Best of Lisbon 2020

Another year brings with it another batch of bests, another smattering of stand-outs, and another assortment of achievements. Our collaborators and Atlas’ extended family have banded together once more to celebrate our favorite spots around the city who deserve a pat on the back for doing what they do so well. Let’s put it together for them, people — rewarding good behavior is so 2020.

Best Restaurants by Cuisine

Best Chinese Restaurant: Mr. Lu
Mr. Lu is the go-to for cheap, greasy, flavorful, centrally-located, no-frills Chinese food — a great spot for a group dinner and also the perfect hangover order from Uber Eats, if you live nearby-ish. Try the spicy duck! – Meghan
I second that! I especially recommend Mr. Lu’s hot and sour soup and crepes. – Jess

Best Italian Restaurant: Ruvida
Summertime on the terrace out front is the best time to go, but you can watch them folding homemade gnocchi and shredding homemade linguini right behind the counter year-round. This Italian corner restaurant has such an inventive menu of delicious dishes and excellent pairings that it’s a struggle to make your final choice! – Ellis
Honorable Mention: Italy Caffe. You have to get the house pasta. Two words: truffles and heaps of Parmigiano. It’s also excellent for big groups! – Patri

Best Korean BBQ: Han Table Barbecue
Korean BBQ never really took off in the U.S. because, you know, lawsuits. Lisbon, however, is not the U.S. It understands common sense, like, coffee can be hot and cats are not microwaveable. That said, it took some time for the town to catch on to the magic of table BBQ. Han opened its doors in early 2019 and, according to the staff, was the first of its kind in Lisbon. There are now at least three such spots. Han seems to be number-one in more ways than one, and here’s an indication that backs up that claim: in a matter of months, Han went from being semi-empty to reservation-only. But it’s still delish, and shockingly affordable. WARNING: The middle of your table is very hot; be careful. – Bogdan Kamuta

Best Nepalese Restaurant: Sagarmatha Momo Restaurant
Cheap, cheerful, and tasty food that proves that ambiance isn’t everything. You can’t go wrong here with anything you order, especially if you split a lot of dishes with your dinner companions— along with a bottle of wine. – Eddie

Best Portuguese Petiscoes: A Maria Não Deixa
For the second year in a row, the choice is clear: this spot has you covered if you want to explore the wild and wonderful world of the Portuguese version of tapas. Chouriço, peixinhos da horta, and the choco frito are particularly delicious. – Anabela

Best Vegetarian Portuguese Petiscoes: Boteco da Linha (Sao Pedro de Estoril) It’s a bit far, but it’s well worth the ride on the CP Comboio. Get crispy peixinhos da horta, sauteed mushrooms with asparagus, and ovos mexidos with farinheira…to start. Life is amazing! – Patri

Best Dishes and Drinks

Best Bacalhau à brás: O Gaiteiro
When you want the Portuguese cod-friendly version of macaroni and cheese comfort food, this is the place to get it. Silvia and her staff make it fresh every day with amazingly fresh shoestring potatoes, fresh bacalhau pieces, and the perfect blend of garlic and egg. It’s the place both the blue-collar and white-collar locals go to scratch their bacalhau a brás itch, so you know it’s gotta be good. And you can’t beat the price. – Ellis

Best Bifana: O Trevo
Bourdain was right. It’s f*cking good. Why? Because it’s simple, it’s fast, and the homemade piri piri sauce is heaven in the form of malagueta pepper vinegar. Sure, it says “molho inglês” on the bottle, but the locals know that ain’t Worcestershire sauce. That’s love in a squeeze bottle made to perfectly compliment the expertly-marinated pork on the bun. Beer in one hand, bifana in the other, it’s the perfect pairing. Not into pork? Try the prego with cheese. Mmmmm. – Ellis

