos: A Maria Não Deixa

This newcomer to the scene has a modern feel and offers craft beer, but lest you think this is some hip new fusion joint, the menu here is all top-notch Portuguese classics. The size, along with the price, of the dishes means you can easily try many local staples without breaking the bank or the belt. – O Vadio

Best Indian Restaurant: No clue of the name
The one that sits above Praça Luís de Camões is hands down the best in the city for several reasons. One, it is very conveniently located. Two, the food is good and they have recently put together a full vegan menu (hip as feck). Three, they aren’t on Google. No idea why, but I feel like they’re fighting the system! They are located on Rua Chagas next to Sapato Verde. – Eden

Best Italian Restaurant: Osteria
You know what makes everything better? Pasta! Well-made, fresh, savory carbs blessed with loads of extra virgin olive oil and with a sauce that’s been simmering for hours. Try the pasta al ragu and the pasta “al beetroot pesto” with a jar of the most Italian of sangrias. Important tip: when asked “extra cheese?”, nod your head and rub your tummy approvingly! Their Parmigiano and Pecorino are on point. We love the intimate set-up and the Italian details: the classic red-and-white-check tablecloth, a likeness of the Pope strategically placed right above the bar, the Christmas lights adding a festive feel, and the happy, poppy Italian tunes that provide the perfect soundtrack to a romantic dinner. – Patricia

Best Japanese Restaurant: Tasca Kome
Warning: if you like Japanese food, this might ruin it for you as it will make other sushi places seem a bit average in comparison. Tasca Kome serves your palate a unique experience of textures and flavors. – David

Honorable Mention: Bonsai
It’s not often that I show up at 19h for dinner, but I’d do anything to get a table here. The sushi is impeccably prepared, and the authenticity of the other Japanese dishes on the menu (just try to pronounce them all!) adds even more to the experience. If you’ve ever lived in Japan, you’ll feel right at home. – Ellis

Best Chinese Restaurant: Grande Palácio Hong Kong
This place wins every time with proper dim sum all day (and night) and the best chicken feet and spicy squid. It’s the only place in LX to get Hainanese chicken rice with ginger sauce, if you’re into that kind of thing. – Pearlie

Honorable Mention: O Norte da China
A place that warns you it that will take 15 to 20 minutes to prepare the dumplings will normally piss off this diner. Except I had a sneaking suspicion that they would make the dumplings from scratch and not from a frozen bag. And they did. And they brought about five other dishes that were just as attentively prepared. It’s been here for two dozen years for a reason. – O Vadio

Best Nepalese Restaurant: Miteri
With super smiley service and fantastic fare for both vegetarians and carnivores alike, this is the spot to get your daahl, cheesy naan, and a plate of momos on. – Malte and Sofia

Best “Clandestino” Chinese Restaurant: Amigo Lee’s
“Clandistino” is in quotes because, let’s face it, “illegal Chinese” is just a cool thing to say nowadays in Lisbon, like “eco-friendly clothing,” or “artisanal vegan burger.” Nevertheless, for the second year in a row, Amigo Lee’s (not actual name) at the top of Escadinhas de Saude (not appropriately named, since they now have an escalator) remains the best place for authentic, made-with-love Chinese food in Lisbon. The decor, like the food, is all handmade by Lee, the service is impeccable, and the prices remain fair, despite their growing popularity. Make sure to keep the noise down as their upstairs neighbor is a jealous, psychopathic, semi-homicidal AirBnB host. So it goes… – Bogdan Kamuta

Best Asian RestaurantBoa Bão
I never thought I could ever love an eatery that serves Thai, Cambodian, Chinese, and a bunch of other Asian cuisines all in one restaurant. Until I was taken here. – O Vadio

Best Brunch Spot: La Boulangerie
It’s Sunday. It’s been a tough week and you earned yourself a bunch of freshly baked, buttery croissants and perfect pain au chocolat! A side of crunchy granola and fresh yogurt, a platter of cheese, ham, and salami, a tasty salad, and too many types of bread to remember. A freshly squeezed vitamin-packed juice of the day and your favorite choice of coffee. It’s all there. Bonus points for the cozy terrace with high tables and chairs, and for the intimate interior smelling of fresh-from-the-oven French goods. – Roxanne

Best Vegetarian Spot: Natural Foods
This is a vegetarian’s heaven: there’s always a wide selection of tofu and seitan dishes, superb stews, flavorful rice mixes, luscious salads, and much more. You only need to choose whether you want a combination of three, four, or five dishes, and the price is dirt-cheap. I always get the small plate of three dishes and can rarely finish that. Plus, the staff seem to have stepped out of a Zen monastery and make you feel welcomed and loved. – Patricia

