Benfica travel guide for food lovers
Even though Benfica is a well-known Lisbon neighborhood for us natives of the city, it is often overlooked by international visitors. Furthermore, if you were to research anything about Benfica online, chances are you’ll come across results related with the popular football club by the same name, rather than the part of town itself.
While Benfica and São Domingos de Benfica are, administratively speaking, two different circumscriptions, in terms of vibe and street life they have very much in common. This is not surprising as until 1959 both areas were considered to be within the same neighborhood. Political changes aside, there’s no denying that Benfica retains Lisbon’s old charm, combining high rises for residential purposes with a lot of local one-off specialized shops.
It may not exactly be a central locality, but reaching Benfica from downtown Lisbon is very easy and it won’t take long, hopping on the blue metro line which connects Baixa-Chiado to this part of town in about fifteen minutes. To arrive in Benfica, get out at the station of Colégio Militar/Luz, which also happens to be the correct stop if you’re planning to catch a football game at Benfica’s Luz stadium.
Take an afternoon to get out of Lisbon’s city center, travel to Benfica and feel the authentic vibes of the city, exploring some of these recommended food establishments:
Best restaurants for Portuguese food in Benfica
Cervejaria Boa Esperança
Petiscos, that is small portions of Portuguese dishes, along the lines of Spanish tapas, is one of our favorite ways to eat out, especially as a group when you can order many different things to share. Boa Esperança is a beer and petiscos house in Benfica where you can have a great time savoring typical appetizers, particularly seafood based ones like octopus salad, garlic prawns, steamed whelks, gooseneck barnacles and other creatures. In order to make the most of the experience, you may want to familiarize yourself with the top seafood to eat in Portugal!
📍Av. Gomes Pereira 3, 1500-328 Lisbon
Solar dos Leitões
This restaurant may not be located in an obvious street. You will probably not casually stumble upon it, but visiting it may be well worth it if you’re looking to taste very good fresh fish cooked over charcoal. Despite its name, referring to spit-roasted suckling pig, in Portuguese leitão, Solar dos Leitões specializes in other dishes rather than this pork delight. Charcoal grilled fish is what most regulars keep coming back to this restaurant for.
📍Tv. Marques Lésbio 20, 1500-444 Lisbon
When you come to Edmundo for a meal you’ll be able to enjoy fresh fish and seafood prepared in the classic Portuguese ways, but also immerse yourself in a very local ambiance. Apart from the a la carte menu, their list of recommended specials changes every day, offering you the chance of tasting a good variety of traditional Portuguese dishes.
📍Av. Gomes Pereira 1, 1500-610 Lisbon
Brasa das Gravatas
Brasa das Gravatas is the sister restaurant of Adega das Gravatas, one of the most typical restaurants in the nearby neighborhood of Carnide. Here in Benfica Brasa das Gravatas makes customers happy with the same quality and service. Their specialties include grilled fish and beef, but also comfort dishes like açorda with prawns, polvo à Lagareiro, and several traditional salted cod dishes.
📍Rua dos Arneiros 70A, 1500-066 Lisbon
This typical Portuguese tasca in Benfica is the place to come to enjoy down-to-earth food surrounded by Benfica football club memorabilia. One of their most well-liked dishes is the serving of ribs, in Portuguese entrecosto, but the daily menu keeps changing to feature lots of Portuguese quintessential recipes such as cod fritters, oven-roasted meats, salted cod and so much more.
📍Largo Gen. Sousa Brandão 2, 1500-288 Lisbon
Craving fresh seafood when in Benfica? Edmundo above is a fine place to go to for a sea inspired meal, and so is the lesser known O Hoquista. Pleasant particularly during the warmer months, when you can take advantage of their outdoor seating, O Hoquista serves incredible summery dishes such as charcoal grilled sardines, as well as steamed seafood like crabs. For an afternoon snack, ordering a beer and a serving of braised snails as a petisco is also an option!
📍Estr. de Benfica 405B, 1500-077 Lisbon
Churrasqueira do Mercado de Benfica
As we explained when we wrote about the best places for peri-peri chicken in Lisbon, a typical Lisbon neighborhood wouldn’t be considered so if it didn’t have at least one good grill restaurant. For Benfica, Churrasqueira do Mercado de Benfica is it! Located as a part of the local municipal market, this grill house is perfect for a comforting lunch after shopping around for groceries.
📍Rua João Frederico Ludovice 15, 1500-356 Lisbon
Casa dos Frangos de Benfica
This is where you come for BBQ meats and rounds of beer, but also to catch up with friends and neighbors, often while catching the latest football match on TV. Casa dos Frangos de Benfica serves ace peri-peri chicken and other grills, but also a good range of petiscos. No frills atmosphere, yet with lots of character, and excellent down-to-earth food make Casa dos Frangos de Benfica a must stop in the neighborhood.
