The Best Cheap Eats in Lisbon

Enjoy great food on a budget in Lisbon
Enjoy great food on a budget in Lisbon | © Greta Gabaglio / Alamy Stock Photo
Francisco Henriques

In Lisbon, it’s easy to find great food when you’re on a budget. To get the best deals on tasty meals, check out Culture Trip’s selection of the best cheap eats in the Portuguese capital.

Good restaurants are easy to come by if you’re willing to spend plenty of money, but not so much if you’re trying to economise. Fortunately, there are plenty of restaurants in Lisbon designed to please both your taste buds and your wallet. If you’re looking to save your euros, check out Culture Trip’s roadmap of affordable and delicious meals in the city.

1. Zé da Mouraria

Restaurant, Portuguese

If not for the persistent crowd at the door, you would probably get lost searching for Zé da Mouraria, which is hidden in a narrow cobbled street in the age-old Mouraria quarter. This establishment has made a name for itself thanks to its delicious traditional dishes (the cuttlefish is a must-have) and very generous portions. The walls are covered with pictures of the owner standing with illustrious customers such as actors and politicians, all agreeing that the food is well worth the wait.

2. Padaria do Povo

Restaurant, Portuguese

The Padaria do Povo was first founded as a bakery in 1904, by order of the King of Portugal, to provide the Campo de Ourique quarter with fresh bread. Nowadays, it’s a picturesque diner with old posters on the walls, serving fairly priced local snacks known as petiscos. It’s a place for sharing a meal with friends and paying little attention to time. More of a bar than a restaurant, it has a large terrace with table football (where local experts await) and rough wooden tables that are perfect for summer evenings.

3. Kokoro Ramen Bar

Restaurant, Portuguese

Kokoro Ramen Bar, as the name implies, is the place to go to if you’re craving generously filled bowls of savoury broth. The menu is very affordable and kept simple: there are only three options available – chicken, pork or vegetarian ramen – with extras added according to taste. The simplicity extends to the small restaurant’s decoration: well-lit, with unadorned wooden walls, it’s inviting for a meal but is not somewhere you want to spend too much time. They only have room for 16 customers at a time, so come early.

4. Adega do Solar Minhoto

Restaurant, Portuguese

In the Alvalade neighbourhood, away from the touristy downtown, is where you’ll find Adega do Solar Minhoto, right next door to the local fire station. Although you can’t tell by looking at its unpretentious exterior, this is one of the best places to have a bitoque: Portugal’s customary beef steak with egg on top. The setting is fancier than it once was, with clean walls and brand new tables, but prices have stayed low. The restaurant quickly fills up with locals and English is barely spoken, but you’re guaranteed a warm welcome and a delicious meal.

5. Seafood at Cacilhas docks

Restaurant, Portuguese

Seafood is a trademark of Portuguese cuisine, but it can be expensive. That’s not the case at the Cacilhas harbour, where ferries coming from Cais do Sodre dock and drop off passengers in search of the freshest catch of the day. Behind the boat terminal there’s an open square with several restaurants lined up, each with its own terrace, offering full meals at affordable prices. Restaurante Farol is a good option for seafood.

6. Tasquinha do lagarto

Restaurant, Portuguese

Tasquinha do Lagarto is a great choice if you’re interested in traditional food and the local football league, as it’s a stronghold for fans of the beautiful game. The owner is a huge fan of Sporting Clube de Portugal (one of the biggest football clubs in the country), with pictures and football shirts on the walls signed by famous players. Yet the spotlight here goes to the restaurant’s masterful arroz de garoupa (grouper rice), a traditional Portuguese dish. Try not to go on a game night, as tables will be hard to come by.

7. Café Beira Gare

Restaurant, Portuguese

In the heart of Lisbon, next to Rossio Train Station, is a small restaurant known for its quick and affordable meals. For the full experience, head to the counter and ask for a bifana, a tasty pork steak sandwich. The counter is usually crowded with customers eating, but there’s always room for one more. If you’re not planning on having a beer, it’s better to say so while ordering, or you might get one anyway.

8. Casa dos Passarinhos

Restaurant, Portuguese

Casa dos Passarinhos is famous for its ‘steak on a stone’ – raw steak served and left to sear on a preheated stone, best enjoyed with the homemade mayonnaise and garlic dipping sauce. This restaurant has been serving steaks since 1926 and they’re still the best in town. It might not be as cheap as the other tascas (traditional Portuguese restaurants), but you won’t regret your choice.

9. Cantina das Freiras

Restaurant, Portuguese

Even in the touristy Chiado area, there are restaurants where you’ll get your money’s worth. One such place is Cantina das Freiras. Located on the top floor of a building belonging to a women’s rights association, it may be a bit hard to find, but once you do, the outdoor terrace makes it all worthwhile. You can enjoy breathtaking views of the river here, while enjoying a homely meal at very reasonable prices.

10. Ribs and Company

Restaurant, Portuguese

You probably weren’t counting on having Tex-Mex in Lisbon, but put aside your reservations at Ribs and Company. The meat is smoked for 18 hours to melt-in-your-mouth perfection and served in large portions, all at a surprisingly modest price. The venue has a Texan theme, with rustic wood covering it from top to bottom. For those brave (or hungry) enough, there’s the ongoing challenge of eating a 1.5-kilogram (3.3-pound) burger in half an hour. Besides not paying for the meal, winners get a T-shirt, a customised beer mug and their photo on the wall of fame.

This article is an updated version of a story created by Nina Santos.

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