Honorable MentionSama Sama
The first time you ride a bike, your first kiss, and your first Sama Sama crepe: what do they all have in common? You’ll remember them forever. Sama Sama has done for the crepe what Tesla has done for the motor industry — taken something that was already well established and done it their own way. With delicious flavors and an ever-evolving menu, this is a Lisbon must-go for everyone. – Senhor Santos

Best Restaurant to Satisfy Both Meat-Eaters and Vegetarians: Estaminé 1955
It can be hard when a group is a mix of carnivores and veggies. But fear not, Estaminé has you covered with delicious veggie or succulent meat burgers at a great price. What more could you want? – Senhor Santos

Best Dishes and Drinks

Best Salgados: Pastelaria Vita
Nothing beats Senhor Abreu’s salgados, so his fried and salted snacks win hands down. I’ve been to plenty pastelarias, and this one is just better. The food, a loyal crowd, friendly owners. Can’t beat it. – Paul

Best Late-Night Munch: A Merendeira
Waiting for the first metro after a night out, or just off the metro and preparing for a night out, this place is always open for pão com chouriço and caldo verde soup. (It surely closes at some stage… but I’ve never seen it!) – Ted
[Editor’s note: They also have pão com queijo, my veggie friends.]

Best Ice Cream: Nannarela
For the third year in a row, this place is the clear winner. Fresh ingredients, the highest quality milk, and the perfect cooling temperature make their ice creams creamy to perfection. When asked “would you like cream on top?” the answer is a resounding YES. – Patricia

Honorable Mention: Amor Gelado in Cacilhas makes some darn fine ice cream. Worth a trip across the Tejo. – Walter

Best Burger: Topo Chiado
Although Topo only offers a couple of choices of burger, they are to die for. And paired with the view and one of their outdoor movies in the warmer months, the whole experience is simply the best. – Emily

Best Steak: Carvoaria Jacto
For the second year in a row, we are still all about their impressive array of meaty goods and the salad bar that will satisify even the most vegetarian of your friends (who was reluctantly dragged to this Mecca of steaks). The Posta Mirandesa is what the carnivores should be aiming for. One steak can satisfy two people unless you’re a friendly giant who hasn’t been fed in a while. These guys err on the bloody side of things so if you want it well-done, request “extra, extremely, very well-done, and my apologies to the chef for the sacrilege.” Served in a heavenly puddle of olive oil and garlic, the steaks don’t need anything else except french fries and a bottle of red. – Roxanne

Honorable Mention: Ofício. This place has great steaks and other meats. Really good new place in Chiado. – Paul

Best Meat Out of Town: A Capelinha do Monte
Whatever leads you to Caldas da Rainha, you won’t regret staying for the bife com molho de alho (steak with garlic sauce). Simple, cheap, tasty, and habit-forming. – Alfredo

Best Pizza: Forno d’Oro
Great-quality pizza, good wine, and exceptional service. I went there soaked to the bone, bedraggled, covered in paint, and without a reservation. But they still managed to get us a table and make it a wonderful evening. Definitely worth checking out, but get a reservation (don’t be like me). – Eden

Best Chocolate Cake: Casa Independente
These guys make a mean chocolate cake: moist, dense, and oh so chocolatey! It’s the perfect thing to eat on a rainy afternoon past 00h00 after you’ve had a couple gin and tonics. – Patricia

Best Lemonade: Terraço do Marquês
There are a lot of great lemonades out there but the best of the best is found in Parque Eduardo VII at this cafe with a view. Fresh lemons, a sprig of mint, and a stick of cinnamon take this simple drink to the next level. – Ellis

Best Margarita: Guacamole
Get the big jar and share it with your friends…or with strangers and make some new friends. And while you’re at it, why not throw in some jalapeño poppers? When in Mexico… – Patricia

Best New Craft Beer: Wit Cinco de Abril (Gallas)
The witty name is not the only good thing about it. It’s not too wheaty, and with a touch of orange for the craic! Gallas has recently opened up their own brewpub near Graça, called 21 Brewpub, so pop in and talk to the brewers themselves! – Ted

Best-Named Craft Beer: Mick Lager
Musa has done it again with their fresh-flavored Vienna Lager that promises to bring out your “Sympathy for the Devil.” If the name alone isn’t reason enough to try it, it will also give you an excuse to go to Fábrica Musa in Marvila, one of the coolest spots to sip some suds in town. – Ellis

