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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.