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Ajuda and Restelo travel guide for food lovers



Neighboring the popular neighborhood of Belém, famous for its ancient statues and edible monuments such as Pastéis de Belém, we find the areas of Ajuda and Restelo. While technically these are two distinct Lisbon neighborhoods, they’re so close by, that if you are in the area we’d encourage you to check out both of them.

While Ajuda is a typical area for middle-class people to live in, Restelo is a bit more high-end. Both neighborhoods are relatively quiet, yet in Ajuda you definitely feel a more pronounced “bairro” vibe, that is, a quaint neighborhood atmosphere and a certain sense of a tighter-knit community. Restelo is home to bigger homes which are residences for more affluent families and even a considerable number of embassies and consulates, exuding tranquility and a slightly fancier aura. 



If there’s one thing that Ajuda and Restelo do have in common is that they are often overlooked by travelers who focus their time entirely in Belém and who, by doing so, bypass many of the delights of these neighborhoods. Of course we’re talking about culinary delights, as there are many restaurants and food businesses which are very well worth your visit around here. And there are also other fascinating places you could visit, including the Ajuda National Palace, home to Portugal’s royal family after the infamous earthquake, fire and tsunami of ​​1755, and the Ajuda Botanical Garden, which is the oldest botanical garden in Portugal. 



These are some of the best places to try Portuguese food and drinks in Ajuda and Restelo: 


Best restaurants for Portuguese food in Ajuda 



Andorinhas can please your taste buds from noon to midnight (except on Sunday when they’re open until 5PM), and it does so with the best knowhow of Portuguese cuisine, while letting some influences of international cuisine, particularly from Portugal’s ex-colonies, shine through. If you ask around Ajuda’s residents, many will state that this is their favorite place to go eat out in the neighborhood. This is a proper restaurant for traditional Portuguese food and a great place to visit if you’d like to understand what our cuisine is all about. Taste regional dishes like pork and clams Alentejo style, every-day favorites like fried fish with “naughty rice”, or contemporary comfort classics like creamy oven-baked bacalhau com natas. Grills are also an important part of Andorinhas’ cooking, and so are the desserts, with a particular emphasis on egg-yolk rich conventual sweets 

📍Calçada da Ajuda 197, 1300-009 Lisbon 



Mestrias Nova Tasca 

The lovely town square Largo da Paz in Ajuda hosts Mestrias, a contemporary tasca with indoor and outdoor seating which you can visit not only to taste delicious food with Portuguese character, but also to sip your wine slowly as you people watch and take in the atmosphere of this typical Lisbon neighborhood. Mestrias Nova Tasca’s menu includes petiscos ideal for sharing, as well as more complex recipes which include local delicacies such as suckling pig confit or partridge, as well as internationally inspired dishes like ceviche.  

📍Largo da Paz 22B, 1300-450 Lisbon 


​​Churrasqueira do Marquês 

We have previously argued how a traditional neighborhood in Lisbon ought to have at least one good churrasqueira, that is a restaurant dedicated to charcoal grills such as the uber popular Portuguese peri-peri chicken. If you are a fan of smoked flavors, while in Ajuda you can count on ​​Churrasqueira do Marquês to satisfy your cravings. They cook all sorts of grilled meats, including not only BBQ chicken, but also ribs and pork steaks. If you prefer fish, you may want to explore their salted cod focused menu with popular favorites like grilled cod (bacalhau assado na brasa) or even regional specialities like Braga style cod, typical in the north of the country and often also known as bacalhau à Narcisa, featuring roasted cod with a topping of sauteed onions, bell peppers and tomatoes. If you visit during lunch hours, you can explore the ever changing range of daily specials highlighting not only the usual grills but also other typical dishes of the Portuguese culinary repertoire. 

