Parque das Nações travel guide for food lovers
If old world charm and classical buildings come to your mind when you think about Lisbon, it is because you haven’t been to Parque das Nações yet. To the east of the city, this is one of the most contemporary parts of the Portuguese capital, with striking architecture and a lovely waterfront promenade.
This part of town was initially developed to host the Expo 98 World Fair, which brought together exhibits from over 130 countries following the theme “The Oceans: A Heritage for the Future”. It was only after the international event ended that this part of Lisbon was named Parque das Nações and was revamped to become a mix of residential and commercial areas.
Nowadays, some of Lisbon’s residents call Parque das Nações home, and many others visit to take advantage of the small parks with serene river views, to go shopping at Vasco da Gama Shopping Centre (Av. Dom João II 40), to attend concerts in big venues such as Altice Arena formerly built for the World Fair, or to travel onwards to other parts of the country from the cutting edge Oriente Station, which was developed by acclaimed Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava.
This is also where Lisbon’s Oceanarium (Esplanada Dom Carlos I s/nº) is located, serving as a perfect “excuse” for some international travelers to end up visiting the area. But, broadly speaking, Parque das Nações is widely overlooked by those on a mission to explore Lisbon and Portuguese culture. This is a shame as, acting as a contrast with more ancient parts of town such as Alfama, Mouraria or Baixa, Parque das Nações does offer an insight into what Lisbon also represents to Portuguese people today.
For a neighborhood called “park of nations” it’s rather fitting that Parque das Nações’ gastronomic offerings are remarkably international. Here you’ll find some of the best (high-end) Chinese food in Lisbon, fabulous Italian restaurants, Latin American steak houses, African-focused eateries and even a Mediterranean Michelin starred kitchen. But, for the sake of our food focused explorations here today, we will be highlighting some of the greatest restaurants to try authentic Portuguese food in Lisbon’s Oriente area:
Best restaurants for Portuguese food in Parque das Nações
Starting off this list in Portuguese style, we’re highlighting D’Bacalhau, a restaurant that, as its name clearly implies, focuses on salted cod, one of Portugal’s favorite ingredients. At D’Bacalhau you can try many of the classic ways of cooking cod, from starters such as pataniscas de bacalhau (fried flat cod cakes), to cod soup, and onwards to typical Lisbon recipes like bacalhau à Brás (scrambled cod with eggs and potatoes – see our recipe for it here). One of the most interesting things about this restaurant is that, besides ordering a portion of a given dish, you could also order a tasting platter which brings together four of Portugal’s most iconic salted cod recipes. This presents a lovely opportunity to sample your way across some of our country’s most celebrated dishes.
📍Zona Ribeirinha Norte, Rua Pimenta 45, 1900-254 Lisbon
Not everything that comes out of the ocean is cod, and you can expand your perception of how the Portuguese cook and eat fish and all sorts of seafood at Senhor Peixe. The original Senhor Peixe restaurant still exists in Setúbal, a city on the south bank of the Tagus river very popular for being a fishermen town and as a destination for Great Lisbon fish lovers to go enjoy the freshest seafood meals. Senhor Peixe opened its Parque das Nações location in more recent years and it is, according to us and many other connoisseurs, one of the best seafood restaurants in Lisbon. See what’s on display on the day you visit and, no matter what you choose, you can be rest assured that this is as fresh as it gets around here!
📍 Zona Ribeirinha Norte, Rua Pimenta 35, 1990-254 Lisbon
Portugal loves spit-roasted suckling pig. So much so that, the one traditionally prepared in the area of Bairrada, known in Portuguese as leitão da Bairrada, has been voted as one of Portugal’s Seven Gastronomic Wonders. It’s common for people from several parts of the country to go on pilgrimage to the area of Bairrada, for the sake of enjoying this BBQ dish. But, here in Lisbon, and more specifically in Parque das Nações, you can enjoy stellar suckling pig at Bota Feijão. Expect a no-frills atmosphere but honest food. The suckling pig at Bota Feijão is roasted in a wood oven, presenting juicy meat but a crispy skin that cracks as you take a bite. It is served with mildly spicy sauce and chips, Bairrada style. Seriously good, and incredible value for money! In other words, this is the best leitão you will find in the Greater Lisbon area.
📍Rua Conselheiro Lopo Vaz N5, 1800-142 Lisbon
When you hear about Cervejaria Ramiro (Av. Alm. Reis 1 H), a popular seafood restaurant in downtown Lisbon, which came even more into the limelight after chef Anthony Bourdain visited during the shoot of the travel and food TV show No Reservations, you may think this is the one and only place for amazing seafood in Lisbon. Indeed Ramiro is glorious, but like we keep saying, there are tons of great options for a sea meal in and around Lisbon. When in Parque das Nações, Marisqueira Lusa is indeed a noteworthy option. If you can afford it, order a mariscada, that is an assorted platter with a little bit of everything – there’s no better introduction to the way Portuguese people like to feast on seafood.
