Alvalade travel guide for food lovers
The neighborhood of Alvalade offers a lively and genuine Lisbon experience like not many other parts of town do these days. At just about 15 minutes metro ride away from downtown, this can be a very rewarding area to explore if you’re looking to immerse yourself in a very Portuguese ambiance, eat good food at fair local prices and feel pretty cool while at it. That’s right, according to the Time Out Index, “Alvalade is one of the coolest neighborhoods in the world” – to be more precise, it comes at 17th position.
We’ve known for a long time that Alvalade always had it going on. Not because of its new international fame, but because this is the kind of bairro (that’s Portuguese for neighborhood) where you can feel the pulse of the city, in a fine balance between happening commercial streets and the serenity of residential buildings. There’s always something going on in the streets of Alvalade: restaurateurs inspecting the fresh fish of the day at Mercado de Alvalade, kids being picked up at school by parents at the end of the day, old ladies drinking tea and eating a pastry mid afternoon at a café where the staff has perhaps been working at for a couple of decades, someone walking their dog and greeting the familiar faces at storefronts, groups of friends sipping beer while watching a football match on TV at some corner tasca… you get the picture!
Simply put, Alvalade has lots of local life, particularly around its main street, Avenida da Igreja. So much so, that this was one of the neighborhoods where businesses were less affected during the Covid19 related lockdowns, as this is certainly not an area that relies on tourism to get by. When you live in a neighborhood with such a tightly knit community, people will still keep buying from the local shops or ordering your food for takeout. Interestingly, Alvalade’s businesses’ range includes a very healthy mix that goes from brick-and-mortar shops to chain stores, comprising traditional and contemporary approaches.
Alvalade is also an exceptional neighborhood for grocery shopping and eating out. Besides speciality food and liquor stores, there’s an immense choice of restaurants in the area, including the traditional Portuguese restaurants one has come to expect in this kind of Lisbon neighborhood, but also international cuisines very much in vogue these days.
As this is a travel guide for food lovers, we’d love to recommend some of our favorite places to eat out in Alvalade. As there are truly lots of options, we’re narrowing it down to businesses with a keen focus on Portuguese food and products. So, without further ado, these are the best places to try Portuguese food in Alvalade:
Traditional Portuguese restaurants in Alvalade
A very big portion of traditional restaurants in Lisbon are owned and operated by people from the Minho region of Portugal, where food is a tremendously important part of the culture. Os Courenses owners come from Paredes de Coura, a municipality up north, and they have brought part of the family with them to run the business, from the kitchen to serving staff. This is the kind of restaurant you visit not only because of the stellar food, that includes northern specialities like oven roasted goatling, but also because of the familiar ambiance which makes it easy for you to feel like you’re almost in your own dining room at home.
📍Rua José Duro 27D, 1700-272 Lisbon
The best of traditional Portuguese cooking, funnily enough, prepared by a team who also comes from Coura, supporting our point above. This is the kind of family style restaurant where you’ll see groups gather over the weekends, but also where professionals who work in Alvalade head to for not exactly light weekday lunches. Besides grilled meats and seafood, Dom Feijão’s best dishes include Portuguese classics such as roasted octopus Lagareiro style, Portuguese meats stew, and massada de peixe, a saucy macaroni and fish stew which may not sound very Portuguese, but it is!
📍Largo Machado de Assis 7D, 1700-116 Lisbon
Salsa e Coentros
An unlikely combination of Trás os Montes and Alentejo, two regions of Portugal with rather distinct food traditions, that come together at the table of Salsa e Coentros. Portugal tends to be divided when it comes to the most common fresh herbs used in cooking: parsley (salsa) up north, like in Trás os Montes, and cilantro or coriander (coentros) towards the south, in the Alentejo and further down. At Salsa e Coentros you can taste evocative Trás os Montes dishes like alheira and broad beans stew, or túbaras, a mushroom foraged in the Alentejo, often compared to truffles. Good wines from north to south are also featured on the restaurant’s menu.
📍Rua Cel. Marques Leitão 12, 1700-337 Lisbon
Pomar de Alvalade
Cozido à portuguesa once a week? Check! Afternoon petiscos served between main meal hours? Check! Football memorabilia on the walls? Check! That’s right: Pomar de Alvalade is an authentic Portuguese tasca! After working as a server at Pomar de Alvalade for several years, Carlos Martins bought the business and has been running it as the boss for over two decades already. Come here for lunch, dinner, or for a tasca style afternoon snack of snails or moelas, that is, saucy chicken gizzards.
📍Rua Marquesa de Alorna 21, 1700-303 Lisbon
From steak sandwiches and beef croquetes, to heavier dishes such as Portuguese meats stew, roasted goatling or grilled fish with arroz malandrinho, Tico Tico does a great job at representing the repertoire of traditional Portuguese cooking. Their weekly menu keeps changing to offer more variety to their regular customers, but also to showcase some seasonal foods such as lamprey from Minho River, an ancient jawless fish that looks prehistoric and even intimidating to some, but that the Portuguese tend to love, particularly cooked as a risotto kind of dish.
