Figueira da Foz, known as Figueira for short, is a beach lover’s dream located halfway between Lisbon and Porto, and a short 40-minute drive from Coimbra, but this beautiful seaside city is also a great destination for enjoying delicious food. Between the esplanade and the main street along the coast, to the downtown neighborhood and all around, there are many restaurants serving a range of cuisines at different price levels. Use this list to help point you in the right direction of a great meal or two.
Practically across the street from the clock tower on the beach is a strip of restaurants boasting delicious Portuguese seafood recipes and other cultural dishes, and Cervejaria Marisqueira Sagres is located smack in the middle. Visit during the summer or fall and the boards outside display the different seafood platter deals, which customers are always keen to take advantage of. The mixed shellfish platters range in size, having the capacity to serve two to multiple hungry diners, and this brewery-style eatery has different types of Sagres beer available too.
Tucked away on a side street in Buarcos (around the corner from the beach) is a classic Portuguese restaurant called A Cantarinha, another restaurant that specializes in seafood (Figueira was a traditional fishing village, after all), but also offering a myriad of steaks and pork-based dishes, soups and traditional favorites. Try the grilled sardines and/or octopus salad (sardinhas assadas), two house specialties.
Although the restaurant is a little on the cozy side (the main room seats around 60 diners and the terrace seats about 30 more) there shouldn’t be a problem finding a table when visiting outside the summer months, and its semi-secluded location even keeps it free from an abundance of tourists in the busy season (make a reservation in advance, however, during peak vacation days).
The Quinta da Salmanha is a beautiful venue with stunning views of the Mondego River through the floor to ceiling windows, and while it looks like the place for an event (and it is) it’s a lunchtime buffet restaurant most days. The restaurant also opens for dinner on Saturdays only. The long communal tables that fill the dining hall are perfect for large parties, but smaller tables are scattered throughout the space too. Although the meals are varied and plates offer everything from cheese/smoked meat platters, salads, rices, different meats and many desserts, there are days when the menu focuses on seafood (email or call in advance for menu details).
Since it’s a buffet, the price is set between €15-20 per person (all you can eat, but the cost may vary on special days).
Steering away from the traditional Portuguese culture, the fisherman spirit that’s prevalent in Figueira (and so far, in this list) is Caravela Burger Bar. This trendy little eatery in downtown (around the corner from the casino) is a cozy and budget-friendly spot for mouthwatering burgers and sandwiches, as well as delicious drinks (check out their list of gin cocktails and sangria). Offering a variety of hamburger masterpieces, each dish comes with french fries and two dipping sauces.
Coastal views are the norm in Figueira da Foz, but few restaurants take in the stunning landscape quite like Abrigo da Montanha (a name that means “Shelter of the Mountain” in English). Located at the top of the Serra da Boa Viagem, a car is needed to reach this peaceful spot that looks like someone’s private home at first glance. Abrigo da Montanha is a fine dining experience and a romantic restaurant to boot, with a menu that offers various fish and meat dishes at reasonable prices (especially when considering the splendid view). Don’t forget to call in advance and make a reservation.
There is never a bad time for pizza and Gusto Pizza, which opened in 2014, is known for having as close to the real deal as it’s possible to get outside of Italy. The menu offers a long list of Italian-style pizzas, but it also lists a variety of other dishes such as risotto, different spaghetti-like recipes, steaks, carpaccio, bruschetta and more. Desserts like cheesecake and tiramisu round out the menu nicely.
Figueira’s beaches are known for their long walkways to the water’s edge, but restaurants like Areias de Sabores make up for the trek with their ideal locations midway. Areias de Sabores is an iconic spot with a beautifully bright indoor dining room and wide outdoor terrace (the latter is perfect for enjoying the ocean breeze and/or simply cooling off with a drink). Not sure what to order when you visit? The tuna tataki and ceviche are among diners’ favorite choices, as is the sangria.
So maybe this is an artisanal ice cream parlor instead of a full restaurant, but it’s worth a visit nonetheless, either for dessert or a midday snack. This spot opened in 1980 in Figueira and has done so well that a second shop opened later down the street, as well as a third in Lisbon’s Parque das Nações. Sample the different flavors (don’t forget to check if their Arroz Doce dessert flavor is available) and try one of their ice cream masterpieces that come topped with cookies and/or biscuits.