The Lisbon suburb of Belém’s rich maritime heritage means it attracts plenty of visitors – which also means plenty of overpriced tourist-trap restaurants. So, steer a clear course for Belém’s best restaurants with Culture Trip’s selection, which runs from sleek modernist venues with prime riverside views to our favourite backstreet diners.
Tucked into the first floor of the distinctive CCB cultural centre, this modern space means ‘East-West’. Hence, it serves an interesting combination of tasty, mid-priced wood-fired pizzas and very fresh Japanese sushi. The main draw, however, is its superb roof terrace, with commanding views over Belém’s sights and riverfront, alongside a verdant roof garden studded with olive trees.
This long-established restaurant overlooks the clinking moored yachts of Belém’s marina, close to the Torre de Belém. It’s a sophisticated space specialising in upmarket seafood, with a fresh fish of the day as well as grilled meats and a long list of quality Portuguese wines.
Steeply uphill, close to the Ajuda Palace, is this charming páteo: renovated traditional townhouses clustered around an internal courtyard. The complex contains two quaint traditional restaurants, A Horta (summers only) and A Mercearia (winters only). Both offer a range of petiscos(tapas-like snacks) such as smoked hams, and a range of traditional dishes including tiger prawns, sardines and giant mixed grill dishes. Check before you head here, though, as the complex sometimes gets booked up for big events.
The ‘Manor of the Ambassador’ is not quite as grand as its name implies, but it is in fact a welcoming, small family restaurant specialising in a mix of good-value Portuguese and Brazilian cuisine. It’s good for things like mackerel, grilled prawns and octopus, and if you’re into sport, the TV is usually on in a corner.
This cool, minimalist restaurant-bar sits right on the Tagus with beautiful views across the river. The menu is not cheap but is varied, with everything from petiscos (snacks such as goat’s cheese with honey and game sausage) to salads, bruschetta and toasts, vegetarian dishes, pasta and hot daily specials. It also serves a fine range of refreshing juices, sangria and speciality teas (try it with cinnamon, ginger, honey and lime).
For a touch of authentic Portuguese cuisine, head a little out of the main tourist centre of Belém towards Cascais and you’ll find A Tasca do Gordo. A minimalist space with tiled walls draped in soccer scarves, this is where the locals head, drawn by its substantial meals (its name translates as ‘Tavern of the Fat’). If you’re brave, try the house special: tripe stew with white beans. A safer bet is the espetada, a giant beef kebab hung on a skewer, served with mountains of chips. Save room for the homemade desserts. Then sit back and relax in the knowledge that the bill will be surprisingly modest.
On the steep road from Belém up towards Ajuda, this is an authentic local spot serving bargain lunches and dinners. Expect generous helpings of hearty Portuguese specials such as grilled sardines, seafood rice and octopus and bean stew in a back room usually bustling with locals. There are great homemade desserts and very palatable house wines as well.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.