Best Organic Craft Beer: Jar of Stars by Trevo do Caparica
This APA is certified oganic. I particularly like the fresh taste, bitterness, and citrus flavor mixed with the earthy smell. – Malte

Best Hangover Cure: Sama Sama‘s Ginger Shot
I’m not typically one for ginger, but there’s something magical that happens when you suck down one of these. Aside from putting some pep in your sluggish step, this shot will prevent any embarrassing bouts of nausea, and even reduce the puffiness in your face. – Ellis

Best of Music, Sports, and Leisure

Best Music Festival of the Year: Festival Iminente
Portuguese prices, a Portuguese landmark, a strong Portuguese lineup, and a surprise performance by Fatboy Slim… what more could you ask for? – Ted

The organizers managed to get every aspect spot on. From the music, to the location at Panorámico to the high-quality street art that covered the walls, it was a highlight of an already great summer in Lisbon. – Eden

Best Basketball Court: Monsanto
Surrounded by trees, and with a view of the Tejo and Ponte 25 de Abril, it’s the most beautiful basketball court I’ve ever played on. A huge range of people use it: Portuguese, Africans, Swedes, French, you name it. Definitely the strongest b-ball community is there. – Paul

Best Classical Concert Hall: The Grand Auditorium at the Gulbenkian Foundation
It gets everything right and then some, in a town that has a plethora of beautiful concert venues. Gulbenkian’s main concert hall has the perfect acoustics, the most comfortable seats, the kindest and most efficient staff, and a two-story window behind the stage overlooking the gorgeous garden. A concert here is guaranteed to be a treat. – O Vadio

Best English-Language Bookstore: Bivar Books
For the best selection of books in English, Bivar remains at the top, especially since they have a trade in policy. – Paul

Best Place to Read a Book Indoors: Cafe de Garagem
This is the place to kick back and relax. The set-up is cozy and intimate, with great attention to detail: every single piece of decor has a story behind it. Located inside a theatre, there’s a certain hint of bohemian chic and a sense of quiet sophistication. The view is magical, particularly when the golden light fills up the space just before sunset. Enjoy a glass of wine and a homemade chocolate cake! The downside? These days it seems to be closed more often than not. – Patricia

Honorable Mention: Biblioteca Palácio Galveias
This spot in Campo Pequeno is one of Lisbon’s oldest municipal libraries (opened in 1928), and aside from being beautiful, it has a great history. The original owners, the Távoras, were executed after the Távora affair of 1759, and the palace was seized by the crown. Now how’s that for a backdrop to your favorite novel? – Walter

Honorable Mention: The Ferry to Cachilhas
I was once so engulfed in the book I was reading that I stayed on the ferry back and forth for three trips. Now, I’m not saying it was the ferry that kept me reading under the confused stares of the ferry workers. But if you want an interesting literary experience, try it out. – Niall

Best Viewpoint: Miradouro Santa Catarina
Oh, wait…..Refer to Mr. Flaherty’s article for more and prepare to get good and pissed off. – Ted

Honorable Mention: The Top of the Elevator at Pizza no Patio
With the bridge humming away on your left, you can look out over the city and spot your favorite landmarks with a group of buddies. There is actually a nicer view up higher, but it does require a hop over a fence and I can’t quite remember where this fence is. – Niall

Best Vintage Store: Retro City Lisboa
This vintage store is massive, with beautiful blazers, jumpers (hoodies for you American-English thugs), shoes, hats, coats, shirts, bits and bobs, and even thingamajiggies! – Niall

Best Street for a Walk: Rua do Ginjal
This is hands down the nicest walk you can do in Lisboa, but a word of advice: you’re not actually in Lisboa anymore. You’re on the other side now, where life moves a little slower.. ” Slower than Lisboa?” you ask in astonishment. Yes, it’s possible. To the right of Rua do Ginjal is the Tejo and Lisboa, and on the left is a maze of abandoned buildings to duck and dive into. If you time your walk for sunset, you are most certainly in for a treat. Bring a camera, or, better yet, bring that friend who has the really good camera. – Niall

This is a place that has been taking my breath away and inspiring me since I began living here. So many factors contribute to this: The seclusion, the scenery, the buildings that line the river, and the river itself, to name just a few. I’ve been there in times of sadness, happiness, depression, and contemplation. Gone for a stroll, ran with purpose, carried found treasures, brought a girl on a date, and shot a music video. This is my place of places in Lisbon. – Senhor Santos

