The best restaurants in Lisbon

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The best restaurants in Lisbon

Nuno Mendes

Andrew Montgomery

‘I was born here, and although I packed my bags and set out to travel the world when I was 19 years old, the city is still my heart’s home. It’s a serious foodie city and a wonderful one to have grown up in. Ironically though, it took me leaving home to realise that the Portuguese table is one of the best in the world. The rhythm of Lisbon revolves around mealtimes. Every day starts with a coffee and a pastel de nata – with its yellow filling, burnished brown in parts, the custard tart has achieved a kind of cult status – and ends with our penchant for greedy late-night sandwiches. Portuguese food is essentially simple but, like all cultures, it has its own peculiarities, beloved ingredients and distinctive techniques.’

The best restaurants in Lisbon

Belem, in Lisbon

Lisbon’s best cafés

The best restaurants in Lisbon

Almond cream triangle at A Minhota café

Andrew Montgomery

‘They are part of the very fabric of the city – not just physically but emotionally, too. From elaborate Art Nouveau establishments to the most basic little pastelaria, they play a crucial part in everyday life.’

Fabrica ‘This is the best coffee shop in town. Order an uma bica, which is like an espresso – only slightly larger – served in a small cup and usually drunk black. Or an um garoto, which is the same size, but half coffee, and half milk.’

Pasteis de Belem ‘Anyone coming to Lisbon for the first time is bound to make a pilgrimage to Pastéis de Belém, the café that gave birth to the custard tart. They’ve been baking them here since 1837 using a recipe passed on from the next-door monastery, and the technique is still a secret.’

Manteigaria ‘This is a new spot in Chiado and, for me, they make my favourite pastéis in the city. They’re super-flaky and super-creamy and still warm because there’s a fresh batch coming out of the oven every half hour.’

The best restaurants in Lisbon

Andrew Montgomery

Lisbon’s best tascas

‘Almost everyone is loyal to their favourite tasca, a tavern-like kitchen selling simple, traditional food, and for legions of lisboetas, it’s a second home – people go around lunchtime, or after work, and sit down to eat with other regulars – it’s like having a favourite local pub in the UK.’

O Cardoso do Estrela de Ouro ‘In the kitchen, Dona Laura Cardoso uses a traditional electric branding iron to caramelise the top of her leite creme – Portuguese crème brûlée – while keeping her eye on bubbling pots and frying some of the best meat croquettes I’ve ever tasted.’

Stop do Bairro ‘There are football shirts, flags and scarves everywhere, and the food is great. The name means neighbourhood stop and the tables are crammed together. I love their toucinho do céu, an almond cake, which literally translates as “bacon from heaven”.’

Tasca da Esquina ‘The menu changes all the time but just order whatever’s on it – their Azeitão sheep’s milk cheese, made in the south-west of Portugal, is amazing and they have great egg dishes too.’

Lisbon’s best restaurants

The best restaurants in Lisbon

Cervejaria Ramiro

Paulo Barata

Cervejaria Ramiro ‘This is the first restaurant I remember going to as a child. We used to queue up for about two hours to get in but it was worth it. There’s still a queue and I still order the garlic prawns followed by the classic prego steak sandwich.’

Feitoria ‘João Rodrigues is one of my favourite chefs. He works with the best seafood and his four-course tasting menu is amazing: potatoes and egg yolks are served with smoked cheese, and fresh fish with Salicornia-infused rice.’

The best restaurants in Lisbon

Baked celeriac, from Nuno Mendes’s new book

Andrew Montgomery

A Taberna da Rua das Flores ‘André Magalhães has created this tiny tavern serving some of Lisbon’s most creative cooking. He does this incredible mackerel tart. It’s not formal and was an inspiration for my London restaurant Taberna do Mercado.’

Belcanto ‘My friend José Avillez has six restaurants here, which have turned Lisbon into a foodie delight. This one has two Michelin stars and the tasting menu takes you on a journey with plates such as “dip in the sea” – a sea-bass dish with seaweed.’

Bica Do Sapato ‘This old-school riverfront restaurant is a stunning place to sit and makes amazing sushi. It’s part-owned by John Malkovich and there’s a good club next door.’

Prado ‘This is a new opening from my sous chef of 11 years, Antonio Galapito. He’s one of the most talented chefs I’ve met and I know it will be brilliant. There’s going to be a wine shop and bar next door too.’

Jesus é Goês For as long as I can remember, Goan cooking has been part of Lisbon. My friend Jesus Lee owns this hole-in-the-wall place, which serves the best Goan food outside Goa.

Lisbon’s best bars

‘Everyone should drink white port and tonic with an orange twist. There are these really cute kiosks in most of the squares in the centre of town – they all have a couple of tables outside and serve their own version of this authentic Portuguese apéritif.’

Café Tati ‘This wine bar and jazz café is a 10-minute walk from the famous Taberna Da Rua Das Flores restaurant so you can put your name down on the list and pop here for a drink. It’s slightly hippy, and they have amazing natural wines that are 100-per-cent organic.’

Cinco Lounge ‘Probably the most creative cocktail list in the city. The bar is dark and smart and there’s a “5 o’clock” menu made up of tea-infused concoctions. Later on, make sure to try the zesty pineapple Martini.’

Lisboeta: Recipes From Portugal’s City Of Light‘ by Nuno Mendes is out on 19 October (Bloomsbury, £26)

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This feature first appeared in Condé Nast Traveller November 2017