📍Rua do Bojador 47, 1990-254 Lisbon
MAR – Mariscaria Peixaria
Lisbon’s seafood houses tend to be rather traditional and even standardized establishments. So restaurants like MAR, a more contemporary eatery focusing on fresh fish and all sorts of ocean creatures, do come across as a breath of fresh air. Like it happens in many other seafood restaurants though, MAR does have a big display of the fresh catch of the day atop slivers of ice, as well as aquariums with the living crustaceans which will end up on your plate. Expect all the standard seafood options common across Portugal, from steamed goose barnacles, to clams with olive oil and garlic, or larger creatures only those with a more padded wallet will be able to afford. But also comforting dishes such as cod fritters, fish filets, tuna steak sandwiches and festive cataplanas.
📍Rua Ilha dos Amores 62 E, 1990-371 Lisbon
To distinguish itself from the plethora of Lisbon based fish restaurants, Nova Peixaria doesn’t want to be called a restaurant but rather “a fish bar”. The brand has stalls at some of the city’s shopping mall food courts. But it’s here in Parque das Nações where they have their main location. They serve meals like in many other Portuguese fish restaurants, consisting of grilled catch of the day with staple sides of steamed veggies and potatoes. But also more contemporary fish centered options, such as burgers, fish sandwiches and salads. If you’re visiting with someone who isn’t particularly into fish, they also serve a mighty fine prego, a typical Portuguese steak sandwich which is often on the menu of local seafood restaurants.
📍Alameda dos Oceanos 21101D, 1990-143 Lisbon
A Leitaria Gourmet
Don’t let the name of this “gourmet dairy house” mislead you, as their speciality is regional food from the Alentejo. Grandma Loren is A Leitaria Gourmet’s chef and crafts beautiful home style Alentejano dishes such as paprika infused pork with clams, octopus rice malandrinho, braised meat with migas, and more. The menu is fairly simple but the nostalgic taste of home food does the wonders of clients who seek familiar flavors that nourish the belly and the soul.
📍Alameda dos Oceanos 3A, 1990-211 Lisbon
Just like A Leitaria Gourmet above, D’Avis also specializes in Alentejo food. There’s always room for one more Alentejano restaurant in Lisbon, as this is one of Portugal’s most sought after regional cuisines. Besides serving daily specials and straightforward grills, D’Avis also prepares very traditional recipes such as sopa de cação (dogfish soup with pennyroyal), ensopado de borrego (sheep stew served atop slices of rustic Alentejano bread) and açorda de bacalhau à Alentejana (garlic and cilantro stock with salted cod). It’s just like traveling to the heart of the Alentejo with your taste buds, without having to leave Parque das Nações.
📍Av. Dom João II 46 E, 1990-083 Lisbon
Restaurant during the day and bar at night, Cartel 36 is so artistic that, more than food, it serves an experience. The name of this establishment is justified right at the beginning of your meal, when they present you with a black slate with powdery white lines. Easy… we’re talking about powdered olive oil, which comes with the bread basket and olives meant to keep you entertained as you wait for your main meal. Cartel 36’s menu isn’t 100% Portuguese. It features Uruguayan and Australian meats, as well as noodles. But it also includes very local ingredients such a Iberian black pork, tuna steaks, salted cod and vegetarian dishes like grilled mushrooms with Azorean cheese. Good food and such fun vibes.
📍Rua Sinais de Fogo 12C, 1990-197 Lisbon
Cantinho do Avillez
José Avillez is one of Portugal’s most celebrated chefs, often called “the father of contemporary Portuguese gastronomy”. Amongst his little empire of restaurants, chef and restaurateur Avillez has the double Michelin starred Belcanto (Rua Serpa Pinto 10A), but also more down-to-earth options such as Bairro do Avillez (Rua Nova da Trindade 18) and Cantinho do Avillez. Cantinho do Avillez has several locations in Lisbon and Porto, and it serves “the best of Portuguese cuisine with influence from the chef’s travels”. This means very Portuguese things such as pastéis de bacalhau (cod fritters) with loose tomato rice, or a bitoque steak; but also sautéed vegetables with chickpeas and green curry, or Thai chicken with rice. From Monday to Friday you can also take advantage of their lunch menu, which for a very inviting price includes appetizers, a main dish, a drink and a coffee or cup of tea to end your meal.
📍Rua do Bojador 55, 1990-048 Lisbon
Myriad Hotel by Sana houses Michelin-starred Fifty Seconds, Lisbon’s address by Basque chef Martin Berasategui. The reason why we’re mentioning this fine-dining restaurant here even though it doesn’t exclusively focus on Portuguese food, is because its menu’s focal point is Mediterranean cuisine, thus including some of Portugal’s essence. This translates into appealing dishes such as red mullet with crispy scales, pearl barley with saffron and lemon; prawn from the Algarve and red mullet sauce; or charcoal grilled ox filet, potato and pancetta terrine, bone marrow jus with bread croutons. You could order a la carte but, let’s face it, the Fifty Seconds experience is really enhanced when you opt for the tasting menu and let yourself go.