Best Thing to Do With Kids: Reserva de Burros
Walk with donkeys along a trail through the misty forests of Sintra. There’s nature, beautiful light, and donkeys. Open on weekends, and you can take your three- to 12-year-old. They’ll go nuts. – Pearlie

Best Nightlife

Best Club: Damas
Many of my most unforgettable (and yet forgotten) nights have ended (or begun) at this delightful venue. My first time there, I was walloped in the face with a wave of heat given off by the infestation of dancers in the venue, this wave was shortly followed by the sonic manifestations of what I can only describe as a gypsy-funk-trippy-techno-mindblowingly talented group of musicians. I’m still hunting down who they were. If you happen to know any bands that fit the description, let me know. – Niall

Honorable MentionTitanic
I have a sinking feeling that anyone who goes there once will assume to know what the general style of music is on other nights. Well, that would only be the tip of the iceberg, because Titanic’s program is extremely diverse and random. I would recommend embracing the surprise on any given night, it should be good whatever rocks your boat. -David

Best Hole In The Wall: A Capela
Survivor of the Lisbon ’90s nightlife. Go check it. – David

Best New Bar: Palheta
As we say goodbye to A Viagem, Palheta takes its place. And what a place. Opening early this summer, this labor of love ticks all the right boxes. It’s close enough to the nightlife hubbub of Cais do Sodré to be convenient, but far enough away to avoid the chaos. There is a selection of drinks for everyone’s tastes, from top-shelf rum and inventive cocktails to the humble 1€ imperial. There are great live gigs and jam sessions throughout the week, and the crowd tends to be friendly enough. – Eden

Best Open Mic Night: Camones
This welcoming open mic is run by the infamous maestro, Shaka who also plays percussion for Melting Pot and strange instruments whose names I can’t pronounce. Each edition (held every second Tuesday) brings a new range of creative styles. Shaka khan, Shaka will. – Ted

Best Bartender: Frankie at Palheta
Palheta is also known as Frankie’s place. Several Atlas contributors have followed Frankie to his third bar for a reason. If you ask Francisco where the best cocktails are in Lisbon, he may send you to some other bar, because he’s humble, but his cocktails are in fact still better. – O Vadio

Best Club to Get Really Sweaty: Copenhagen Bar
For the times you’re really done with it all, you need to dance it out. Sweaty, grimy, and luscious — Copenhagen Bar in Cais de Sodre is the answer to all your prayers. It gets crowded around 2am, and mind you, it will become much like a sauna (so you technically get double value: clubbing AND hammam!). So, thank god that this is the place where nobody will give you the stink eye if you lose the shirt— just don’t show off your pec dance. Ready to bust some old school moves? Word of advice: you may want to practice a bit at home before. People here can D-A-N-C-E! – Patricia

Best Rock Show Venue: Lisboa ao Vivo
An excellent location in Marvila, not too big, not too small, with room up front for crowd surfing and moshing and a quieter upstairs where you can take your pregnant wife, solid acoustics and fast bartenders. Perfect. – O Vadio

Best Place to Get a Drink After Work: Metro e Meio
Serving for more than 20 years, this place has a nice staff, good drinks, cozy ambiance, and decent prices. It’s the perfect spot for a drink after work or after dinner — just cross the 1,5-meter door and see for yourself. It was one of my best discoveries of 2018. – Alfredo

Best Bar to See What Cais do Sodré Was Like Before the Boutique Hotels: American Bar After 2am
The good, the bad, the ugly, and the very very ugly all show up here. You’ll either fit right in or never return. The bartenders, who deserve PhDs in psychotherapy, ensure all are welcome and none are violent. – O Vadio

The Best of Everything Else

Best Park for Sunbathing: Tapada das Necessidades
A gorgeous park with lavish meadows,hidden picnic spots, and an unexpected cactus forest. You’ll likely run into peacocks, and potentially a bunch of scary ducks — be warned! All in all, it’s a perfect place to shed some layers and catch some sun. Don’t go in your birthday suit, though, there are children there, for crying out loud! – Patricia

Best Free Toilets: Time Out Market
The urinals overflow after lunchtime sometimes, so wear shoes, and the motion-detecting wash basins don’t always motion-detect, and the line for the women’s bathroom can be brutal, but what can you really expect from a place that charges 5 euros for a glass of wine? McDonald’s and Starbucks come in close seconds, but they keep installing those locks that require a purchase to get the code. – O Vadio

Best Market: Feira da Ladra
Whatever you are looking for: clothes, vinyl records, espresso cups, medieval armor, or sex toys (both new and used), this place has it all. Try haggling with your handful of Portuguese phrases or simply walk around and take it all in. -Senhor Santos