📍Calçada da Ajuda 184, 1300-146 Lisbon 



Jorge D’Amália 

Bitoques are a little bit like the meat counterpart of pastel de nata: most Portuguese will have their favorite spot for them! Bitoque consists of a serving of a thin pan-fried beef steak, seasoned with olive oil, garlic and bayleaf, served with fries and, often, also white rice and a small portion of side salad. The difference between a regular beef steak and a bitoque is that the latter will invariably be plated with a fried egg on top. This is the idea of every-day comfort food for a lot of Portuguese folks. Jorge D’Amália is known to have “the best bitoque in Lisbon”. We’re always a tad weary of this type of claims, but the truth is that Jorge D’Amália’s bitoque is drenched in a sauce that is hard to resist. Come to Jorge D’Amália for an incredible value for money experience, which may feature bitoque or any of their other meat focused dishes like Francesinha, pica-pau (braised meat with pickles) or moelas (chicken gizzards stew). 

📍Calçada da Memória 20, 1300-396 Lisbon 



Espaço Açores 

To taste authentic Azorean cuisine it would be great if you could indeed travel to the Portuguese archipelago in the Atlantic. But this is not an utmost requirement. Right in the heart of Ajuda you can visit Espaço Açores, a restaurant dedicated to the traditional recipes of the Azores islands, with particular attention given to fish and seafood which Portuguese will often link with the Azores, such as limpets, bicuda, greater amberjack, amongst others. Espaço Açores is located inside Ajuda’s municipal market, and you can visit any day of the week to enjoy not only the food but also the panoramic views of the Tagus river. On Thursdays for lunch they serve a buffet and this is indeed a great opportunity to taste different dishes in order to please your taste buds but also to learn more about Azorean cooking. 

📍Largo da Boa-Hora à Ajuda 19, 1300-098 Lisbon 



Recanto Serrano 

Open since the 80s, Recanto Serrano is a cozy spot that was started by a team hailing from the mountainous region around Serra da Estrela. For such a small country, Portugal does indeed have quite a varied collection of regional recipes and, unfortunately, authentic traditional cooking from the Beira Interior region isn’t always easy to come by in our capital city. Recanto Serrano is the kind of eatery you visit for a slow lunch, with incredible home-style food and service as attentive and friendly as they come. Do not miss comforting dishes such as the oven-roasted pork knuckles; a traditional chanfana that consists of braised goat with red wine; or the surprising and very difficult to come by arroz de carqueja, which is a rice dish prepared with foraged ulex plant.  

📍Calçada da Ajuda 206, 1300-146 Lisbon 



Horta | Páteo Alfacinha 

Horta is a restaurant housed inside Páteo Alfacinha, a space which recreates what Lisbon used to look like back in the day. The traditional vibes at Páteo Alfacinha translate into differently decorated rooms, with artifacts from decades gone by, as well as a lovely patio perfect for outdoor gatherings. Besides the different available areas available to rent for events, regular customers can come visit when they dine at Horta, the resident restaurant which is open for lunch between Tuesdays and Sundays, and for dinner on Friday and Saturday. The menu is all about traditional Portuguese food, highlighting local dishes from Lisbon, which can be sampled as you take in the impressive views over the river. 

📍Rua do Guarda-Jóias 44, 1300-294 Lisbon 



Dois e Dois 

This is a no-frills space that directs all of its efforts towards preparing well-executed generous servings of traditional Portuguese food, bound to make restaurant goers happy for a weekday lunch or a weekend dinner which will energize you for a night out partying. Portuguese love tascas, simple eateries where we tend to assume that a tasty and affordable meal is a given. Unfortunately, such establishments are becoming rarer and rarer in the city center. Dois e Dois is a bonafide tasca worth visiting not only when you are in Ajuda, but even if you have to make a little detour to get there. 