📍Rua Cláudio Nunes 1A, 1500-174 Lisbon
A Grelha de Benfica
There’s something about Benfica’s barbeque restaurants, the local churrasqueiras, which make it a point to include “from Benfica” as part of their official business name. A Grelha de Benfica, “Benfica’s grill”, sells itself as the place to go for all things grilled in the neighborhood. This family run restaurant serves excellent BBQ, but also other Portuguese comfort classics like rice dishes, stews and more. A certain choice for a good typical Portuguese meal in a cozy neighborhood atmosphere, with lovely home-made desserts as a bonus!
📍Calçada do Tojal 19, 1500-267 Lisbon
If you’d like to enjoy a vegetarian meal in Benfica, visit Folha Verde for an affordable option that hits the spot. They specialize in vegetarian, vegan and healthy food, but the essence is pretty Portuguese. Besides the usual Portuguese vegetable soups, you can also expect veganized versions of typical dishes such as pataniscas (usually prepared with salted cod but here cooked with tofu), plant-based feijoada, oven-roasted seitan with turnip greens, and so much more.
📍Rua Emília das Neves 21B, 1500-851 Lisbon
Best Portuguese pastry shops and bakeries in Benfica
Choosing the word legendary to describe Califa may sound like an exaggeration, but the truth is that this establishment is more than a café, more than a restaurant and more than a pastry shop. Califa has been a part of Benfica’s history for over fifty years. Not only the Arabic inspired decor is absolutely unique for what is essentially a traditional Portuguese pastelaria, heading to Califa for a coffee or a bite is for many of Benfica’s locals almost an extension of their own living room. Familiar faces, smiles, meeting neighbors and enjoying delicious cakes and meals are what Califa is there for.
📍Estr. de Benfica 463, 1500-081 Lisbon
Pastelaria Fim de Século
This pastry shop is an iconic Benfica establishment, where many locals head to for a quick coffee before work during weekdays and where you’ll easily come across families leisurely enjoying breakfast on a Saturday or Sunday morning. Even though they have a very good range of typical Portuguese pastries and cakes, their pastel de nata stands out so much that back in 2016 they won the award for Best Pastel de Nata in Lisbon, a contest which takes place every year. This café’s popularity translates into a second shop in Estrada de Benfica, which goes by the name Fim de Século II.
📍Fim de Século: Rua João Frederico Ludovice 28, 1500-205 Lisbon
📍Fim de Século II: Estr. de Benfica 550, 1500-087 Lisbon
Evian is known for their jesuíta, a triangular pastry that seems to be more widespread around Porto than in Lisbon. To enjoy a fine jesuíta in Lisbon, come to Evian, and relish with an absolutely flaky and delicate pastry, stuffed with egg jam and covered with sweet and crunchy almonds. Of course their range of cakes includes more variety, focusing on what’s traditional and commonplace in Portuguese pastelarias, inclusive of savory options too.
📍Av. do Uruguai 33, 1500-611 Lisbon
O Pastelinho de Benfica
Some of Benfica’s residents, specially the old time ones who might have actually been born here, will often swear that the Portuguese custard tarts made at O Pastelinho de Benfica are actually better than the original ones in Belém. Of course this can be contended, but you’ll only have a proper chance at this argument if you come here to try their pastel de nata and then know as a matter of fact what you’re talking about!
📍Estr. de Benfica 393, 1500-327 Lisbon
Now that you know where to get exceptional pastéis de nata and jesuítas in Benfica, it’s time to focus on pastéis de feijão, that is, sweet bean tarts. This family run pastry shop serves legendary tarts with a sugary almond and bean paste, which pair beautifully with an espresso for a mid morning pick me up or even as a sweet ending after the quick practical meals they also serve at Nilo. Proving once again how well established some of Benfica’s businesses are, Pastelaria Nilo has been open since 1962!
📍Estr. de Benfica 715, 1500-088 Lisbon
Massa Mãe – Pão Artesanal
In Massa Mãe team’s own words, they believe in “genuine, healthy and sustainable bread”. This artisanal bakery’s name translates from Portuguese a “sourdough starter” referring to their preferred method of fermentation, which takes time but yields a more flavorful and nutritious bread as compared to most commercial breads such as most of those found in the regular supermarket. We’re big lovers of the artisanal and slowly fermented breads of Lisbon and thus happy that Massa Mãe – Pão Artesanal fills the market gap in Benfica.
