10 Lisbon Restaurants for Food from Portugal’s Former Colonies

When visiting Lisbon you’re reminded that Portugal created the first global empire so why not go on your own voyage around the world through food? Whether you’re heading west to Brazil or east to India and Macau passing through the coast of Africa, here are the places to discover:

The latest Brazilian restaurant in town recreates the colorful and informal ambiance of the typical Brazilian “butecos,” neighborhood restaurants serving good doses of traditional food. It opens for dinner earlier than most other restaurants in the city, inviting you for “happy hour” drinks and stays open until late for late-night eating and drinking.

Rua da Paz, 4
A native from Goa arrived in Lisbon in 1964, three years after that former colony was annexed by India. His first job was washing dishes at a Goan restaurant but he soon became the owner. He’s now been serving the food from his homeland for decades, and you can be sure to have the best shrimp curry in town at this place not far from São Bento Palace.

Rua Rodrigues Faria, 21
Here you can taste and hear a little of Cape Verde. Owned by musician Tito Paris who often performs live, you can discover what are “muquecas” and “cachupas” together with other traditional dishes from the western African archipelago.

It was one of Portugal’s first Brazilian restaurants and has survived the decades. If you’re looking for a typical “feijoada” washed down by a “cairinha”, this is the place to go, and you’ll also have the chance to discover the food of northeastern Brazil which mixes influences from Portugal and Africa.

Ibo Restaurant, Lisbon


The food is inspired by Mozambique and the riverfront location inspires you to make new discoveries. Find out what the food from the southeastern African country is all about, in an attractive contemporary dining room or at the tables outside.

Rua São Pedro Mártir, 23
Located right in the middle of Lisbon’s most ethnic neighborhood, this restaurant presents authentic Indian cuisine from the former Portuguese colony of Goa. The dining room is decorated in hot colors and the potions of the dishes are quite generous.

It’s officially a Brazilian restaurant but don’t expect the expected food from the typical Brazilian restaurant. This one concentrates on just one region, Minas Gerais, the home state of the current Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff and one of the most “Portuguese” regions of Brazil. Everything is served in a buffett so you can try a variety of dishes.

It seems hard to believe that Macau was Portuguese as recently as 1999 before in was transformed into the “Asian Las Vegas” that it is today. But Portuguese influences (particularly in the architecture) still survive in that Chinese territory and at this restaurant you can sample a little of Macau in Lisbon. It also mixes food from Hong Kong accompanied by cups of tea.

Indian cuisine mixes with the flavors of Mozambique at this restaurant owned by an Indian family who lived in that former Portuguese colony in Africa before moving to Lisbon. The interior is not decorated in the typically “ethnic” style, but rather in a contemporary elegance seen through the large windows facing a statue of Neptune in the center of the square.

Zambeze Restaurant, Lisbon


This is one of the most recent spots in the city, a rooftop terrace café and restaurant with one of the most spectacular city views. The name is that of Africa’s fourth-largest river that passes through Angola and Mozambique, two former Portuguese colonies. That’s an indication of what’s on the menu, although it also serves traditional Portuguese dishes.

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