📍Calçada da Boa Hora 11, 1300-091 Lisbon 


A Petisqueira da Boa-Hora 

Despite the name petisqueira, Boa-Hora’s focal point isn’t small dishes, known in Portuguese as petiscos. You may not want to travel to Ajuda for the sake of a meal at A Petisqueira da Boa-Hora but if you’d like to enjoy down-to-earth food any time of the day, even outside of regular meal times, and at amazing value for money, this place is for you! They specialize in grills of meat and fish, with standard sides of fries and salad. Don’t expect anything too elaborate around here, but be rest assured that the dishes served will comfort your belly without hurting your pocket, and the whole experience will be enhanced with family style friendly service. 

📍Rua dos Quartéis 9, 1300-415 Lisbon 



Best restaurants for Portuguese food in Restelo 


Prova – Enoteca 

Prova, which is Portuguese for “tasting” or “tasting session”, is a space that brings together under one roof a specialty food store as well as a restaurant where you can indeed taste their highly curated range of products. Prova’s team is led by couple José Marques and Ana Paula, who before opening this store spent one year traveling all over Portugal and sampling goods from the best small producers from the different regions. After this dream job they opened their doors in Restelo, not only to sell products from Portugal (only 1% of their products are from abroad, including, for example, Belgium chocolates), but also to serve delicious creations which put these very same products at the center of the recipe. Besides cheese and charcuterie boards, you can expect salads with cheeses, open sandwiches with Portuguese preserved fish and, of course, an interesting list of wines to pair the food experience with. 

📍Rua Duarte Pacheco Pereira 9E, 1400-139 Lisbon  



Nunes Real Marisqueira

Simply put, Nunes Real Marisqueira is one of the best seafood restaurants in Lisbon. Walking inside the bottom of the sea inspired ​​Art Déco dining room sets the mood for what has the potential to be one of the most memorable meals you can have in our city. The menu is filled with Portuguese seafood classics (think steamed and pan seared crustaceans with olive oil and garlic) but also more contemporary takes on fresh sea products. Amongst the most daring dishes we’d highlight lobster Basque style (pictured here), seafood bisque with puff pastry and the prawns with caviar – the owner’s favorite! Come to Nunes Real Marisqueira during your Lisbon stay and let all your seafood dreams come true. 

📍Rua Bartolomeu Dias 172 E F, 1400-031 Lisbon 



Tasca do Gordo 

Tasca do Gordo’s menu isn’t extensive but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Between the specials which change every day and their house specialities, there’s always something great to eat around here. Tasca do Gordo’s most famous dishes include dobrada, a white bean and tripe stew originally from the north of Portugal; naco à Gordo, a generous beef steak cooked in their signature manner; and meat skewers known in Portuguese as espetadas. When the weather allows, you can take advantage of the outdoor terrace, where you can also take a breather from the red and white dining room decor, a tribute to Benfica’s football team.  

📍Rua dos Cordoeiros a Pedrouços 33, 1400-071 Lisbon 



A Marítima do Restelo 

Lovers of fresh fish exploring the area of Restelo rejoice as, as the name clearly points out, A Marítima is a great place for all things seafood. During weekdays lunch specials keep varying, and they may include grills, but also other dishes like pan-fried squid with garlic and herbs Algarve style, sea bass with Bulhão Pato sauce (just like the one we’d most typically use for cooking clams), pasta stew with grouper (massada de garoupa) and so much more! If you are visiting A Marítima do Restelo with someone who’d rather eat meat, fear not as their traditional range of recipes include several meaty dishes too.  

📍Rua Bartolomeu Dias 110, 1400-030 Lisbon 




At Descobre simplicity and elegance come together with Portuguese flavor and soul. The cuisine of Descobre is said to be “inspired by Mother Nature”, with a changing menu which adapts itself to the seasons and botanical offers, and that doesn’t shy away from influences that hail from as far as the Indian Ocean. The theme seems to be on point for a restaurant that names itself “discover” and that is located in Restelo, just by the Age of Explorations related Lisbon area of Belém. The menu includes meat and fish dishes, but if you’re not sure what to order amongst so many tantalizing offers, ask for the Descobre Earth and Sea, a surf and turf with a variety of flavors on the same platter. Make sure to select a good wine from the well stocked cellar and, if you wish to continue the gastronomic experience at home, you can also grab a little something from their small but specialized in-house grocery. 