📍Rua Conde Almoster 92A, 1500-197 Lisbon
Shopping in Benfica: speciality food and wine shops
For many Lisboans, shopping in Benfica is synonymous with heading to Colombo Shopping Centre. This mall was Europe’s largest shopping center when it opened in the late 90s. Today, it still brings under one roof the obvious choices of international chains, as well as a few Portuguese stores. But to shop around in Benfica with a more local character, we would definitely recommend heading to commercial areas such as those in and around Estrada de Benfica.
Mercado de Benfica
The most traditional of Lisbon’s neighborhoods have their own municipal market, and Benfica is no exception. Mercado de Benfica brings together several vendors of fresh produce, fish, meats, baked goods, and other food and household items. Even if you don’t have a place to cook your own meals while in Lisbon, a visit to this market is worth it to see the hustle and bustle of the early morning hours and to feel the pulse of Benfica, as local as it gets.
📍Rua João Frederico Ludovice 354, 1500-354 Lisbon
Casa da Selva
This specialty coffee shop opened back in 1967 and, if it still survives, it must be for a reason. Those looking to purchase high quality coffee, tea, biscuits and chocolates with attentive personalized service, won’t be disappointed at Casa da Selva. Even if as a tourist passing by you don’t care to buy coffee or tea to brew at home, here you can find artisanal cookies and confections from all around Portugal, which will make for a unique travel snack!
📍Estr. de Benfica 373, A, 1500-076 Lisbon
Casa de Cafés Solposto
This gourmet coffee and tea store is protected under the municipal program of Lojas Com História, which brings together historic businesses which have for decades contributed to Lisbon’s narrative as a city. Casa de Cafés Solposto opened back in 1949 and has been serving its neighborhood customers with single origin coffees, teas, dried fruits and nuts, cookies and some alcoholic beverages ever since. A great place to buy in bulk avoiding plastic packaging.
📍Estrada de Benfica 661 C, 1500-087 Lisbon
They don’t make grocery stores like they used to. Or do they? Even though this store opened in recent years, the mood at Aloendro is just like back in the good old days. Not only do you get to shop from a pull of carefully curated local products, you do so surrounded by personable service and sincere familiar smiles. Aloendro was opened by couple Xavi and Mariana who make it a point to get to know from up close the regional producers of everything they sell, and thus can guarantee not only that everything is fairly unique as compared to what you’d find at a regular supermarket and, certainly, that it is of the uttermost quality.
📍Rua Gen. José Celestino da Silva 4A, 1500-309 Lisbon
Alentejano do Bairro
This is another specialized grocery store in Benfica, this time focusing on products coming from the Alentejo region. The space was formerly known as Alentejanices, also focusing on Alentejo products, and is now under new management and a different name. Either way, this is where you come to shop for Alentejo delicacies in Benfica, including things such as cheeses, charcuterie, wines and, very importantly, freshly baked goods such as regional Alentejano bread and their incredible chicken pies.
📍Estrada de Benfica, 522B 1500-105 Lisbon
Where to grab a drink in Benfica
There are more places in Benfica to go to for an end of the day drink than exactly for a night cap. To chill with a beer in hand after work, Quiosque Caricato is one of the central options, where not only you can grab a drink but also a light bite, choosing from their range of grilled sandwiches or salads. To make things livelier, Quiosque Caricato often has live DJ sets which can be enjoyed as you taste one of their signature cocktails.
📍Rua Paulo Renato, 1500-498 Lisbon
A Casinha da Ginja
It’s been well established around Lisbon that any time of the day can be a good moment to sip a ginjinha, that is, our traditional sour cherry liqueur. In Benfica this can be done at A Casinha da Ginja, which is an actual brand of liqueur and also a small establishment in Benfica. Apart from the drink they sell sweets and confections, like ovos moles from Aveiro, but also their own creation, flautas de Benfica, a crunchy pastry which they have developed as a tribute to the neighborhood.
📍Av. Grão Vasco, 1500-336 Lisboa
The Room Bar
Fancy a little dancing while in the area? Benfica isn’t exactly known for its nightlife, but at The Room Bar you can indeed party the night away with music (check their schedule of DJs on the Instagram link below), drinks and shisha. Of course you can have all the usual and international range of drinks one would normally find at a club, but considering you’re traveling in Portugal you may want to consider something with more local character like a sangria with either white or red wine.
📍Rua Dr. João de Barros 9A, 1500-230 Lisbon
When you travel to Portugal, not only do we hope you get to make it outside of our capital city, just like we hope you also get to explore less obvious parts of Lisbon. Broaden your horizons, enjoy great local food and have a genuine Portuguese experience. For further tips, feel free to reach out to us via Instagram: @tasteoflisboa #tasteoflisboa
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