I adore strolling around The Thieves’ Market, soaking in the atmosphere, the music played by the buskers, seeing a cool jacket you could of sworn you saw in a vintage store only yesterday. I even love the shouting to and fro as the vendors search for change when I stupidly produce a €20 note for the array of shite I’m purchasing thinking I might one day create something out of it, but also knowing I most likely never will. But hey that’s the fun of being the lazy “artist” ain’t it? – Niall

Best Construction Site: The New CUF Tejo Hospital
It’s going up in front of the Alcântara Mar station along Avenida 24 de Julho, and it’s always busy, always professional, and at least appears to be completely under control. I’m impressed, especially because… Best example of a bad construction site? Any of the scaffolded “renovation” works on the street where you live, which will be completed in “duas semanas” — the standard answer for when it will actually take several months or years. – O Vadio

Best Place to Avoid Tourists: Palácio Baldaya
Tourists are nice and welcome but sometimes we just need a place to forget we live in this amazing city. Among other reasons, this is a good place to finish that book you’ve been reading all year. – Alfredo

I’m still searching. – David

Best Place to Feel Like You’re in the Southern USA: Hottie
This is a new American restaurant on Rua Santa Marta. The owner is a Lisboeta who lived as an exchange student for a year in….wait for it…. Little Rock, Arkansas. He lived with three different families— a wealthy southern family, a professor couple, and roughneck construction workers. He got the whole spectrum of the south and has maintained an affinity for the U.S. ever since. The restaurant has fantastic ribs, BBQ sauce made with marshmallows, quesadillas, all kinds of hot dogs, and even mac and cheese. – Paul

Best Place to Get Cultured: Pessoa e Companhia
I went here for a poetry event and by the end of it I swear we were one big family of word slingers. I read over the titles on the shelves which included many different languages, and the woman behind the counter was ever so lovely. I just love the look and feel of the place where all these letters reside. I must go back there… – Niall

Best Place to Get Naked: Portinho da Arrabida
Walk east of the beach until you have a bunch of rocky coves. Get cozy. Get naked. Light the joint. Say hi to the adventurous tourists that will eventually walk by. – Paul

Best Place to Instagram Your Pancakes: Heim Cafe
Sure, you’ll have to wait in line, but you won’t be alone — you’ll have your phone and other aspiring food-bloggers testing photo filters for their brunch right there with you. The pancakes are great, but your pictures make them even better. I think I speak for everyone when I say, thank you. – Ellis

Best Place to Kill an Hour: Crafty Corner
Take one of the leather seats on the top floor and relax. Be it with a book, or getting some work done at your computer, it’s a great spot; good music selection, all the beers you can imagine, and the friendliest staff. And, if you’re getting hungry, get yourself a heavenly crepe by Sama Sama — the next door neighbors! – Patricia

Honorable Mention:Alfama
Taking a walk around Alfama, you’ll see something you weren’t expecting to, meet some random people and get lost. – Emily

Best Place to Pretend Everything Will Be Okay: Jardim Amália Rodrigues
It’s somewhat secluded from the bustle of Lisbon, it’s peaceful, and you can see the whole city from up there. – Emily

Honorable Mention: Rio Maravilha
When things are “Meh, not the best,” try an epic sunset at this spot in LX Factory. Keep it simple and enjoy a glass of w(h)ine with a spectacular view. Try your best not to gently nudge one of the too many tourists taking silly selfies with the bridge as backdrop…they could fall right off the roof. – Roxanne

Best Place to Watch Lisbon Burn: Martim Moniz
If you’ve been in Lisbon for more than a couple of months, you know Martim Moniz. If you’ve been to Martim Moniz recently, you have seen the horrors of the wave of gentrification that is destroying this beautiful little town. Some are considering violence, vandalism, immigration…But if you’re one of those people who just want to watch the world burn, go check out this desolate wasteland that until now was a vital organ of the soul of Lisbon, and maybe pour out a sip of your litrosa for the fallen. – Bogdan Kamuta

Best Place to Warm Your Cold Soul: Bistro Edelweiss
If the coziness of the space, the friendly owners and staff, and the all-wood interior don’t warm your cockles, the cheese fondue will. – O Vadio

Best Spot to Be Face-to-face With the Portuguese President: Bus Stop on Praça de Espanha
There’s a chance his car will stop in traffic right in front of it with the window open and you’ll nod and smile awkwardly at each other for a few very long seconds. Not very convenient to take a so-called Marselfie though. – David

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