📍Av. Rio de Janeiro 19, 1700-330 Lisbon
Churrasqueira Rio de Mel
Lovers of peri-peri chicken, rejoice! There’s a reason you often get to see a queue outside Churrasqueira Rio de Mel, and it is because this is, hands-down, one of the best places for frango de churrasco in Lisbon. Smoky chicken, with crispy charred skin on the outside, and succulent soft meat on the inside, with a side of homemade fries and white rice. This is how we eat grilled chicken in Portugal, with an optional splash of spicy piri-piri sauce.
📍Av. da Igreja 25D, 1700-266 Lisbon
Contemporary Portuguese food in Alvalade
O Prego da Peixaria
While the word prego usually stands for a typical steak sandwich, now-a-days in Portugal you’ll find a variety of pregos with other fillings. O Prego da Peixaria is a master at meat and seafood sandwiches, featuring beef but also tuna, salmon, cuttlefish or vegetables. All their sandwiches are served on bolo do caco, a flat(ish) bread made with wheat flour and sweet potato, typical from the Portuguese archipelago of Madeira. Local tip: pregos tend to taste the best with a cold beer!
📍Av. da Igreja 34, 1700-036 Lisbon
Tasco Force’s outdoor patio is one of Alvalade’s best kept secrets. If your idea of a great meal involves sitting at a long wooden table sharing petiscos and wine with your friends, head to Tasco Force and ask for a seat in the backyard. After all, there’s only two or three tables indoors! Taste quintessential Portuguese tapas such as garlic prawns, stewed pork cheeks in a coriander marinade, or settle for a beautiful cheese and charcuterie board to sample as you enjoy some shade under Tasco Force’s garden trees.
📍Rua Acácio de Paiva 5D, 1700-005 Lisbon
Dote Cervejaria Moderna
Francesinha is Porto’s most sought-after contemporary food. It consists of a variety of meats such as ham, fresh sausage, steak and chorizo between two slices of bread, covered with a slightly tomatoey beer sauce, and topped with melted cheese and a fried egg. It’s customary to eat this “sandwich” with fries that taste divine dipped in the Francesinha sauce. It’s not easy to find a good Francesinha in Lisbon, as it’s a traditional dish from the north of Portugal. But here at Dote you can taste what is arguably the best Francesinha in Lisbon, including a vegetarian version.
📍Av. da Igreja 24, 1700-001 Lisbon
If Lisbon has quite a lot of artisanal bakeries these days, which use no yeast and rely on sourdough starter for their breads to rise, Isco stands out because of its Scandinavian influences. Baker Paulo Sebastião trained in Sweden and with him he brought the recipe for cinnamon and cardamom buns, which are to Stockholm what pastéis de nata are to Lisbon. Besides these pastries, Isco’s range of baked goods includes wheat, spelt, rye and blend breads. If Isco started as a bakery it eventually turned into part bistro too, where you can have highly creative dishes of the day that showcase beautiful Portuguese products but that are influenced by world cuisines. Think mackerel with kartoffelsalat, salt cod and fennel salad sandwich, congee with clams and so much more!
📍Rua José d’Esaguy 10D, 1700-267 Lisbon
Neighborhood cafés and dessert shops in Alvalade
One of the fundamental requirements that make a good Lisbon neighborhood is the presence of at least one traditional café and pastry shop, locally known as pastelaria. More than a place for breakfast, coffee breaks and a quick bite, these establishments are meeting points for neighbors to meet, for friends to grab coffee together or to eat something sweet while you chat with the staff that often addresses regulars by their name. Open since 1984, Carcassonne is one of the most iconic pastelarias in Alvalade.
📍Av. da Igreja 6C, 1700-230 Lisbon
No, there can never be too many pastelarias in a good Lisbon neighborhood! Even though this kind of Portuguese coffee and pastries establishments tends to be quite standard, even decor wise, when you get to know them they always end up shining through because of a given particularity. At Pastelaria Fermenta you can try Porto style croissants, which have nothing to do with flaky French croissants, and happen to be one of Portugal’s favorite types of sweet breads. Fermenta has a partnership with the iconic Padaria Ribeiro from Porto, to bring to Alvalade dense yet soft brioche style croissants.
📍Rua António Ferreira 5A, 1700-223 Lisbon
Gelados Itália Conchanata, as the official name of this ice-cream shop goes, is a seasonal business that inspires true devotion amongst Lisboetas. As they shut down every winter and re-open around February, when the happy days finally come around, you’ll see a crowd of eager customers queuing up for a scoop of nostalgia. Conchanata has been around since 1948, when father and son Quintílio e Alfo Tarlattini launched this family business that, until today, does everything artisanally but that is open to innovation with their newly added vegan and gluten free options. Changes aside, most folks still come to Conchanata for a classic banana split or a couple of scoops of their choice with Conchanata’s legendary homemade strawberry sauce.
📍Av. da Igreja 28A, 1700-237 Lisbon
Manteigaria is, quite possibly, the biggest competitor of Antiga Confeitaria de Belém, were allegedly the first recipe for pastéis de nata was developed. As true Lisbon locals we believe that there’s room for lots and lots of pastel de nata specialized bakeries, because this is the type of sweet many of us eat several times a week, and competition keeps things healthy! Manteigaria has several stores in Porto and Lisbon, including the one in the neighborhood of Alvalade. From 8AM to 8PM, Manteigaria Alvalade is the place to go for a warm Portuguese custard tart… or two!
