If you’re coming to Lisbon, mark this street on your map: Rua de São João da Praça. When facing the cathedral in Alfama, it’s the street on your right. It’s home to one of the most distinctive cafes in the city, a superb restaurant, and one of the best Fado houses. That distinctive café is Pois Café, owned by two Austrian girls who fell in love with Lisbon, and particularly Alfama during a visit to the city, and decided to stay. Decorated with old furniture, second-hand objects, and with books and periodicals in every corner, it’s a cool yet cozy place. Some come for a quick tea, others for the strudel or salad or fresh fruit juice while they chat with friends, others to sit alone with their laptop or a newspaper.
Just as distinctive is the restaurant next door, Viagem de Sabores. A warm décor, a highly varied menu mixing French, Thai, Portuguese, and Indian flavors, and a view to the Cathedral. It’s a truly international restaurant and a great value. It’s ideal for both a romantic dinner with that special someone or to be in a group of friends.
Further down the street is Clube the Fado. A truly authentic Fado venue in Lisbon is hard to find these days, but although it expectedly has its large number of tourists, this is one of the best places to experience Fado sung by professionals. If you wish to have dinner, the cuisine is Portuguese, and a meal and show comes to around 40 Euros per person.
What these three places have in common is an invitation to sit and relax, unhurried by time, and to just enjoy Lisbon’s life. You can even experience all three in one evening: Pois Café closes at 8PM, so you can have a late-afternoon drink there, followed by a long dinner at Viagem dos Sabores, and ending with Lisbon’s soulful music and a couple of drinks at Clube de Fado, which only closes at 2AM. It’s all guaranteed to be a memorable Lisbon experience in one of the city’s most characteristic and charming streets.