📍Rua Cais das Naus Lote 2.21.01, 1990-173 Lisbon
The best cafés and bakeries in Parque das Nações
The Millstone Sourdough
There’s no doubt that Portugal’s artisanal bread scene is living an incredibly healthy moment. Amongst some of the greatest bakeries in Lisbon we find The Millstone Sourdough, in Parque das Nações. David Jesus was José Avillez’s sous chef at Michelin-starred Belcanto which, during the pandemic, had to temporarily close its doors. Together with his partner Sandra Freitas, who’s also a chef, they started baking bread at home. This is how The Millstone Sourdough was born! For a year and a half they worked from home producing bread for home delivery, and after their following kept on growing, they officially opened their bakery in Lisbon’s most modern neighborhood. Besides all sorts of sourdough loaves, they also sell scones, cinnamon rolls, biscotti, babkas and, the much more Portuguese chorizo breads.
📍Via do Oriente 5.02 03A, 1990-514 Lisbon
Choupana has three locations across Lisbon, including the one in Parque das Nações. Choupana Caffé opened its doors about a decade ago in the busy area of Saldanha, where it soon became well known because of its croissants with various decadent fillings, including home-made ice-cream. Choupana Caffé is a great spot for a quick breakfast or a leisurely brunch, for an indulgent afternoon break, or for a quick cup of coffee while you wait for your bus or train at Estação do Oriente. Choupana’s vibe is contemporary and dynamic, only offering self-service, but with irresistible products that will make those with a sweet tooth very, very happy.
📍Avenida Dom João II, 1990-083 Lisbon
Jeronymo is a Portuguese coffee shop chain with around 20 locations in and around Lisbon. It could somehow be compared to American Starbucks or Canadian Tim Hortons. This is the type of establishment that a younger crowd usually prefers. In Portugal, folks tend to drink espresso coffee and it’s usually a quick affair before work or in between errands. At Jeronymo, you’ll find clients who’d rather spend more time sipping their milky coffees, who are keen on trying different beverages such as a golden cappuccino or a ginger coffee, hanging out with friends, or even studying. Besides hot drinks, Jeronymo also serves light meals like bowls, grilled sandwiches, salads, burgers and a decent variety of sweet treats, including cakes and ice-cream.
📍Avenida Dom João II Estação do Oriente Loja G212, 1900-233 Lisbon
Coolest places for a drink in Parque das Nações
Sky Bar Oriente
Breathtaking panoramic views and a sophisticated atmosphere, make Sky Bar Oriente a must go-to bar for those seeking to enjoy an end of the day cocktail immersed in a fancy vibe. Considering that besides the usual range of drinks they serve sushi and other internationally inspired bites, there’s nothing specifically Portuguese about Sky Bar. But we’re still highlighting it here as this is indeed a spectacular location from which to unwind, enjoy the view of the Tagus River, and marvel at the 14KM of length of the Vasco da Gama bridge, which connects the outskirts of Parque das Nações to the south bank of the river.
📍Av. Dom João II 27, 1990-083 Lisbon
If you fancy a drink with live music, head to Bliss Bar in Parque das Nações. Right in front of the Marina, this venue provides what Parque das Nações has become known for: ample and serene views of the river. Bliss Bar serves beer, wine and cocktails, but also fresh juices, smoothies and even frozen fruit slushies for those who’d rather drink something non-alcoholic. When it comes to food, they prepare some grilled sandwiches, a staple of Portuguese bars and cafés, known locally as tostas.
📍Edificio Nau Marina, 1990-193 Lisbon
Já Te Disse
This is the most Portuguese of all three bars we’re recommending for you here. Why? Because, when the warm season rolls around, at Já Te Disse you can order a drink just like anywhere else, but you can also munch on caracóis, that is, a typical snack of braised snails. This bar has an outdoor terrace and a very typical Portuguese neighborhood vibe. This is the kind of joint where you come to at the end of a day to chill with your friends with a cold beer in hand, but also to catch the latest football match on TV.
📍Passeio da Nau Catrineta, 1990-193 Lisbon
We hope to have inspired you to include Parque das Nações on your Lisbon itinerary. We’ll be waiting to welcome you downtown for one of our food and cultural walks. But, you can be rest assured that, no matter where we end up taking you, we’ll provide you with many more tips and recommendations so that you can enjoy great food and drinks during the rest of your stay in Portugal. Feel free to reach out to us on Instagram and ask us anything that is crossing your mind about our country – Please, tag us: @tasteoflisboa #tasteoflisboa
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:
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