Alcântara travel guide for food lovers
After virtually traveling with you to Marvila and Alvalade, we continue our mission to explore some of the most interesting neighborhoods of Lisbon which happen to be less known amongst international visitors. Our aim is to unveil some of their secrets from the perspective of food lovers, that is, highlighting the best restaurants, cafés, one-of-a-kind food businesses and, of course, the people who make these areas of the Portuguese capital come alive.
It would sound like a cliche to say that Alcântara is a neighborhood of contrasts, but the old and new are really cohabiting here these days! With a rather well balanced mix of modernity and traditional Portuguese vibes, Alcântara surely deserves your visit while in Lisbon, and way beyond the popular hipster cluster known as LX Factory, where on Sundays the farmer’s market LX Rural takes place, and where some of our recommendations below do happen to be located at.
Alcântara is a former industrial area of Lisbon and you’re still able to see some of the factory buildings and warehouses now converted into all sorts of businesses. Considering this was a place with many working class people, this explains the rather prolific local stores and eateries focusing on Portuguese food, which now cohabit with internationally influenced restaurants and the many clubs that make Alcântara one of the most popular spots for nightlife in Lisbon. Alcântara’s location is also rather strategic, right between Lisbon’s downtown and the district of Belem, with an expansive area by the riverside which invites people to stroll around enjoying the views of the river and the Golden Gate lookalike 25 de Abril bridge.
If you are a food lover traveling to Lisbon, we’d highly recommend popping by Alcântara, which you can easily do on tram E15 from downtown in just about fifteen minutes. These are some of the best places to explore the world of Portuguese food and wine in Alcântara:
Best restaurants for Portuguese food in Alcântara
O Palácio is one of Lisbon’s seafood institutions and is worth a trip to Alcântara just for the sake of indulging in a feast of mollusks and crustaceans. O Palácio is part of the so-called “seafood triangle” of Alcântara, as it’s in an street intersection neighboring two other restaurants dedicated to seafood delights, o David and a Caravana, where once upon a time even more cervejarias dedicated to seafood and beer meals used to exist. This is not the kind of restaurant where you come for a quick bite. Instead reserve a visit to O Palácio for a special meal, to take your time to crack those crab legs by hand, mindfully dip toasted bread in the abundant sauce that comes with your Bulhão Pato style clams, and chat away with the staff and other diners in this informal restaurant where things can get busy and loud, but are always flavorful!
📍Rua Prior do Crato 142, 1350-263 Lisbon
Inserted as part of the once thriving local farmer’s market, O Mercado, which translates as “the market” is one of the best restaurants for traditional Portuguese food in Alcântara. Here you’ll find authentic recipes of the Portuguese cooking repertoire, with particular emphasis given to fresh fish and seafood, which is on display by the counter, for you to inspect if you wish to do so before you make your choice. Apart from a permanent a la carte menu, O Mercado offers daily specials that keep changing and that represent great value for money considering the quality of the food. No matter what you decide to eat, don’t forget to leave some room for dessert, as their home-made choices include some typical Portuguese sweet classics as well as a few specialities which you won’t easily find elsewhere.
📍Rua Leão de Oliveira 19, 1300-350 Lisbon
Solar dos Nunes
This Alentejo cuisine focused restaurant has been open since 1988 and is regularly recommended by the Michelin Guide as a must for Portuguese food lovers in Lisbon. Even though cuisine from the Alentejo has its roots in peasant cuisine, at Solar dos Nunes things are taken up a notch, with refined preparations that still do justice to their origins flavor and cooking technique wise. Some of the best dishes at Solar dos Nunes’ include stews with game meat and one of the most quintessential recipes from the Alentejo, açorda. Solar dos Nunes is such a representative establishment in Lisbon’s dining scene that it is protected under the Lojas com História municipal program which highlights some of the businesses in Lisbon that have most contributed to the social and cultural heritage of our city.
