92 Calçada Marquês de Abrantes
Portugal 1200 720
Tel: 351 21 396 3527
Young Lisbon chef Henrique Sá Pessoa's all-white restaurant with leather banquettes and a fluffy fabric ceiling lamp is of a piece with his modern Portuguese cooking. Drawing on his studies at Le Cordon Bleu Pittsburgh, followed by stints at various London and Sydney restaurants, Pessoa has created a globally inspired menu: Dishes include a roasted fillet of salted cod with chickpea purée, vinaigrette, and oven-roasted sun-dried tomatoes, and crispy slow-cooked pork served with sweet potato purée, bok choy, and marinated orange. Save room for the excellent desserts, such as the pear and almond tart with goat-cheese ice cream and spiced caramel. As Portugal's most media-savvy chef, who has penned three cookbooks and has his own TV show, Pessoa has created a loyal following of foodies. No surprise that this Santos district favorite is booked solid most nights.—Anja Mutić
Open Tuesdays through Saturdays 7:30 pm to midnight. Closed the first three weeks of August and first three weeks of January.
8890 Rua de Belém
Tel: 351 21 363 7423
If you're visiting Belém's Mosteiro dos Jerónimos, it is compulsory to stop at this picturesque café tiled with 17th-century scenes for its pasteis de Belémthe best pastéis de nata (custard tarts) in the city, and probably in the world. The recipe is famously the biggest secret in Europe, guarded closely for two centuries and known only to three bakers at any one time. At less than a dollar apiece, you may wish to stock up with a half dozen packed into the café's specially made paper tube.
Avenida Infante D. Henrique, Armazém B
Tel: 351 21 881 0320
Yes, it's true. John Malkovich, the actor, is one of the owners of this expensive, megatrendy dockside sushi bar, restaurant, and bistro. Now we've got that out of the way: Is it any good? Well, it's certainly fun. One of Malkovich's partners is local entrepreneur Manuel Reis, who also helped revitalize the docks around Santiago Calatrava's Gare do Oriente. Reis has installed Knoll and Saarinen originals in front of walls painted wild pinks and purples in this former warehouse. Mozambique-born chef Fausto Airoldi's cooking is occasionally gimmicky (reindeer and buffalo are on the menu; bacalhau comes with chickpea ice cream), but also robust and even, some say, great, especially when it comes to Portuguese comfort food staples such as roast saddle of rabbit stuffed with sausage and apples. But it's true: You're not here to eat.
9 Largo da Trindade
Portugal 1200 466
Tel: 351 910 307 575
In October 2010, Bosnian-born chef Ljubomir Stanisic opened Bistro 100 Maneiras, which offers a more playful dining experience than the nearby 100 Maneiras restaurant that made him one of Portugal's most celebrated young culinary talents. Expect modern Portuguese classics with a dash of French and Yugoslav influence at this buzzing two-floor space in Chiado. The swank white wood–paneled interiors are lined with backlit vitrines showcasing old-fashioned Portuguese food products. Not to be outdone, the waitstaff is equally stylish, in olive green and gray uniforms by prominent fashion designer Aleksandar Protich. The menu includes a cheese and spinach pie, which is pretty tame compared with the "For the Brave" options for adventurous diners (sweetbreads, frog legs, and various small birds). Book a table on the nonsmoking floor upstairs, which has low ceilings, romantic alcoves, and views of the Tagus River. Be warned—reservations aren't easy to score.—Anja Mutić
Open Mondays through Fridays 12 pm to midnight, Saturdays 7:30 pm to midnight.
Rua Marquês de Fronteira
Jardim Amália Rodrigues
Tel: 351 21 386 2211
Eleven gets its name from the 11 friends who, determined to install a world-class restaurant in their beloved city, enticed Joachim Koerper, famed, much-garlanded chef of Alicante's Girasol, to do the culinary honors. They installed him in a suitably incredible location, above the Parque Eduardo VII, with spectacular panoramas spread out at diners' feet. Cutting no corners, they built this modern two-story building with plate-glass windows and outfitted it with costly linens and upholstered slipper chairs and installed the work of two important contemporary Lisboeta artists, Joana Vasconcelos and Gorge Crud. Koerper produces emphatically seasonal food using all local produce; here basing his dishes on the Portuguese canonyes including bacalhau and with appearances by vinho do Porto and peixes do dia (fish of the day). Whether Lisbon's most ambitious restaurant turns out to be hubris or genius, time will tell, but it's hard to see how the sum of these parts can fail.
Cais da Viscondessa, Rua da Cintura-Santos
Tel: 351 21 393 2930
Another dockside converted industrial space, Kais's dramatic interior was designed by Maria Jose Salavisa. He kept the 19th-century tram warehouse's high ceilings with their ironwork, pulleys, and chains and the original exposed brick, and installed a wood floor, olive trees, a waterfall (echoing the quays the restaurant's named after) and Frank Lloyd Wrightesque furniture. Standing across from (and with the same owners as) the notorious pair of clubs Kremlin and Kapital, Kais is a see-and-be-seen place that turns into a supper club after 10 pm. The trendy food (Mozambique prawn curry) has a good reputation, but be warned: Every conference in town seems to bring its delegates here to experience the hip side of Lisbon, which interferes somewhat with the edgy vibe.
Closed Sundays. This restaurant is closed for the first 15 days in August.
