Restaurants that mostly target tourists (with their multilingual menus and waiters outside persuading you to step inside) usually offer unexceptional food and no ambience, but there are always exceptions. Those are usually places that are equally popular with locals, and the reason they also get crowded with tourists is because guidebooks have pointed them in the right direction.
In Lisbon, Rua das Portas de Santo Antão is a pedestrian street almost completely taken over by touristy restaurants, with the annoying waiters and tourist-trap menus. But it also has what is recognized as one of the city’s best seafood restaurants (Gambrinus), and one of the most popular restaurants in town, Bonjardim, which we tell you below why it is indeed a place worth checking out together with other crowd-pleasing spots:
Completely relaxed, traditional and unpretentious place that seems to leave everyone satisfied. It’s inexpensive and the spicy chicken apparently makes many people return time and time again.
CASA DO ALENTEJO
It’s not as reasonably-priced as it once was, but it’s still a landmark place, found in one of Lisbon’s most surprising interiors. Once past an attractive Moorish courtyard, up a flight of stairs, is a tiled dining room serving traditional Portuguese cuisine. The staff may sometimes seem to be indifferent to welcoming or attentive service, but they’re usually so busy that it can be understood and overlooked once your plate arrives at the table.
Beautifully tiled rooms are the main attractions that have always drawn locals and tourists here. But the reason there are always long lines at the door is that the food is also worth waiting for. There are no fancy Michelin-star-looking dishes here, but the food is tasty and portions are satisfying.
If you can’t get a table at the famous Bonjardim mentioned above, this is a great alternative just a few feet away at number 83 of Rua das Portas de Santo Antão. Some say the specialty barbecue chicken is even better here, but there are plenty of other options on the menu, from traditional grilled meat dishes, to plenty of fish and seafood.
With tables outside facing one of the city’s main central squares (Restauradores) by so many hotels, it’s only natural that this restaurant attracts so many tourists. But you’ll also see that there are just as many locals enjoying the traditional Portuguese cuisine, with the most famous dishes being the clams and the steaks.