📍Av. Rio de Janeiro, Nº 44 B, C, D, 1700-337 Lisbon
Best food businesses in Alvalade
Mercado de Alvalade Norte
As Lisbon’s weekly farmer’s markets grow in popularity, municipal fresh food markets are no longer a given in many parts of Lisbon. But Mercado de Alvalade Norte is still very much alive and well, and it’s known as a place for locals to go shopping, but also for professional chefs that have established a good relation over the years with the vendors, particularly those in the fresh fish business. Besides seafood there’s also beautiful produce and specialized stalls that sell baked goods, butchered meats and charcuterie, as well as other household items rather than food. If you’d like to eat at the market itself, check out Restaurante do Mercado de Alvalade.
📍Av. Rio de Janeiro, 1700-330 Lisbon
Fruit shops aren’t likely to become popular, like trendy cafés or new restaurants do. But Frutalmeidas is not a regular fruit vendor and besides shelves with colorful fresh fruit they also have a cafeteria where they serve simple meals, sandwiches, smoothies and the special treats that make many Lisboetas, not only from Alvalade, travel to Frutalmeidas for. Even though their core business is indeed fruit selling, they have become very well-known amongst food lovers in Lisbon because of two things which aren’t exactly fruit: pastel de massa tenra, a fried turnover stuffed with creamy minced meat, somehow similar to an empanada, and their strawberry and cream cake. If you are celebrating your birthday in Lisbon and somebody brings you a creamy cake from Frutalmeidas, it would be fair to assume they love you!
📍Av. de Roma 45, 1700-342 Lisbon
Charcutaria Riviera is the kind of business that evokes a time gone by in Lisbon, when before big supermarket chains, most people would head to neighborhood specialty stores for their grocery needs. This is a grocery store where you can find a little of everything, from bulk products to classic candies, but as the name clearly points out, their speciality is charcuterie. So if you’d like to buy some excellent Portuguese regional cheese or cured meats from different parts of Portugal to make a beautiful platter, Charcutaria Riviera in Alvalade has got the goods for you!
📍Av. da Igreja 23, 1700-231 Lisbon
Coffee. Tea. Flours. This is what A Mariazinha advertises in its vintage looking name board by the storefront. Mother and son, Teresa and Paulo, have been working here for over 30 years, in a historical store that has been proudly providing the community of Alvalade with their own blends of coffee roasted in house, which make A Mariazinha’s space smell in a very particular way. Besides coffee, this is a charming store where you can also purchase bulk items like speciality teas, flour, dried fruits and candy.
📍Av. Rio de Janeiro 25 B, 1700-331 Lisbon
Dois Dedos de Conserva
If when you travel somewhere new you look for edible souvenirs just like we do, visit Dois Dedos de Conserva to browse their range of Portuguese gourmet products from all over the country. Dois Dedos de Conserva carries tinned seafood, charcuterie, sweets and a small but good selection of wines. Looking for something truly unique? Ask for the moscatel caviar, deer cured meat or Portuguese olive oil with truffle.
📍Rua Acácio de Paiva 6, 1700-005 Lisbon
Headquartered in Alcântara, Gleba was at the forefront of Lisbon’s artisanal bread revolution. Ever since they opened their initial milling and bakery store in the neighborhood by the riverside, Gleba’s little empire has been growing as much as the new-found appreciation for bread made like the good old days, in this case using nothing but Portuguese cereals. As the neighborhood of Alvalade houses a demanding community for good quality products and tends to have the purchasing power for them, Gleba eventually opened its doors in Acácio de Paiva, a well-known commercial street, where you can find the usual range of Gleba breads, which include wheat, rye, corn, spelt and flour blends, as well as two daily specials.
📍Rua Acácio de Paiva 3, 1700-003 Lisbon
ArtesanaLis Bottle Shop
ArtenasaLis is part beer store, part bar, and its overall the best address for artisanal beer lovers in Alvalade. Their catalog of craft beers covers more than one hundred brands from Portugal and abroad by the bottle, plus two draft specials that keep rotating weekly. This is a great place to explore Lisbon’s craft beer scene, but don’t stop within our country’s borders, and let your taste buds travel around the world while refreshing yourself.
📍Rua Acácio de Paiva, 9 A Alvalade, 1700-005 Lisboa
This bulk organic shop is Portugal’s first zero waste store, with another address in the neighborhood of Campo de Ourique. You can find a little bit of everything in this plastic-free establishment, which was founded back in 2015 by a team coming from the Minho and Azores regions of Portugal, famed for their lush green landscapes that the owners dream of preserving for generations to come. Fill your paper bags or reusable containers with grains, legumes, flours or pasta, or get ready to eat foods such as biscuits, chocolates and candies. Maria Granel are pioneers in sustainability while keeping the bar for the quality of their products very high.
📍Rua José Duro 22 C, 1700-261 Lisbon
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