📍Rua Bartolomeu Dias 67, 1400-026 Lisbon 



Café Império Restelo 

Talk about iconic steaks in Lisbon and old-time residents of the city will often speak of Café Império. Their initial location has been open since the mid 50s near Alameda. The more recent location in Restelo brings to the table what local residents have come to expect from Império: juicy beef drenched in Café Império’s signature gravy, a fried egg on top and a simple side of fries which become soggy but tasty after swimming in the sauce (they are served on the side, so this is entirely optional).  

📍Av. da Torre de Belém 1, 1400-342 Lisbon 



Ouvi Dizer… 

“Portuguese cuisine with a contemporary touch” – this is how Ouvi Dizer… (Portuguese for “I’ve heard rumors of…”) introduces itself. We’d add that this contemporary touch is also an international twist, explaining how dishes like French onion soup or chicken and peanut curry. We love their shrimp ​​rissóis [link p/novo artigo sobre salgados] with cilantro and a touch of piri-piri spicy sauce. But we’ve also heard rumors that Ouvi Dizer… has a really good all you can eat buffet of cozido à Portuguesa on Sundays. Shall we go there to check if that’s true?! 

📍Rua Duarte Pacheco Pereira 9D, 1400-139 Lisbon 




O Recanto 

What a gem in the neighborhood of Restelo. O Recanto isn’t exactly unknown: their mouthwatering food and friendly service make it popular with locals and visitors who come to spend the day in Lisbon’s monument district of Belém. Oftentimes, restaurants around Belém can be hit or miss, as this is such a touristic area of Lisbon with one-time customers who aren’t likely to come back. In Restelo, and specifically at O Recanto, you won’t at all get that feeling. Incredible food and an authentic Portuguese sense of hospitality will make your visit a very pleasant one. 

📍Rua Praia do Bom Sucesso 24, 1400-026 Lisbon  



Varanda Azul 

You might have heard of Lisbon’s most popular football clubs: Benfica and Sporting. The third one would be Belenenses, whose home is Restelo’s stadium. Restaurant Varanda Azul is on the top floor of this stadium, offering quite a view of the surrounding areas of Restelo, Belém and its many monuments. Varanda Azul is popular for group meals with set menus, but you can visit for lunch or dinner anytime to enjoy a variety of dishes which include traditional Portuguese recipes, as well as a few international ones. Some of the highlights include the Iberian black pork cheeks with mashed sweet potatoes, the oxtail pie or the razor clam rice. 

📍Edifício Varanda Azul, Avenida do Restelo – Estádio do Restelo, 1449-015 Lisbon 



Best Portuguese pastry shops and bakeries in Ajuda and Restelo 


Pastelaria Outra Opção 

Outra Opção is your typical Portuguese café and pastry store, selling a variety of cakes, savory snacks and bread. Besides these goodies for eat-in or take-away, you can also visit Outra Opção for a quick and affordable lunch during weekdays. The list of dishes keeps changing and it usually features at least six different recipes of meat and fish, as well as a couple of homemade soups. A great neighborhood pastelaria in the area of Ajuda! 

📍Calçada da Ajuda 182, 1300-146 Lisbon 



Pastelaria Careca 

Many Lisbon locals will claim that Careca has the best croissants in the city. But to fully enjoy these sugary bombs, you first ought to forget everything you know about croissants. Careca’s pastries are quite sweet, dense and doughy, and feature a slight caramelization on the outside thanks to a generous sprinkle of caster sugar. Open since 1954, this pastry store is such an iconic business in the neighborhood that, even though it was initially called Pastelaria Restelo, it eventually became known as “Careca”, that is Portuguese for bald, referring to the lack of hair of one of its founders.There’s no croissant lover in Lisbon who hasn’t heard of Careca so if you’re willing to try their unique take on these originally French pastries, we’d highly recommend heading to Restelo to find out what Careca’s croissants are all about – even though they also sell bread, savories and other typical Portuguese pastries. 

