Located at a busy meeting point between Baixa and the neighbouring Chiado district, Fábulas is a classy restaurant, café and wine bar with a central position in the tourist district. Founded in 2007 in what used to be a liquor warehouse, the establishment has a classy décor which manages to be traditional without becoming fusty, and the walls are bedecked with a judicious selection of Portuguese artwork. An extensive menu combining Portuguese classics with all-purpose favourites makes this a welcoming option for those concluding a frenetic day’s sight-seeing.
Address: Calçada Nova de São Francisco 14, Lisboa, Portugal, +351 21 601 8472
Located in a historic building on the Calçada Sacramento, this fashionable restaurant draws inspiration from its own architectural history. Like many notable Lisbon structures, an ancient university institution on the site was destroyed in the devastating Lisbon earthquake of 1755, only to be resurrected as part of a municipal palace. Sacramento draws on the varied history of its own location to reflect the epitome of Lisbon culture and history. The menu is varied and reasonably-priced, and Sacramento comes highly recommended for a range of occasions, from large formal events to small family dinners.
Address: Calçada Sacramento 44, 1200-394 Lisboa, Portugal, +351 21 342 0572
Taberna da Baixa
Another gem in the area is the Taberna da Baixa, an excellent option for brunch, lunch or tapas. Situated in the heart of the Baixa district, the Taberna makes itself enthusiastically available for a range of cultural events from live music to wine tastings. A trip here may just help you to stumble upon some authentic local culture. Geared towards light lunches and snacks, this is the perfect place to soak up the sun and atmosphere over a platter of shared Lisbon delicacies.
Address: Rua dos Fanqueiros, 161, Baixa, Lisbon, +351 21 887 0290
Quiet and classy, Restaurante Largo is a chic modern environment and is the winner of a coveted Premio Turismo Portugal award. Enjoying the attentions of international chef Miguel Castro e Silva, Restaurante Largo is a serious undertaking and a fixture in upmarket Lisbon gastronomy. Equally striking is the design of the building, the work of esteemed Portuguese Miguel Cancio Martins, it boasts a range of dining spaces of subtly distinct décors, with one compelling twist being a vast range of aquarium tanks containing live jellyfish.
Address: Rua Serpa Pinto, 1200-445 Lisbon, +351 21 347 7225
Open since 1905, A Brasileira has become one of Lisbon’s most evocative cafés. In a country fixated by coffee, the café has a proud history as a pioneer of authentic Brazilian coffee beans in the early 20th century. Guests can also enjoy the seating area, which is adorned with a seated statue of Modernist poet Fernando Pessoa. Legend has it that in the decades following the installation, older housewives could often be seen discussing their woes and grievances with this most patient and least argumentative of listeners.
Address: Rua Garrett 120, Lisbon, +351 21 346 9541
Cantinho do Avillez
One of a chain of restaurants run by chef José Avillez, the Cantinho do Avillez is a relaxed and modern atmosphere. Carefully designed with old-school furnishings by architect Ana Anahory and decorator Felipa Almeida, the interior is designed to be reassuringly cheerful and simple, and is conducive to enjoyment of the well-executed Portuguese cuisine. Avillez is the first Portuguese to score two Michelin stars, and Cantinho is an excellent option for those who wish to experience the best of Portuguese cuisine.
Address: Rua Duques de Bragança, Lisbon, +351 21 199 2369
To Burger Or Not To Burger, to give its full name, is a zanier outfit altogether and is found on Rua Capelo, conveniently around the corner from the Baixa/Chiado metro station and the Largo de Camões. A quality burger restaurant, To.B commits serious effort to providing an uncommonly broad variety of products and condiments, indeed, it is one of a very few Portuguese establishments where you might be able to track down a veggie burger. A wide selection of sauces and delicious chips rounds off the experience at this unique and refreshing restaurant.
Address: Rua Capelo, 24, Chiado, Lisbon, +351 21 347 1046
Sea Me is a new innovation in Portugal’s continuing love affair with seafood, offering Asian-themed dishes alongside new permutations of the classics. It’s the place to be if you’d like to take a step outside the standard Portuguese set menu, an experience new twists on European and Japanese dishes alike. Set in a spacious, modernistic environment with the traditional open-view kitchen unit at the head of the room, this is a fine night out for fish and seafood enthusiasts.
Address: Rua do Loreto 21, Lisbon, +351 21 346 1564
A Minhota da Prata
A Minhota da Prata is a good old-fashioned Portuguese café-restaurant and pastelaria, preparing local favourites at excellent prices. Situated at the heart of the district, a short way along from Baixa’s grand central avenue the Rua Augusta, it is well-situated for tourists who fancy straying a little from the beaten track, and also conveniently close to one of the city’s numerous tramlines. A Minhota da Prata may be one of Lisbon’s best kept secrets, for a real local lunch, visitors can do no better.
Address: Rua da Prata, 75, Baixa, Lisbon, +351 21 342 6127
O Povo (‘The people’), near to the riverbank, is attempting to revive the role of the traditional Portuguese tasca or tavern. To this end, it cultivates the best poetry and music of the surrounding area, and employs a number of musicians, focusing particularly on practitioners of fado song. Good for a light lunch salad or sandwich, O Povo serves hot tapas snacks every night until midnight, and continues to serve cold food through the small hours.
Address: Rua Nova do Carvalho 32-36, Lisbon, +351 21 347 3403