Best Bitoque: Floresta Oriental
It’s creamy, it’s yummy, it’s tender… You can’t go wrong here with any dish really, but the bitoque is especially sublime. This family business is run by a mom, dad, and two very nice sisters. They came from Minho and brought with them their recipes and ingredients. The best, cheapest, coolest comfort food in town. – Jess

Best Brunch Spot: Manifest
Top-notch everything. From delicious coffee to perfectly poached eggs and a sublime croque madame — this is what dreams are made of. The music is always good (nobody will judge you if you Shazam away throughout your two-hour brekkie) and they have a great selection of artists on display. -Patri
Honorable Mention: The Mill. Amazing Australian brunch inspired by Portuguese flavors and ingredients! Order a flat white and avocado toast for peak hipster vibes. (Note from the editor: Don’t forget to insta that sh*t.) – Melissa

Best Burger: Gutsy
Perhaps what makes this burger place “the best” is the inventive menu. Pehaps it’s the lack of concepts. Perhaps it’s the elbow room and the bespoke images hanging on the walls. Perhaps the lack of muzak. Whatever it is, this is the best burger experience I’ve had in Lisbon in a long time. No steak knives, no frills, no fuss. Just the way a burger should be. – Ellis

Best Craft Beer: Urraca Vendavel IPA by Oitava Colina AND Alley Cat Amber Ale by A.M.O. Brewery
The Urraca has yet to be beat. It’s just a lovely, consistent, well-balanced IPA. But also I would give A.M.O. a good shout too with their alley cat amber ale. They also make a fantastic coffee pale ale… all their beers have been pretty ace this year for that matter! – Eddie

Best Fried Chicken: K-Bob
Korean-style fried chicken done perfectly every time, with a slightly sweet, slightly spicy side sauce. Yes. Heaps of deliciousness served aside shredded cabbage topped with a yogurt mayo sauce can feed one or split nicely between several with other dishes to share. This is one of the main reasons to go to the Mercado Oriental in Martim Moniz — another is the pairing of this chicken basket with a Kirin Ichiban. Finger-licking heaven! – Ellis

Best Hangover Cure: Sama Sama‘s Lemon Mate
Some nights you wish you’ll never forget often mean some mornings you wish you could. To deal with this existential crisis and monumental cerebral pounding, I go straight to Sama Sama for the lemon mate necessary to get my head right. – Eddie

Best Ice Cream: Gelato Davvero
Aside from having sublime, delicious, velvety homemade ice cream flavors like pastel da nata, bolo bolacha, creamy vanilla, and kickass mint chocolate, did you know you can order an affogato al caffe? A coffee with ice cream, that is. Boom. – Patri
Honorable Mention: Quinta dos Açores. Ice cream from the Azores, with incredible flavors like fig jam and Dona Amélia — and free toppings! – Melissa

Best Marisqueira Platter: O Escondido
Cacilhas is a fisherman’s town so it’s no wonder that this is the best (and cheapest) place to get fresh seafood in town. Look for a grill, tables outside, a chalkboard, and blankets (if it’s wintertime) and you’ve found one of many “best” marisqueira places in Cacilhas. We like this one in particular for the service, the setting, the búzios, clams, shrimp, and crab legs, and buttered toast (but the crab dip could use a little more hardboiled egg, pickles, and beer or mayonnaise, if we’re splitting hairs). Regardless of the missing ingredients, our stomachs keep leading us back here. – Ellis
Honorable Mention: O Farol. Also in Cacilhas, this is the first restaurant you see upon arrival on the ferry. Although the Bifana ao Balcao is great, if you’re staying put here for dinner, it has to be the seafood! It’s old school. – Senhor Santos

Best Pancakes Without Pretense: Aquarium House Café
This spot is run by a super nice couple (and their small daughter). It’s hidden next to the Sapadores market and has a very nice terrace. Here, there’s a local feel and lots of options for food, snacks, and drinks. Try the pancakes— seriously! – Maria