📍Rua dos Lusíadas 68, 1300-366 Lisbon
If you’d like to mingle with the working class of Alcântara during weekdays, come for lunch at O Maravilhas. This is a no-frills, busy and down-to-earth restaurant where you can enjoy a satisfying and affordable lunch which will potentially offer you a quick insight into Portuguese home cooking. O Maravilhas is a family run tasca, with mom D. Ermelinda in the kitchen, and daughter and son-in-law making sure clients are happy at the dining room. Daily specials keep changing but regulars, which make most of the clientele of this restaurant, know that certain days of the week are dedicated to representative dishes of Portuguese cuisine such as feijoada beans and meats stew, fried mackerel with “naughty rice” or pork liver. Straightforward Portuguese comfort food, consistency, friendliness and unbeatable value for money – are these enough good reasons to visit O Maravilhas? Yes, we certainly think so!
📍Rua Gilberto Rola 20, 1350-155 Lisbon
Not to be mistaken with O Maravilhas, 50 Maravilhas is the type of restaurant you visit when you are hungry, really hungry! 50 Maravilhas is famous for their generous portions of typical Portuguese food and, in particular, for their bitoque thin beef steak with a fried egg, which is served buried under a tower of homemade fries. The menu includes great variety with ever changing daily specials that really do justice to the recipes from north to south of Portugal. 50 Maravilhas’ large servings can often make it a little hard to leave room for dessert but, trust us, it’s worth making the effort!
📍Rua Gilberto Rola 20, 1350-155 Lisbon
Navigating the food scene of LX Factory isn’t always an obvious affair. In between overpriced average quality eateries with fancy decor you do find some good options, and 1300 Taberna is one of them. This massive restaurant in LX Factory will catch your eye because of its industrial decor but, aesthetics aside, it delivers a surprising menu of Portuguese dishes which you can try a la carte or when you order one of their tasting menus paired with selected wines. 1300 Taberna’s cooking is Portuguese contemporary and it translates into dishes such as octopus rice cooked inside a charcoal oven, Brás style salted cod with roasted onions, or fish filets (varying according to the catch of the day) served with Portuguese couscous with clams. To close in style we’d go for the selection of Portuguese cheeses and fruit jam, paired with sweet Carcavelos wine.
📍LX Factory, Rua Rodrigues de Faria 103 arm. H, 1300-501 Lisbon
If you’re in the mood for petiscos and sharing food with company while in Alcântara, come to A Praça and keep yourself busy with their tantalizing range of appetizers. Small plates of salted cod croquetes with Azores cheese, roasted blood sausage with tangy pineapple or scrambled eggs with farinheira can warm things up for entrees featuring heavier proteins like steak, duck, octopus or pork. For dessert we’d recommend the chocolate jumping jack, which takes a typical Portuguese chocolate mousse and adds a twist of fleur de sel and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil – we know that it may sound odd, but it’s incredible!
📍Rua Rodrigues de Faria 105, 1300-501 Lisbon
This is not the first time we write about this hidden gem of a place, which was also highlighted in our article about the best fish and seafood restaurants in Lisbon. Último Porto may be hidden from the main roads but it is never empty at around meal times, and that in itself is a testament to how worth it it is to go out of your way to come eat here. Don’t expect anything fancy to land on your plate. At Último Porto it’s all about grilling the freshest catch of the day over charcoal, and pairing it with the usual Portuguese side dishes for fish, which basically revolve around boiled potatoes and vegetables. So simple, so good!
📍Rua Gen. Gomes Araújo 1, 1350-352 Lisboa
Rui dos Pregos
We’re not going to say that Rui dos Pregos is one of the best restaurants in Lisbon or even Alcântara, but it sure is a must stop if what you’re craving is a Portuguese beef steak sandwich known as prego. Rui dos Pregos serves sandwiches that make the buns look too small for the amount of meat tucked in between them. The meat is simply seasoned with salt, garlic and butter and its juices are absorbed by the Mafra bread roll which will prevent your hands from dripping. A prego sandwich and a cold beer is one of those essential Portuguese pleasures you should indulge in while in Lisbon, during meal times or, really, any moment of the day you feel peckish.