10A Rua Serpa Pinto
Portugal 1200 445
Tel: 351 21 347 7225
Two of Portugal's heavyweights, designer Miguel Câncio Martins and acclaimed chef Miguel de Castro e Silva, joined forces to open Largo in 2009. The black-and-white carpets, wire mesh lamps, exposed stone ceilings, and backlit aquariums of jellyfish make a big impact, but it is Castro e Silva who keeps the foodies coming. His traditional Portuguese dishes refashioned into innovative concoctions include a trio of fish (tuna tataki, horse mackerel tartare, and marinated sea bass) and guinea fowl with chestnuts, raisins, and pine nuts. If you're looking for local fare, you'll still find classic Portuguese eats on the menu, such as codfish with wild mint bread quenelles and roasted black pork with chickpeas and wild mushroom stew. Largo is jumping at dinnertime, though lunch offers a better value.—Anja Mutić
Open Mondays through Saturdays 12:30 to 3 pm and 7:30 pm to midnight.
9C Largo de Santos
Portugal 1200 808
Tel: 351 21 396 3419
Fun features highly at Manifesto in the Santos district, where fêted chef Luis Baena brings back culinary classics from his worldwide travels and presents them in a playful and distinctly Portuguese way. The restaurant offers a humongous selection of small plates made from local ingredients, kicked off by cheese lollipops and multicolored rice crackers. Don't expect your regular tapas. Whatever his starting point—be it Portuguese classics, American fast food, or Japanese sushi—Buena clearly has fun deconstructing it. Dishes include a Mac Silva (a codfish pancake with iceberg lettuce, radish, and mayonnaise) served in a plastic burger container; a hot dog with prawns on a brioche served in a dog bowl with homemade ketchup in a small spray bottle; and sushi with Pata Negra ham, Ilha cheese from the Azores, and port caviar. There's also a spot of molecular gastronomy: egg yolk cooked at 64 degrees Celsius and mixed with truffle oil. The decor of the dining room is as much fun as the menu, with its Pop Art-y theme and colorful, scribble-covered walls.—Anja Mutić
Open Mondays through Thursdays 12:30 to 3 pm and 7:30 to 11:30 pm, Fridays 12:30 to 3 pm and 7:30 to midnight, and Saturdays 7:30 pm to 1 am.
5759 Rua da Atalaia
Tel: 351 21 346 4811
Yet another co-owner of Bico do Sapato (there are four) is Fernando Fernandes. A restaurateur with his finger firmly on Lisbon's pulse, he also owns this place, opened in 1981 and full ever since. Unlike its fabulous half-sister, Pap'Açorda offers a modest check, and it reverses the ratio of great food vs. show-off quotient. This is all about real. If you want to try (almost) unreconstructed Portuguese dishes, here's your placeand it's handily located in this month's up-and-coming-back neighborhood, beautiful Bairro Alto. Since the restaurant is named after Açorda Real, a lobster and shrimp dish, it stands to reason that this is a good thing to order.
Restaurant is closed Sundays and Mondays. (It is also typically closed for one week in June, but exact dates vary from year to year.)
8 Rua da Atalaia
Tel: 351 21 342 6840
For authentic, delicious, inexpensive fun in the Bairro Alto, come to the locals' favorite. Simple grilled fish with garlic and lemon or rabbit with clams are the kind of food to expect, all served superfast and without fussas you'll be pleased to note while standing in line for a table.
35 Rua da Misericórdia
Tel: 351 21 342 1112
In the unlikely surroundings of a grand Baroque dining room, José Avillez has injected a little levity into some of the old classics of Portuguese cuisine and brought vanguard cuisine to Lisbon. (He admires Ferran Adrià and was the first Portuguese chef to be invited to the prestigious foodie summit Madridfusión.) As the dishes were carried out, I imagined a kitchen crammed with syringes, beakers, and alembics. Avillez tends to sublimate hoary favorites of the national repertoire: Bacalhau à bras, known to every tourist as a hearty arrangement of codfish, egg yolk, and potatoes, was as delicately constructed as a bird's nest. A fillet of sea bass cooked at low temperature appeared draped in samphire and assorted seaweeds garnered from the nearby coast. In Avillez's hands even the pastel de nata, Portugal's beloved yet stodgy custard tart, has been alchemized into a dessert of exquisite lightness on leaves of mille-feuille. The final classic on view is the restaurant itself, which has been open for more than 200 years. Wisely, Avillez has left the splendor of its glorious gilt and mirrors intact. —Jack Turner, first published on Gourmet.com
41C Rua Domingos Sequeira
Portugal 1350 119
Tel: 351 21 099 3939
This modern take on a tasca (a traditional Portuguese tavern) on a corner in the residential Campo de Ourique neighborhood has typical large windows overlooking the street yet a simple, contemporary interior. Chef Vítor Sobral pioneered petiscos, the Portuguese-style tapas that dominate the menu at Tasca da Esquina. These creative small plates pay homage to the classic dishes served in a traditional tavern yet are a bit fancier. Go for the affordable tasting menus, which change daily and feature anything from creamy chestnut soup to warm shrimp with aioli to breaded filet of cod over coriander rice. The menu isn't available in English, but the staff will be happy to fill you in.—Anja Mutić
Open Mondays 7:30 to 11:30 pm, Tuesdays through Saturdays 12:30 to 3:30 pm and 7:30 to 11:30 pm.
Four Seasons Hotel Ritz
88 Rua Rodrigo da Fonseca
Tel: 351 21 381 1400
Beautiful views over flower-filled terraces to Eduardo VII park from this restaurant in the Four Seasons make the lavish lunch buffet here extra-delightful. At night, the à la carte dinner is worth the splurge, especially since chef de cuisine Stéphane Hestin joined straight from the three-Michelin-star La Côte d'Or in Saulieu, France. Hestin's classical training adds layers that Portuguese tradition never imagined to local dishes like a seafood rice casserole, but mostly he produces exquisite Mediterranean dishes with a French influence that are all his own: wild mushroom tempura; sautéed crayfish with chestnuts, celery, and truffle oil; sea bass, calamari, and clams with spider crab emulsion and asparagus; milk-fed veal with citrus and pistachio pesto.