Posts About 'Baixa/Downtown'

5 Touristy Restaurants in Lisbon That Are Actually Good

Monday, August 15th, 2011

Cervejaria Trindade, Lisbon

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.

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.

Lisbon’s Avenida da Liberdade Invites You for a Stroll

Tuesday, July 5th, 2011

Avenida da Liberdade, LisbonIt recently added half a dozen kiosk-cafés which together with the always-increasing number of sophisticated shops makes it one of Lisbon’s most attractive addresses. Now it’s introducing a number of activities and special events throughout the year, and especially during the summer. That’s Avenida da Liberdade, the grand central boulevard of the city, also home to many top hotels.
This is the result of a private organization made up of the local business owners, planning fashion shows, antique fairs, flower shows, and expanded opening times of the shops, especially on weekends.
Once a busy avenue where most of Lisbon went for a stroll, Avenida da Liberdade has been in decline in the past two decades, as everyone began to prefer the shopping malls. Now there is an evident rebirth of the area and these activities will help bring it back to its centuries-old place as the main meeting point of the city.
It all begins this Thursday with live music, then this weekend will bring an antiques and crafts fair which is to be repeated every second weekend of the month.
The following Thursday will be a night of Fado and the shops will remain open until 10PM, with some of them displaying precious pieces of art belonging to the collection of the Medeiros e Almeida Museum found nearby.
Also planned for the near future are classical music concerts, contemporary dance shows, photo exhibitions in the shops, and movie screenings in the open air on Mondays this August.
When the colder temperatures and the rain comes this winter the activities won’t end, meaning there is always a good reason to go down the avenue.

Lisbon to Become Beachier

Monday, June 13th, 2011

Ribeira, Lisbon

Apparently having beaches just a few minutes away from downtown is not enough for the people of Lisbon. Soon they’ll also have a beach right in the center of the city, by its largest square. By the end of this summer, work will begin to create a real urban beach by the river next to Comercio Square.
This area was in fact a beach in the 16th and 17th centuries, and it was where many of the ships used during Portugal’s Age of Discovery were built and docked. The name comes from that time — “Ribeira das Naus” (the “Ships’ Riverfront”).
This new urban space will cost close to 15 million euros, and will include plenty of shade from a 10-acre park.
Everything is supposed to be ready in just over a year from now, so if it all goes as planned, you can sunbathe by the Tagus at the end of next summer or early autumn.
Next year the Lisbon waterfront will also be in the spotlight during one of the stages of the worldwide 2012 Volvo Ocean Race, happening on the eastern waterfront of the city, where the river becomes the Atlantic.

The New Kiosk-Cafés in Lisbon’s Avenida da Liberdade

Tuesday, May 10th, 2011

Avenida da Liberdade kiosk cafés, LisbonThis weekend is the grand opening of five (to be six later in the year) kiosk cafés down Lisbon’s main central avenue, Avenida da Liberdade. Each kiosk will serve its own specialty, from light meals to smoothies, and are found scattered down the boulevard.
You’ll find them just by walking down the Avenida, but to locate them on a map, look for the cross streets. One of them is Rua Alexandre Herculano, at which intersection are “Banana Café” and “Hot Dog Lovers.” The first one offers lights meals such as wraps, salads and smoothies, while the second one obviously specializes in hot dogs but also serves tapas and Portuguese wine.
Down by Rua das Pretas are the third and fourth kiosks, one serving rectangular slices of pizza, calzone, panini and bruschettas, while the other belongs to “the best chocolate cake in the world,” the famous cake that was born in Lisbon and that has now been exported internationally. In addition to the slices of chocolate there will also be other pastries, as well as sandwiches, ice cream and juices.
Towards the end of the avenue, by Restauradores Square, will be a second “Banana Café” which will be identical to the first one above.
These kiosks will open every day at 9AM and will close at 11PM (2AM on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays), so you may find the refreshment of your choice and sit in the open air on the pavement cafés at almost any time of the day.

“Feel Rio” – A Quick Healthy Taste of Brazil in Downtown Lisbon

Monday, March 7th, 2011

Feel Rio

For the health-conscious, açaí has become a much-sought-after fruit for its antioxidant properties. Native to central South America (or more precisely, Brazil), it is now found in juices and shakes all over the world’s health food stores, and at a couple of places in Lisbon, brought from the former Portuguese colony.
Since last week you can also enjoy it as a juice or in a bowl at “Feel Rio,” a new fast food restaurant downtown.
Brazilian-owned, the inspiration are the flavors of Rio de Janeiro, and in addition to the fruit juices there are salads, sandwiches, paninis, and muffins.
Unfortunately there aren’t many seats inside, but you can always take something to go, and perhaps enjoy it in Rossio Square not very far (it’s a great money- and time-saving option).
Feel Rio” is found on number 108 of Rua do Crucifixo, almost directly across the street from one of the exits of the Baixa-Chiado metro station and is open every day.

“Capricciosa” – One of Lisbon’s Favorite Pizzerias Now Also Downtown

Monday, February 28th, 2011

Capricciosa - Rossio

Pizzerias rarely come recommended in travel guides (unless, of course, it’s an Italy guidebook), and that’s because they tend to be essentially the same everywhere. But while you certainly won’t come to Lisbon with pizza in mind, if you’re looking for a simple and inexpensive meal in the city without having to go to a fast food restaurant, a pizzeria sounds like a perfect choice.
One of Lisbon’s favorite seems to be Capricciosa. When it first opened in 2005 in the Alcântara neighborhood, its large dining area made it a popular choice for large groups or birthday dinners. The branch at the beach of Carcavelos is also always packed in the summer, but both these spots are found in non-touristy areas. A third Capricciosa facing the river in Parque das Nações is more within the tourist path, but the latest branch is finally in a very accessible and central location — downtown.
You’ll find it in a square next to the monumental Rossio Station with other eateries that are perfect for a quick stop on a sightseeing tour of the city. All have tables outside on the terrace, and are open throughout the day.
Capricciosa has a large variety of pizzas made in a wood oven, at prices that go from 8.20 to 10.50.

