The return of the Lisbon “Taberna”

It had become extinct over the last couple of decades, but the Lisbon taberna is back, at least in name. Several new restaurants call themselves “taberna,” recalling the day when traditional home-style meals were served in family-owned eateries that were more than simple taverns. They were excellent value for money with no pretense, perfect for the entire family or simply for a glass of wine. After the trend of fusion cuisine and Wallpaper magazine-style interiors, Lisbon is now bringing back the taberna tradition. Here are a few places that try to do it:

1300 Taberna, Lisboa
1300 Taberna

1300 TABERNA
Rua Rodrigues de Faria, 103
Closed Sundays and Mondays

In a series of former warehouses you’ll find traditional Portuguese cuisine with a good dose of creativity, served in a spacious interior decorated with a mix of objects and styles.

TABERNA MODERNA
Rua dos Bacalhoeiros, 18
Closed Sundays and Mondays

This “modern taberna” wants you to share your meals so it serves the food in big dishes for everyone at the table to grab as they enjoy a glass of wine. Although the menu is in large part Portuguese, you’ll also find an equal number of Spanish choices.

TABERNA TOSCA
Praça de São Paulo, 21
Closed on Sundays

One of the first of the modern tabernas, it has a very contemporary interior but serves the traditional petiscos that Portuguese grandmothers used to make, accompanied by glasses of wine.

TABERNA DO CHIADO
Calçada Nova de São Francisco, 2A
It’s only a “taberna” by name. It’s a very contemporary space in the trendy heart of Chiado, although it incorporates some traditions such as wine barrels and long wooden tables where a mix of Portuguese and Spanish cuisine is served.

TABERNA IDEAL
Rua da Esperança, 112
Closed Mondays and Tuesdays

It’s one of the best places for “petiscos” and it was one of the first to bring them back as full meals. The interior looks older than it actually is, decorated with old furnishings.

TABERNA VINTAGE
Rua Monte Olivete, 63
Closed Mondays

This small space in the Principe Real neighborhood presents a list of traditional petiscos that are mostly an excuse to enjoy glasses of wine from a variety of labels and at various prices.

TABERNA DA RUA DAS FLORES
Rua das Flores, 103
Closed Sundays

A chalkboard lists the dishes of the day, always based on the freshest ingredients available at the market. It’s open throughout the day from lunch to dinner, making it also a stop for a light meal in the afternoon.

TABERNA PORTUGUESA
Calçada do Combro, 115
Closed Sundays and Mondays

Not far from the landmark Bica funicular is this small restaurant with reasonably-priced food. It follows old traditions, as does some of the decorative pieces.

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