Lisbon is known for its excellent-value restaurants, with decent portions at prices no longer found in other Western European capitals. But itâ€™s not the bargain it used to be, and most places are now reaching the European average. So where can you still find those places where you can eat for less than 20 euros, including a drink (and often a dessert as well)? There are still many, but the five below offer some of the best local traditions:
TOMA LÃ DÃ CÃ
Travessa do Sequeiro, 38
Found not far from the Santa Catarina terrace, this could very well be the best value restaurant in Lisbon. Itâ€™s a â€œtasca-styleâ€ restaurant, meaning itâ€™s a classic family-owned neighborhood restaurant with home-style food at reasonable prices. The fresh fish and meat are of excellent quality, and everyone seems to know it by now, judging from the long lines at the door. Locals and tourists are willing to wait, and it is really worth waiting, as the portions are generous, and so are the prices. The service is rushed but friendly. Itâ€™s possible to spend less than 20 euros per person, even with one of the excellent desserts.
O PREGO DA PEIXARIA
Rua da Escola PolitÃ©cnica, 40
A â€œpregoâ€ is a steak sandwich but the current trend is to make it more than that. Itâ€™s now also all kinds of meat, and even salmon or cod. There are also veggie versions, and in most cases itâ€™s served in â€œbolo de caco,â€ a traditional bread from the Portuguese island of Madeira. At this trendy spot in the neighborhood of Principe Real theyâ€™re served with fries, and although there are now several restaurants also specializing in â€œpregos,â€ this is the most attractive and with a relaxed ambience. Itâ€™s quite popular, so expect to wait a while at the door (it doesnâ€™t take reservations).
A TABERNA DA RUA DAS FLORES
Rua das Flores, 103
There was a time when most restaurants in Lisbon were like this. They were something of a neighborhood kitchen or living room, where people gathered to talk while having a few â€œpetiscosâ€ (tapas). This restaurant in Chiado recreates those times in the dÃ©cor and food, listing several traditional â€œpetiscosâ€ that change daily and that are served throughout the day. They range in price from 6 to 9 euros, so if you order more than a couple, it will still come out to less than 20 euros per person, including a drink.
Rua da EsperanÃ§a 100
It was one of the first restaurants to bring back the all-â€œpetiscosâ€ concept, and remains quite a popular spot. The decor (with cooking utensils and antique pieces on the walls) makes you feel like youâ€™re stepping into your grandmotherâ€™s kitchen, and the food (meant to be shared at the table) is in fact the type that most Portuguese grandmothers serve their guests. There are no reservations, so you may have to wait a while for a table, especially on weekends.
OFICINA DO DUQUE
CalÃ§ada do Duque, 43A
A creative young chef offers a list of reinvented traditional Portuguese dishes at lower-than-average prices at this restaurant with an open kitchen. It includes about half a dozen â€œpetiscos,â€ and in addition to the meat and fish, there are a couple of vegetarian options. The original desserts are worth a try, although theyâ€™ll likely put you over the 20-euro limit per person…