Best Pho: Pho-Bo
Spice it up, go ape with the basil, or sweeten it with extra plum sauce, you can’t make a bad mix when the broth, meat, and noodles swim together so perfectly as they do in this pho. This delicious treat has us returning time and time again to the Mercado Oriental, eager to slurp down another helping and warm up our insides on a cold rainy day. – Ellis

Best Pizza: DaVito
Always and forever, this place in Graça is consistently fantastic. It’s not fancy; there’s very little ambiance to speak of, but that’s not why you go. You go for the pizza. There will never be a rival to the Don Vito at DaVito. – Jess
Honorable Mention: Zero Zero.The authentic Italian ingredients (truffle pizza…yes grazi!) and excellent wines paired with a cozy interior and a gorgeous terrace overlooking Jardim Botanico make this “the” place to have a wonderful pizza. – Patri

Best Poke: Big Fish
Fresh, delicious, central. Great cocktails to start, good service, and fresh poke bowls with a lot of ways to customize. It might be a bit pricey, but I promise it’s worth it. – Jess

Best Ramen: Panda Cantina
If you’re looking for both meat and vegetarian ramen options, look no further: their tofu ramen is absolutely delicious and my carniverous friends swear by their pork ramen. You can choose your own level of spicy from 0-5…I recommend 3! – Sofia
Honorable Mention: Ajitama. Close to home (well, it’s close to mine) yet absolutely delicious ramen in an adorable stylish space. – Jess

Best Soup Outside of Lisbon: O Central
This restaurant in Pinhal Novo might not look like much from the outside, but go in and let the food do the talking. Order literally anything on the menu from beef to octopus and you won’t leave disappointed. If anything you might be overstuffed, but whatever you do save room for soup. Their version of the sopa da pedra will have you fantasizing about stews for weeks. It’s the perfect combination of veggies and meat, and goes down far too fast. – Ellis

Best Special-Occasion Restaurant: Gambrinus
This old-school special occasion restaurant has it figured out. First, the waiters wear matching burgundy blazers and have their division of labor down to a science. Secondly, whatever it is they do to their house shrimp (Gambas da Nossa Casa) makes you wonder what you’ve been doing wrong all this time in your own kitchen. The impeccable humor of the staff, their flair for making their famous crepe Suzette, and the fact that you can get coffee made in a glass balloon make this restaurant particularly special. – Ellis

Best Three+ Hour Lunch: Último Porto
Sometimes you just know you’re not going to get anything done after lunch, and if it’s that day, may we suggest you head straight to this port-side restaurant, take the recommendation from the waiter who may or may not have had a few ginginhas and enjoy the fish that will be grilled in the parking lot behind the restaurant as you look at the loading docks and the Tejo behind the fence. I know this doesn’t sound like the most scenic seafood experience, but it could be precisely why the fish here is so much better than the coiffed and manicured simulacra that passes for seafood on the new Lisbon waterfront otherwise. This, ladies and gents, is the real deal. – O Vadio

Best Vegan Spot: Vegan Junkies
Great vegan junk food! Try out the amazing Nuthin But A J’Thing burger. Highly recommended, also for non-vegans. – Senhor Santos
Honorable Mention: O Gambuzino. Most of the things on their menu are vegan (the others are vegetarian), but allll the desserts are vegan and incredible! – Maria

Best Vegetarian Spot: Moko Veggie Cafe. All their cakes are amazing but try the apple pie at this small place in Anjos. The owners are super sweet as well. – Janneke
Honorable Mention: Oasis. The beetroot lasagna will make you want to curl up against all sorts of things. In a good way. – Patri

Best of Music, Shopping, Sports, and Leisure

Best Bodega: Sarkar Supermercado
Not all minimarkets are created equal. This one carries 12 types of mushrooms, five types of sweet potatoes, weird imported sauces, chinese vegetables, craft beer, an insane amount of canned fish, and a huge winery that’s larger than the rest of the place. They also carry bodega staples like cigarrettes and gummy bears, but here you can also find cooked meals. – Jess