📍Passeio Doca de Santo Amaro, 1350-353 Lisbon
Doca de Santo
Doca de Santo’s menu isn’t entirely Portuguese. Instead, this lovely riverside spot by the dock of Santo Amaro mixes Portuguese classics such as bacalhau à Brás or grilled Iberian black pork, with international hits like Thai curry with prawns and fettuccine with mushrooms and truffled cream. For an experience with more local flavors, we recommend ordering from the lunch menu of daily specials which feature tasty and more affordable Portuguese recipes, which you can savor while you enjoy the green atmosphere of Doca de Santo, which is particularly nice outdoors.
📍Armazém CP – Doca de Santo Amaro, 1350-353 Lisbon
This bar and bistro is, hands down, one of the best places for Portuguese tapas in Alcântara. Even though Quotidiano does offer some main dishes which focus on beef and salted cod, as well as a few vegetarian options, the spotlight here has to be placed on the petiscos. Their appetizers’ menu is very complete, and it includes well made small dishes of chicken gizzards known in Portuguese as moelas, garlic prawns, fried cuttlefish strips, flame grilled chorizo, steamed cockles, salted cod and chickpeas salad, and so much more. Offering a few options of cheese and meat platters, Quotidiano is also an ideal stop to try Portuguese cheeses and charcuterie with a glass of wine.
📍Largo das Fontaínhas 7, 1300-255 Lisbon
Best cafés and bakeries in Alcântara
A typical Lisbon neighborhood wouldn’t be complete without a proper pastelaria, that is a café meets bakery meets hang out spot for the people of the area. Galão dominates one of the corners of Largo do Calvário, one of main squares and transportation hubs in Alcântara, and it’s a neighborhood favorite! Come here for breakfast or an afternoon coffee break with a pastry, to buy bread or cakes to take home, or even for lunch and dinner. Galão’s offer could hardly be more complete, including homemade food and daily specials, desserts, petiscos and friendly service which can often bring about a certain sense of nostalgia for regular customers who have a tendency to reminisce about days gone by in the city.
📍Rua 1º de Maio 2, 1300-113 Lisbon
Owner Diogo Amorim was at the forefront of Lisbon’s artisanal bread revolution, which was kick started when he first opened Gleba in Alcântara. This bakery dedicated to sourdough bread entirely made with Portuguese grains has now stores in several neighborhoods in and around Lisbon, but their first store and main baking facilities are still located in Alcântara, where you can several times a day smell the tantalizing freshly baked bread as it comes out of the oven. Wheat, rye, blended cereals, spelt, brioche, multigrain… Everything you could ever buy at Gleba is delicious and of the highest quality, supporting Portuguese farmers and putting money directly into the national economy.
📍Rua Prior do Crato 16, 1350-261 Lisbon
“Devilishly good chocolate cake!” – this is how Landeau’s chocolate cake has been described before and we couldn’t agree more. Landeau is a heaven on earth for chocolate lovers. They specialize in just one recipe of chocolate cake, but that delivers such complexity and elegance on the palate, with layers of different textures and intensities of cacao. Landeau’s menu is small: this is the place you visit for one thing and one thing only… chocolate! Chocolate cake, a small variety of hot chocolate (with milk or pure cacao) and a few other hot and cold drinks. A must stop for chocolate connoisseurs in Alcântara!
📍Rua Rodrigues de Faria 103, 1300-501 Lisbon
When you are a Portuguese kid growing up, chances are the first thing you learn how to “cook” is salame de chocolate, that is, a chocolate and crushed biscuits roll that resembles a salami but that has nothing to do with meat. Salamaria opened its doors in LX Factory to redefine and expand the concept of chocolate salami, introducing a variety of flavors that has turned this favorite that transcends age into a more gourmet product. Beside the regular chocolate flavor, at Salamaria you can enjoy salame de chocolate with coconut and prunes, Snickers inspired flavor, red velvet, oreo, nutella, peanut butter and caramel, and many more that keep rotating so that you always have a sweet excuse to come back and try something new.
