Portugal‘s coastal paradise of Cascais certainly leaves an impression with its relaxed atmosphere, Instagrammable pavements and four beautiful beaches within walking distance of the historic centre.
Cascais started life as a fishing village, but over the decades it has evolved into a popular resort town. However, seafood is still at the centre of things here – and the bustling fish market is well worth a visit. To sample some of Cascais’ best delicacies, we’ve has picked out the best restaurants – serving up everything from juicy lobster to portobello mushroom steaks – for you to enjoy.
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Lap up ocean views and a romantic ambience at this ranch-style restaurant. Owner Maria says she wanted to create an inviting space – and she succeeded – with dark woods, woven chairs and soft lighting making for an attractive mix. On the food front, the seafood will get you salivating with creamy oysters, jumbo boiled shrimps and perfectly grilled cuttlefish. If you have room for dessert, the rich and moist chocolate cake gets top marks.
Sushi fans will be in heaven at this chic and relaxed coastal spot. Make your way through the menu, with everything from sashimi to Instagrammable California rolls on offer. If sushi isn’t your thing, don’t worry, as LOVit doubles up as a burger bar. The pregos – Portuguese sandwiches – are another delicious option, with rump steak, tuna, chicken, pork and salmon among the fillings. Wash it all down with a jug of cooling sangria, with the rosé option being one of the house favourites.
Mar Do Inferno
Perched on a cliff overlooking the ocean – close to the famous Boca do Inferno (Mouth of Hell) sea arch – Mar Do Inferno scores top marks when it comes to location. The food offering is as appetising as the views, with an abundance of seafood to choose from, a live lobster tank and an iced display counter. If you can’t make up your mind, the special seafood platter – staked with lobster, grilled tiger prawns and mussels – allows you to sample some of the best bits. Meat lovers aren’t neglected: there’s everything from juicy t-bones to aged entrecôte steaks to choose from. If you’ve got any space left, try the perfectly crisped crème brulée.
Take a trip to Italy at this smart pizza restaurant, which has several other outlets across Portugal. The Cascais location has prime views over Duquesa Beach, with a balcony and ground floor terrace space. There’s a great variety of wood-fired pizzas – with the truffle-infused Tartufo being one to write home about – while the pasta also promises to satisfy. If you’re looking for something lighter, the salads are a great lunch option and the starters can be shared like tapas.
Marisco Na Praca
Point to the piece of seafood that takes your fancy at this bright and breezy beach-style restaurant, which is located right next to the marina. The photogenic counters here are stocked with fresh delicacies, which can be cooked just to your liking – you can even watch the chefs in action as they prepare the produce. It’s a top place to stop by during the day, but come nightfall, soft lighting creates a great atmosphere. If you’re planning to visit at the weekend, it’s advisable to book in advance as the tables here pack out quickly.
Taberna Económica de Cascais
Feel like a local at this traditional Portuguese tavern, brimming with old school charm and character. There’s a small terrace area on the cobbled pedestrianised street, while inside, you’ll find whitewashed walls, red floor tiles and a handful of tables decked out with chequered table cloths and framed by wooden stools. The menu features recipes passed down through the generations with Polvo à Lagareiro – a Portuguese dish featuring baked octopus with smashed potatoes, garlic and olive oil – being the house favourite. This is a great place to pop into after a day on the beach, or if you’ve come into town by rail, as it’s around the corner from the train station.
Hífen serves up Instagram-worthy interiors, along with artfully presented food and craft cocktails. Taking inspiration from its positioning right next to Cascais Bay, a slick beach theme runs throughout the place, with bright blue chairs and light wood furnishings. On the food front, the dishes are designed for sharing – with some of the most popular picks being the squid curry arancini, the tempura asparagus with guacamole and the garlic prawns. To finish, the chocolate mousse with avocado cream might get you fighting over who gets the last spoonful. And if you want to jazz it up, Hífen’s twist on an Eton Mess is worth a dabble – with a unique mix of white chocolate mousse, beet popcorn, passionfruit curd, kumquat, black carrot and granola.
House of Wonders
Don your sunglasses for a trip down the rabbit hole to this beautifully quirky vegetarian and vegan restaurant. As this place is decked out with a kaleidoscope of colour, artfully presented dishes follow this theme. House of Wonders – which is Dutch-owned and located in the old quarter – is a feast for the senses in every way. If you’re late getting out of bed, pop by for brunch and grab one of the freshly made smoothies to put a spring back in your step. The chocolate cake here is another highlight for many. Along with the creative food, the sun-drenched rooftop here is well worth the journey.
Looking for the perfect date spot? This smart wine bar is set to seduce, with its relaxed yet chic interiors and its tasty menu options. The shrimp and clam risotto is one of the most praised dishes, along with the meaty sea bass and steaks. There are a few tables outside if you fancy a more intimate setting. On the drinks side of things, there’s a great selection of wine, with many of the bottles artfully displayed around the restaurant.
Restaurante Beira Mar
This place has an air of cool about it and rightly so – it’s been welcoming customers for more than 45 years. Beira Mar, which translates as “seashore”, has a lovely terrace area, and the main restaurant has a great atmosphere with dark wood detailing, Portuguese tiling and soft lighting. The seafood here is a real draw, with some of the standout dishes including the codfish “Beira Mar-style” and the fried squid with clam-infused rice. Round things off with a slice of melt-in-your-mouth chocolate cake.
Extend your Cascais holiday by staying in nearby Lisbon. Book one of the best hotels with pools in Lisbon now on Culture Trip, or browse hip apartments in the city that you’ll want to call home. See the best tours to fill up your daytime itinerary, then explore the local nightlife in the bars and clubs of Bairro Alto. Alternatively, discover everything Lisbon has to offer from the comfort of your own living room.
This is an updated rewrite of an article originally by Marcelina Morfin.
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