Best Bookstore for English Books: Bookshop Bivar
The best selection of used books in English! The owners are wonderful, and there’s a whole room downstairs with super cheap (and good) books for sale. – Melissa

Best Flea Market: Dona Ajuda
If the idea of a bunch of concept stores in a renovated building gives you the creeps but you’re in the market for a used suit or a handmade gift, say, you’ll find it here. Open every day except Sunday, this well-hidden flea market has something for everyone. Antiques, used clothing, bric-a-brac, books, and more. Some days are busier than others, but it’s always a joy to peruse. – O Vadio
Honorable Mention: Anjos70. This is a flea market with a lot of variety and local artists selling cool stuff you won’t find anywhere else. – Maria

Best Museum You’ve Never Heard of: Museu Geológico
This local gem has some of the oldest artifacts in Lisbon, and that’s just in the display cabinets. Don’t be tempted to stay too late— they will lock you in. – Eden

Best Music Festival: Super Bock Super Rock
I’m basing this purely on lineup, because I find the fact that you have to trek to Meco, especially if you don’t have a car, to be kind of annoying. That said, SBSR’s lineup is consistently stacked with not only the best of Portugal, but top-notch imports (in recent years: Anderson.Paak, Tom Misch, Princess Nokia, Kaytranada, FKJ) without a lot of fluff. Plan ahead and grab a group for glamping! – Meghan

Best Place to Get Cultured: Galveias Palace Library
Tiles, gardens, cozy nooks for reading, dreaming, working or making out. Please keep your voice down; we got shushed! – Patri

Best Place to Read a Book Indoors: Fábulas Café (RIP…)
The food is good, the drinks aren’t overpriced, it’s conveniently located, and it’s comfortable above all. Ultimately, this spot in Chiado is cosy and there’s always a spot to hide away and read — because it’s kinda like a well-decorated labyrinth and the staff will leave you alone if that’s your angle. – Maria

Best Place to See the Sunrise: The Cacilhas Lighthouse
Perhaps it’s the miniature nature of the lighthouse itself, perhaps it’s the wat the sun shines on the cityscape of Lisbon sprawling behind you as light reflects off the Tejo and up to the top of the Sé, or perhaps it’s a combination of the two. Regardless of the whys, it’s clear you’ve had a good night or intend to have a good day if you are out that early waiting for the ferry or the bus to take you to your next destination: be it home or the beach. The sunrise never feels so full of promise than in this spot. -Ellis

Best Rock Show Venue: Coliseu dos Recreios
This space is magical — it’s huge, for one, and there’s not a bad vantage point in the house, whether you choose to groove in the enormous standing room space or post up top in the surrounding seating area, which is typically a free-for-all. Between the sound quality, the architecture and the energy of the crowds, every show at the Coliseu feels epic. – Meghan
Honorable Mention: Capitólio. Perfect for smaller shows, Capitólio is a beautiful classical theater in Parque Mayer, closed for thirty years and recently refurbished and open again. – Anabela

Best Seafood in a Can: Mexilhões in Caldedeira sauce
Ramirez, Vasco da Gama, Ribeira — whatever brand you go for won’t disappoint. These mussels are melt-in-your-mouth, drink-the-sauce good. With or without bread, that can will be clean as a whistle by the end, and you’ll be left looking for seconds…and a  napkin. – Ellis

Best Vintage Store: Retro City
Retro City is suuuper well-stocked, with massive selections of denim, throwback windbreakers, leather bags and belts and more. The collection changes with the seasons, meaning any time you walk in, there’s a fresh bounty of secondhand styles to peruse. I’ve never walked out without something unexpectedly cool that I absolutely love. Plus, the staff are incredibly chill. It’s a whole vibe. – Meghan

