Few European capitals deliver fresh seafood like Lisbon, and fantastic restaurants are never hard to find, even on a budget. Before heading out for a night of drinking in eclectic Bairro Alto or trendy Principe Real, Lisbon’s nightlife centers, try one of these neighborhood seafood restaurants for dinner. A few are also great lunchtime spots. From bacalhau to dourada or clams to crab, some of these venues offer the best traditional seafood dishes from the region, while others are the city’s “go-to” spots for international flavors.
One of Lisbon’s more popular budget-friendly seafood restaurants is Marisqueira M in Bairro Alto. Located midway between Bairro Alto and Chiado, it’s easy to reach, and it is near many local bars so you can continue your night after dinner. Unfortunately, it’s not an option for lunch, but the doors open at 6pm and close at 1am, meaning plenty of time to dine. A few recommendations include the regular seafood platter (serving 2-3) for less than €30 or the seafood rice for €12.50.
Look for the huge octopus hanging from the ceiling and you will find A Cevicheria. In the midst of the traditional Portuguese seafood restaurants, this Peruvian gem shines with its South American specialty, ceviche, as the focal point. Chefs prepare the dishes from inside an open kitchen, so customers can see how the food is prepared. At A Cevicheria, you’ll find the local fresh seafood served with a Peruvian twist and in an artistic display, and the restaurant showcases Portuguese azulejo tiles in the décor, adding a bit of local tradition to the ambiance.
South of Bairro Alto, just a short walk from the heart of the neighborhood, is where you will find the Bairro do Avillez, a unique concept space where each corner has its own focus. There is a gourmet deli, a tavern, patio, cabaret bar, and a Peruvian cantina. The patio, or Páteo as it’s known at Bairro do Avillez, is the seafood hotspot and a charming location for lunch or dinner. Prices are higher compared to the average in Lisbon, but what can you expect from a venue owned by one of the city’s Michelin chefs (who also owns the only two-Michelin-star restaurant in the city)? On the menu you’ll see fresh shellfish, seafood appetizers, and traditional favorites like Açorda, in addition to so much more.
Restaurant, Portuguese, European, South American, Mediterranean, $$$
Peixola is a self-proclaimed “fish restaurant and rum bar” located between Bairro Alto’s action and the crowds in Cais do Sodré, and, yes, everything on the menu revolves around fish and rum. At Peixola, you’ll experience a mix of traditional and modern dishes with both Portuguese and international flavors. A few menu items include tuna tartare, bacalhau, tuna pica-pau (inspired by the Portuguese beef classic called pica-pau), and ceviche.
The Cantinho do Bem Estar is a lovely and traditional small restaurant in Bairro Alto that focuses on serving locally favorite recipes and share-worthy dish sizes. This is definitely one of those places where you will see many locals in addition to the tourists who have been pointed in the Cantinho’s direction. A couple of special recipes are the arroz de tamboril com gambas (rice with monkfish and shrimp) and amêijoas à bulhão pato (clams in a garlic and wine sauce).
Aqui Há Peixe translates to “There is Fish Here,” and this restaurant has been declaring those words since it first opened its doors in 1987. On the menu, you’ll see Portuguese and Brazilian recipes including Cataplana (originally from the Algarve), a variety of grilled finfish served alongside vegetable rice, and canja de peixe (fish soup). Bright and cozy, this is a favorite restaurant for Lisbon’s residents looking for grilled, baked, or roasted fish recipes.
Located near the Carmo Convent and the Chafariz do Carmo landmark, the Mar ao Carmo marisqueira (seafood restaurant) is one more fantastic location where you can order platters of fresh seafood and a variety of quality fresh fish cooked to perfection. For parties who don’t mind spending a bit more than is expected in Lisbon (a meal for two, excluding drinks, can easily cost around €40), this is another wonderful restaurant to check out, and the bright open dining room adds to the inviting experience.