Portuguese dining rituals tend to follow the Mediterranean siesta body clock.
Most restaurants are very small, family run and generally cheap. Some of them have a sheet on the door with the "pratos do dia" (dishes of the day) written on it. These dishes are usually cheaper and fresher than the rest of menu there, and unless you're looking for something specific, they're the right choice.
During the dinner the waiter will probably bring you some unrequested starter dishes (called couvert): as those are not free, feel free not to touch them and they will not be charged on your bill (but check it!).
Never ask a taxi driver about what restaurant you should go, they will take you to an expensive tourist-oriented restaurant, where they will receive a commission.
For Portuguese traditional cuisine at its finest, head to the area of Chiado.
Tourist traps with laminated menus and meal deals are mostly concentrated in the Baixa area.
It has an exception, however: Rua das Portas de Santo Antão (north-east from Praca dos Restauradores, parallel to it)--it's the seafood strip, and home to the best greasy spit-roasted chicken this side of Louisiana at the Bonjardim restaurant (Travessa (not Rua!) Santo Antão, 11 - it's in two buildings across a small side street), appropriately nicknamed Rei dos Frangos.
For a familiar taste at one of the many chain eateries, head to Doca de Santo Amaro (train/tram 15 station Alcantara-Mar) and Parque das Nações (metro Oriental).
All the culinary and clubbing kudos is right now concentrated in Doca de Jardim de Tabaco (piece of river waterfront right under Castelo de Sao Jorge).
Quality dishes for a high price are in well-to-do Lapa.
Tour groups primarily feel at home in Alfama.
Traditional Portuguese restaurants are in Bairro Alto, scattered abundantly through its quirky narrow streets.
Make sure that you dine at a restaurant that plays traditional fado music. Beware that you'll pay more than in normal restaurants, and the food and drink quality may not be up to the price, you're paying for the music experience.
Try the magnificent pastéis de nata at any pastelaria; or better yet, visit the Antiga Confeitaria de Belém (Casa Pasteis De Belem) (Rua de belem 84; +351 21 363 74 23; take eléctrico #15 from Praça do Comércio, or the Cascais suburban train line from Cais do Sodré station, to Belém stop). They are served right out of the oven there, with the side of confectioner's sugar and cinnamon; as you navigate through the azulejo-decorated labyrinthine passages of the expansive shop, stop to look at the workers behind glass panels turning the endless stream of these delicacies, just baked, each in its own little ramekin, over onto the waiting trays. These are absolutely a must eat and you can't possibly regret it.
You will find traditional meals served in small coffeeshops/restaurants, especially in the old parts of town. Some will be better than others, just check if there are a lot of locals eating there! They will be very cheap (as low as €5 for a full meal) and home-style cooking. The owners probably wont speak English and the menu will probably be in Portuguese only!
Caf Buenos AiresCalada Escadinhas do Duque No. 31Phone: +351 21 3420739A good and selected combination of cheap and mid range dishes. The owners are very friendly and speak English, as well as Portuguese. (It is a good restaurant if you want to eat South American grilled meat.) MestioArco das Portas do Mar, 9Phone: 963660756What used to be a Nepalese curry house is now a very friendly African eatery with authentic food. In the evening musicians play for an even more atmospheric setting. Very reasonably priced - total of about about 8-12 per person.
Mercado da RibeiraCais do SodreLunchtime all-you-can-eat buffet (soup, main course, dessert). Unlike much of Lisbon's restaurants, offers a good selection of salads. A bargain at 7.50.
Rosa da Rua RestaurantRua da Rosa, 265, Bairro AltoPhone: 213432195Hours: 12:30pm to 3pm, and 7:30pm to 11:30pm. Closed all day Monday and lunchtimes Saturday and SundayPrice: 10 for buffet lunch; 25 for 3-course dinnerA traditional restaurant offering an interesting mix of Portuguese, Indian, and Cape Verdean flavours. The lunch-time buffet offers excellent value for money and great quality food. Staff are patient with English speakers. Mamma Rosa Ristorante PizzeriaRua do Gremio Lusitano, 14 Barrio AltoPhone: 213465350Price: approx 9 a pizzaGreat pizzas, cheap Portuguese wine and very helpful friendly staff who have given lots of tourist information to customers in the past.
Groceries and markets
Grocery stores are closed on Sundays after 1PM, except (a) those smaller than 2000m2 or (b) from November 1 to December 31.
Mercado da RibeiraAvenida 24 de JulhoHours: 7AM-1PM except SundayA large indoor farmer's market open in the mornings. This is a great place to buy snacks for the day while traveling on a budget. Pick up nuts, fruit, veggies, cheese, bread or meat or delight your travel mate with some beautiful flowers. Go early! as the stands tend to close down in the early afternoon.
A TasquinhaLargo Contador Mor 5/7Great food; owner and guest signers perform fado on Fri evenings without charging extra for it; many outdoor tables; great red Sangria. Try bacalau with potatoes and onion in cream sauce--excellent change from ubiquitous "rice/chips with grilled everything".
ChapitoHours: Dinner: from 7:30pmGreat views are the main feature if you reserve terrace seat in advance. Good atmosphere; international-menu food is tasty but nothing special.