📍LX Factory, Rua Rodrigues Faria 103, 1300 -501 Lisbon
Shopping in Alcântara: speciality food and wine shops
Agrovinhos is, by far, the most complete wine and liquor store in Alcântara, not only including a great range of table wines, Portuguese fortified wines and all sorts of beverages, but also a small selection of high quality Portuguese regional cheeses and charcuterie. The availability of wines is great, while the staff of Garrafeira Agrovinhos is incredibly helpful and always happy to recommend wines to try according to your taste and budget.
📍Rua Fradesso da Silveira 45, 1300-260 Lisbon
Fancy some canned sardines with edible gold? This is just one of the extravagant things you’ll find at Comur, a store specialized in canned seafood with its doors open in downtown Lisbon as well as in LX Factory. Comur sells more than fifteen varieties of preserved fish, including more down-to-earth flavors such as olive oil, spicy tomato sauce or herbs. Canned seafood dishes are a must for food lovers exploring Lisbon’s cuisine and, even though there are places where you can sit and taste these in a relaxed manner, purchasing some cans to take back home is one of the best edible souvenirs you can buy from Portugal. If you stock up on canned sardines and Azores tuna while in Portugal, you could even prepare some of our easy recipes at home!
📍LX Factory, R. Rodrigues de Faria 103, 1300-501 Lisbon
Cool places to grab a drink in Alcântara
Ler Devagar is a bookstore, so it may come across as a little odd that we are including this as a recommended place to go to for a drink. But hear us out! Ler Devagar is one of the most inviting book shops in Lisbon and, besides selling books stacked in an eye-catching way across two floors, they also often host events such as exhibitions and concerts. On the ground floor Ler Devagar has a permanent café where you can grab a cup of coffee or a beer while you read slowly (that’s what the name of the business translates as), but also while soaking in the creative and imaginative vibes.
📍LX Factory, Rua Rodrigues de Faria 103 – G 0.3, 1300-501 Lisbon
If you are a Portuguese craft beer lover, a visit to Quimera Brewpub while in Alcântara is mandatory. Not only is this the place in the neighborhood that has the widest selection of craft beers by the bottle, they also have their rotating repertoire of inhouse brewed ales available as drafts. Even if you don’t like beer, a stop by Quimera is worth it for the architecture and atmosphere alone, as this pub is housed in a former royal tunnel from the 18th century, that the cavalry used to connect to the palace above the hill. Their delicious selection of New York deli inspired sandwiches made with sourdough bread from Gleba bakery will help you master the courage for order yet another round!
📍Rua Prior do Crato 6, 1350-261 Lisbon
Besides the world of food and drinks, Alcântara has a lot to keep you entertained. These are just a few of the unique things you can do in this neighborhood of Lisbon:
- Stroll around the happening LX Factory (and eat at some of the recommended places above);
- Discover the 25 de Abril bridge from up above joining the Pilar 7 Bridge Experience;
- Immerse yourself in Asian art and culture at Museum of the Orient;
- Surround yourself with greenery at Tapada da Ajuda, which you can access in Alcântara itself entering the gate near the bus stop marked on Google Maps as Alcântara – Cç. da Tapada, and which eventually connects to Monsanto, the biggest forest park in Lisbon;
- Soak up the views at one of Alcântara’s viewpoints: our favorite is Miradouro do Bairro do Alvito (Estr. Estrangeira 2), which offers an incredible postcard of the river, the bridge and the South Bank;
- Enjoy the sunset with incredible views over the river at Doca de Santo Amaro, where you can also sign up for a sailing trip at one of the resident boat operators.
We hope to have inspired you to include Alcântara in your travel plans for Lisbon. If you need further tips or if you simply visit one of the places we recommend above and you’d like to share your experience with us, we’re always happy to hear from you on Instagram! Please tag us: @tasteoflisboa #tasteoflisboa
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