📍Rua Duarte Pacheco Pereira 11D, 1440-139 Lisbon 



Pastelaria Majolie 

Just like Outra Opção, Majolie is a neighborhood pastelaria which focuses not only on baked goods but also serves budget lunches during the week. On the sweet side of things, some of their specialities include Portuguese style brioche croissants with syrup, but also assorted cookies and biscuits which follow international recipes, and themed cakes made to order. Pastelaria Majolie is only 1km away from the iconic ​​Pastéis de Belém. So, as you can imagine, competition for sweet treats is fierce around here! 

📍Av. da Ilha da Madeira 30, 1400-225 Lisbon 



Mafra Pão 

Similarly to Careca above, Mafra Pão also sells sugary croissants. Even though they aren’t as well-known and coveted, they are also very good! Sweet treats aside, Mafra Pão is a good option for fresh bread in Restelo. In its name they allude to the rustic style of bread from the region of Mafra, arguably one of the very best regional breads of Portugal, which is just one of the specialties you can find when you visit this store. Buy bread and pastries for take-away, or grab a seat at Mafra Pão for a leisurely breakfast Portuguese style. 

📍Rua Duarte Pacheco Pereira 26E, 1400-140 Lisbon Ajuda-_-Restelo-travel-guide_Nogal-do-Restelo.


Best specialized food stores in Ajuda and Restelo 


Mercado da Ajuda 

As compared to other municipal markets around the city, Mercado da Ajuda is a fairly recent one as it just came up in 2006. The fact that in the 2000s they still thought it’d make sense to build one of these fresh markets is a testament to how the neighborhood of Ajuda still retains much of its traditional character. Just like it happens across most municipal markets in Lisbon, in Ajuda you can find fresh produce, meat, fish, baked foods and general grocery and household items, as well as some places to eat at, including the Azorean cuisine Espaço Açores which we explore above. 

📍Tv. da Boa Hora à Ajuda 1, Lisbon 



Erva Príncipe Mercearia  

Erva Príncipe is a gourmet grocery store in the typical neighborhood of Ajuda. Not only do they sell a selection of food products and drinks from across Portugal for you to take home, you can also taste some of them in-store. Their range includes specialty coffee and tea, Portuguese regional cheeses, preserves, honey, and so much more – always artisanal! Erva Príncipe’s kitchen gets its main stocks from its own grocery, which enables it to serve beautiful dishes such as salads, pastas and open sandwiches. The food is fairly simple, as it’s tasty and very colorful too! 

📍Largo Paz 1A, 1300-450 Lisbon 



Nogal do Restelo 

The main focus of this grocery in the neighborhood of Restelo is fresh produce, particularly seasonal fruits and vegetables. When you visit Nogal do Restelo you can feel that those who work here really like their job and, particularly, that they care about good healthy food. Besides the eye-catching fresh products you’ll also find a small selection of other packaged products, such as flavored apple cider vinegars, cheeses, fruit preserves, pickles and more. 

📍Rua Duarte Pacheco Pereira n11, 1400-139 Lisbon 



If, like us, you enjoy exploring cities beyond the more obvious city center and tourist spots, check out our series of articles focusing on other Lisbon neighborhoods you shouldn’t miss during your next trip to Lisbon: 

Alcântara travel guide for food lovers 

Best Portuguese restaurants in Alvalade 

Benfica’s best restaurants, cafés and markets 

Where to go for food and drinks in Campo de Ourique 

Marvila food and art guide 


If you have any questions about other parts of the city, feel free to reach out to us via Instagram, where you can also share your findings and photos with us tagging @tasteoflisboa #tasteoflisboa 


Feed your curiosity on Portuguese food culture:

How to identify an authentic Portuguese Tasca

Where to eat the best salt cod dishes in Lisbon

Where to eat the best Portuguese custard tarts in Lisbon


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