Few recipes are simpler or more comforting than a bifana, and a great bifana is never far away in Lisbon. There are some spots, however, that certainly stand out among the others. Considered one of Portugal’s favorite sandwiches, and a cheap, delicious snack to boot, it’s one of those traditional recipes that meat-loving visitors should try at least once (perhaps twice, or multiple times). Here’s where to find the best bifanas in Lisbon.
It can’t get better than a place called House of Bifanas, can it? Perhaps it can, if it’s filled with regulars, which the Casa das Bifanas nearly always is. This is a local’s spot, conveniently located at one of Lisbon’s famous historic squares, Praça da Figueira, and a casual eatery for quick, delicious snack-foods. In addition to their bifanas, try the prego (the beef version of a bifana) and don’t be afraid to glance through the full menu, filled with fish and meat dishes, soups, and appetizers.
Vying with the Casa das Bifanas for the title of the best bifanas in Lisbon is Café Beira Gare (it’s their house specialty), found across the street from the entrance to the beautiful Rossio Station (and a short, three-minute walk from the Casa das Bifanas). Despite its convenient location in one of the busiest, most tourist-filled parts of the city, the prices are fair and the bifana costs €2.90 (£2.50).
O Trevo was once Anthony Bourdain-approved for their bifanas. If that doesn’t convince you, what will? On the corner of Praça Luís Camões, just a skip from the fancy Rua Garrett, it’s a traditional and laid-back spot in another of Lisbon’s more bustling neighborhoods. Why not visit at lunchtime for a bifana, a cold beer, and some Portuguese petiscos while watching Lisbon’s downtown flash by outside?
Eating a bifana is as much part of the Lisbon experience as riding on one of the historic trams… or eating sardines on bread. Bifanas do Afonso is another locally-approved spot amidst the many choices. Just don’t expect to sit as you savor your sandwich, because this is the place for a quick bite before continuing on your way—really, there is only standing room.
If your desire for tasting the best bifanas in Lisbon at the cheapest prices is strong (and you don’t mind going on a little adventure through Lisbon’s more traditional neighborhoods) let us suggest visiting the Tasca do Fonseca. It’s another one of those spots that’s filled with locals, and the delicious bifanas only cost €2.20 (£2) each. One of the easiest ways to get there from downtown is by jumping on the metro’s blue line until the Jardim Zoologico/Sete Rios stop. Follow the signs for the zoo as you leave the metro and then let your phone’s GPS guide you on a short, 10-minute walk the rest of the way.
The bifanas at O Triângulo da Ribeira come in four different ways, ranging in price from €1.80 to €2.60 (£1.60 to £2.30)! You will find them behind the famous Mercado da Ribeira in Cais do Sodré. Like the other local tascas, this isn’t a fancy place to eat but it is a tasty one—which is what matters when looking for a bifana, right?
For a tasty bifana or prego sandwich near Cais do Sodré, try the BDO Bifanas Bar, located behind the neighborhood’s Pink Street. The sandwiches are served alongside chips and can be enjoyed late into the night, so it’s not a bad way to soak up the alcohol after your visit to Pink Street.