Nctar WineBarR. dos Douradores, 33Email: firstname.lastname@example.orgPhone: 912633368Hours: Lunch: Mon-Sat 12:30pm-3pm; Dinner: Mon-Thu 6pm-11pm; Fri-Sat: 6pm-12amPrice: 25-35Features daily lunch menu; Portuguese and Mediterrenean cuisine. A place dedicated to the promotion of Portugal's wine and gastronomic culture. The wine list comprises - in its vast majority - a selection of Portuguese wines which best represent the country. Wine can be bought by the glass, and it is served at the appropriate temperatures and in suitable glasses. Dishes - served in portions for 2 - easily replace a main course meal. Homemade-style desserts, for which sweet wines can be suggested. A modern and cosy atmosphere. TamarindRua da Gloria 43-45Phone: 213 466-080Price: Avg bill per person: 30Small Indian restaurant. Os TibetanosPhone: +351-213142038Hours: Monday to Friday 12h15 to 14h15 and 19h30 to 22h00, Saturday 12.45h to 15h and 20h to 22.30h, closed SundayPrice: InexpensiveVegetarian restaurant affiliated with a Buddhist center. Vegan friendly. Juice bar.
Arroz MariaDoca de Sto AmaroPhone: +351 (21) 395-4677Price: 25 (two courses with wine and port)Spanish food restaurant with fabulous seafood with a great view of the Tejo river and the Ponte de 25 Abril. Excellent service and really fresh food. Don't miss the tamboril (monkfish) with the tomato and asparagus sauce. Really worth the effort to get there, the Docas area is fairly newly developed, and the railway line makes it hard to find a way across the main road, but with determination it's a great spot to go to. It's one of a number of restaurants of varying types along this stretch of the quayside, but it stands out for quality and value. Check it out before it gets 'trendy'.
Come PrimaRua do Olival, 258Email: email@example.comPhone: +351 (21) 390 24 57Price: 18Traditional style fresh pasta dishes, various starters, risottos, meats and wood-oven pizzas are produced from a wide selection of prime quality fresh ingredients. Extensive wine list procured from both national and Italian producers and a delightful choice of desserts carefully picked from the Italian classics.
TerraRua da Palmeira 15Phone: +351 707 108 108Price: 15-20 (Vegetarian Buffet plus drink and/or dessert)Probably the best vegetarian restaurant in Lisbon and also the nicest in terms of ambience and service. They have a menu in English and will help with vegan choices or people with other dietary restrictions. Reservations are recommended, especially on weekends but you will always be served even if you arrive with the place full and have to wait for a while. Weather permitting try to get a table "outside", which means a wonderful and secluded back terrace. SulRua do Norte 13Phone: +351 21 346 24 49Price: 30 (2 courses with wine and cocktail)Delicious Mediterranean and South American food. Good wine and drinks list. Helpful staff will translate the menu, which is written on the blackboard, and happily cater for vegetarians. Gets packed in the evenings so bookings recommended if you're eating from 9PM onwards. No outdoor tables. Lisboa NoiteRua as Gaveas, 69Phone: 21 346 85 57Fax: 213 460 222A restaurant with a variety of traditional Portuguese dishes very appreciated by the tourists. Friendly environment, great service. Make sure you try the appetizers. Ali a PapaRua da Atalaia 95Phone: +351 (21) 347-4143Hours: Dinner only: 7pm-4amPrice: 20 (two courses with house wine)Mediocre quality and rude service, but has veggie options. CalcutRua da Atalaia 28Phone: +351 (21) 346 -8165Price: 25 (two courses with house wine)Decent Indian food, but far from the best. The location is great though for starting a night out on the town. Ask for the shoot drinks! Imperio dos sentidosRua da Atalaia, 35, Bairro AltoPhone: 21 343 18 22A popular restaurant that offers a diverse menu of traditional Portuguese, international and vegetarian cuisine. The difficulty will be in choosing what to eat as this mid-range restaurants menu is both broad and deep in terms of tantalising dishes on offer. The solution for a couple is to agree on the dishes and swap over half-way in order to double the gastronomic experience. Their speciality Champagne Sangria is a must do. The opening hours accommodate those that like to eat before 9pm and for those that dinner is an after 10pm affair. The waiting staff speak English and will humorously and patiently (with one raised eyebrow) assist you navigate your attempts to order in Portuguese. If you have the funds, there are various works of art on the walls available for purchase. Open from 7:30pm to 2am; Closed on 2nd Wednesday SacramentoCalcada Do Sacramento 40Email: firstname.lastname@example.orgPhone: +351 (21) 342 05 72Price: 40 (appetizer, main, wine and desert)A popular locals place. The atmosphere and the food are excellent. Service was very good and the receommendations by the staff were outstanding. The writing on the menu is very small and difficult to read in the subdued lighting.
ElevenRua Marqus da FronteiraPhone: +351 (21) 386-211If you really feel like splurging, this is the place. The restaurant was recently awarded a Michelin Star, although the basis on which the award was made are disputable.
Il GattopardoAv. Eng. Duarte Pacheco, 24Hours: Lunch: 12:20PM - 3:30PM, Dinner: 7:30PM-11:30PMAn elegant restaurant serving fashionable gourmet Italian with a big price tag.
GambrinusRua das Portas de Santo Antao, 23Email: email@example.comPhone: +351 21 342 14 66Hours: 12:30pm-1:30amOne of the most chic places in the city. Highly recognized in Lisbon as something of an institution, it attracts an eclectic crowd where the appeal is food and a great selection of beers, wines and spirits. Features smoking room, private parking with a doorman.