Phone: 213 432 399

Lisbon’s New Tourist Office is Also a Cultural Attraction

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011

Patio da Galé, Lisbon Tourism Office

Lisbon’s main tourism office is found in one of the arcaded buildings of Comercio Square and starting this Friday the 25th it is expanding to most of the building. That includes a courtyard that’s been closed for over a decade, but that’s just been renovated to become a cultural venue. Tourists and locals will now find two restaurants of contemporary Portuguese cuisine, a traditional ice cream shop, space for exhibitions and special events, a souvenir shop, and all the useful information about the city. It will also be the headquarters of ModaLisboa, the organization behind the local fashion industry’s regular events.
All this after an investment of over 4 million euros thought to be a vital addition to the ongoing revitalization of Lisbon’s biggest and most monumental square.

“Taberna Tosca” – A New Café-Restaurant in Lisbon for Portuguese Wines and Flavors

Monday, October 18th, 2010

Taberna Tosca, Lisbon

There is a new place to try Portuguese “petiscos” (“tapas”) and wines in Lisbon. Open from noon to midnight (2AM on Fridays and Saturdays), Taberna Tosca tries to revive the “taberna” (tavern) concept and update it for modern times. It’s a restaurant for lunch and dinner, but throughout the afternoon and after-dinner hours, it’s also a relaxed space (much more like a café or bar) to enjoy a glass of Portuguese wine accompanied by a special “petiscos” menu.
The décor is very contemporary but the menus are of traditional Portuguese specialties. There is a meat, fish and vegetarian option for lunch, although the “petiscos” menu doesn’t seem very veggie-friendly. If you enjoy a good wine accompanied by cheese, however, this is a great spot for you.
It’s found in a long-forgotten but currently-reawakening location in the city, a square by the Cais do Sodré station, not far from Chiado and Baixa.
The prices are reasonable, making even more of an inviting spot to discover in the city.

Address: Praça de São Paulo, 21
Closed on Sundays

“Fly London”: The Most British of Portuguese Brands Lands in Lisbon

Monday, September 27th, 2010

Fly London, Lisbon

It started in the city of Guimarães in the north of Portugal almost two decades ago but ended up becoming a trendy brand in London. “Fly London” is now known for quality casual footwear and has just opened a flagship store in Lisbon’s Avenida da Liberdade (number 230), the city’s luxury shopping street.
Its goal is said to be progressive, unconventional footwear design but you’ll also see some more classic-looking pieces.
At this new Lisbon shop you’ll also find clothing and accessories, and a fun feature is the use of RFID labels (Radio Frequency Identification) with electronic chips which project a client’s image on a screen, showing him or her on the streets of a major city (London, New York, Tokyo) wearing those selected shoes (because mirrors are a thing of the past).
At the end of August there was another “Fly London” opening, in London, by the popular Covent Garden shopping zone.

Fly London, Lisbon

Fly London, Lisbon

Lisbon’s Top 5 Summer Rooftop Terraces

Monday, August 9th, 2010

Because summer in Lisbon lasts until October, there’s still plenty of time to enjoy some of the best spots of the season. Of the many terraces in the city (from outdoor cafés to riverfront restaurants), the ones to seek this summer are high up on the rooftops, offering views, cooler air, drinks, and relaxation after a day of sightseeing, meetings, or work:


Sky Bar, Tivoli Lisboa Hotel

It was one of the most talked-about bars last summer and it’s back this year. The views alone are worth a visit, but then there is also a good variety of cocktails (including a couple of non-alcoholic choices), soups, salads, wraps and noodles. It’s found at the top of the Tivoli Lisboa Hotel and it’s especially recommended late in the afternoon, staying for a light dinner as the sun sets followed by late-night cocktails.


Brasserie Rossio

It’s one of Lisbon’s newest restaurants in one of the city’s newest hotels (Altis Avenida). So not too many people know that from here there are beautiful views of downtown all the way to the river, standing above Rossio Station and Restauradores Square. Although the dining area is indoors (but still offering views through its glassed walls), tables and chairs have been placed on the terrace so you can enjoy a light meal or simply a drink at any time of the day. And that’s open to everyone, including non-hotel guests.


NH Liberdade Hotel

Right in the center of Lisbon’s busiest avenue, Avenida da Liberdade, is one of the city’s top secrets. It’s on the top floor of the NH Liberdade Hotel, a terrace with a pool open to non-hotel guests. For 20 euros (quite reasonable for a hotel pool in the city center), you can spend the day diving and swimming surrounded by city views. When you need to regain some energy, there are salads, sandwiches, juices and beer to enjoy poolside until the sun sets.


Terrace, Bairro Alto Hotel

It’s quite small and all the seats are usually taken when you get there, but it’s worth waiting for a spot at this rooftop bar in the Bairro Alto Hotel. Recommended for the afternoon, the drink to get on the hottest days is the “granizado,” a crushed ice and fruit blend.


Entretanto Bar, Hotel do Chiado

Perhaps the best-known of all of Lisbon’s rooftop terraces, “Entretanto” of the Hotel do Chiado offers drinks throughout the day, and is also a good stop for afternoon tea once it gets colder.
To accompany everything are fantastic city views, from the castle to the top of the triumphal arch of Comercio Square.