Best Wool Shop: Tricot Lãs in Ericeira
Yes, it’s in Ericeira, but the trip is worth it to recharge your soul and pick up scanes. Pop in for some therapeutic wool shopping with super-sweet people. Say hello from me….and buy me some wool while you’re at it. – Maria

Best Nightlife

Best Bingo Place: Panda Bingo
Because Pandas, big orange armchairs, drinks that keep coming with your Bingo tickets… keep that Bailey’s flowing, you know what I’m saying? And an epic sexagenarian crowd of seasoned Bingo players. Competition is fierce. God forbid you shout “Bingo!” without actually having… the Bingo. You’ve been warned. – Patri
Honorable Mention: Bingo Almada. It’s open until 2h most nights and it’s great for people watching. -Senhor Santos

Best Club to Get Really Sweaty: Metropolis
Stickiness all over, including the roof! – Maria

Best Live Music Bar: Má Lingua
Not every night of the week but anytime there is music, it’s top-notch! You may just walk in and Vitor (the owner) is sitting down jamming with one of the customers after serving up some lovely food. – Senhor Santos

Best New Bar: Electric Shaker
You can’t pee on Lisbon’s streets these days without hitting a new chic cocktail establishment, but this one is worth making a trip to (it’s pretty much in the center of town). From the welcome drink, always inventive, to the patient, knowledgable staff who know what to recommend to even the most persnickety customer, this place soars high above a sea of mediocrity. Also, their flavor diagrams for in-house creations will satisfy any chart nerd. – O Vadio

Best Open Mic: Camones Cinebar
Open mics are traditionally a shitshow but Joaquim de Brito, aka Shaka, is a local legend, a musically speaking jack of all trades, a semi-god among men, and an overall nice fella. And Claudia — office-worker turned badass bar-tender/-owner, pro at making anyone feel at home with her smile, and woman behind low-key chill spot Camones Cinebar — is the yin to Shaka’s yang. That’s why their bi-weekly “open mic for all arts, all ages” stands out. Here, people actually come for the mic part. It is still open mic, which means that most of the art… leaves much to be desired. But at least someone’s listening. Every other Tuesday throughout the year. NOTE: If you want to perform (or just get a seat), get there and/or sign up early. It’s usually a full house by 20h. – Bogdan Kamuta

Best Place to Pretend You’re Classy: JNcQUOI Asia
This place has so much style and attention to detail that it’s hard to leave after just one drink. The excellent selection of cocktails of their own devising makes it doubly so. A wonderful place to start a classy night — or end your debauche if you can maintain eye contact with sober people.

Best Tap Room: Dois Corvos Tap Room
The best craft beer, the best people, and the chillest spot to hang out in town. There are frequent new experiments to try out, but when in doubt, there’s nothing like their Creature IPA after a busy week. – Jess

Best of Everything Else

Best Bar for Sunshine in the Winter: Banana Café in Jardim do Torel
Underneath the beautiful park of Jardim de Torel, this is the perfect place for chilling out on the comfy couches. Escape the freezing wind blowing above and reap the benefits of lots of sunshine and good music. – Janneke and Michel

Best Coffee Vending Machine: MAAT
It is 25 cêntimos for a surprisingly decent hot chocolate. They have now started using those “eco” paper cups, but, fortunately, have offset this by the inclusion of an unnecessary stirrer in every drink. – Eden

Best Coworking Space: Outsite
There’s an in-house coffee bar, a fast wi-fi signal, and a chill atmosphere about the place. Also, you can’t beat the location! – Janneke

Best Kiosk: Dá Cá Cilhas
Their Friday afternoon parties are part and parcel of the Cacilhas culture at this stage. The ferry over will certainly be worth it. – Eddie

Best Viewpoint: Miradouro da Senhora do Monte
Ticks all the boxes: view of the castle, the river, the bridge, downtown and of course… the sunset! It’s perfect for picnics in the summer as well…if you can find a spot! – Patri

On Key

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