Best seafood restaurants in and around Lisbon
When Anthony Bourdain traveled to Lisbon back in 2012 to shoot No Reservations, one of the restaurants he visited was Cervejaria Ramiro. This seafood restaurant, affectionately referred to by locals simply as Ramiro, was very popular with Lisbon diners until this time but, after being featured on the much liked travel and food show, its fame became international. Nowadays, during high season, this is what the walkway by Ramiro looks like:
What could almost look like the entrance to a popular nightclub, is simply Lisbon’s most well-known seafood restaurant, inspiring several blog posts across the internet that debate “is the wait at Ramiro worth it?” or “is Ramiro worth the hype?” We could argue that, yes indeed, the wait at Ramiro is worthwhile. But, more than that, we’d say that the Lisbon seafood scene is on fire, way beyond the realms of this one restaurant.
The Portuguese are huge fish-eaters. There are almost one hundred different species of fish caught off our coast and, to that, we’d still have to add our beloved bacalhau, the cod which we import from northern Atlantic waters to salt cure here in Portugal.
When you buy fish at the market and, even more importantly when you order it off a Portuguese menu, you’ll easily notice the variety of prices that apply to the same species. Note that aquaculture fish is normally sold by the portion, with a fixed price, while the wild caught varieties are normally listed per kilo, and the price of a serving will end up depending on its final size. To order fresh fish by the kilo, you’re usually better off having someone to share it with. But, truth be told, that’d be the same for any meal, as food tends to taste best in great company. Grilled fish is an everyday food around Lisbon, and it’s particularly appreciated during the warmer months, when you can enjoy your meal outdoors (perhaps even by the beach), with a refreshing serving of wine such as vinho verde.
Of course we wished a wider variety of crustaceans and shells was also a day-to-day habit, but the pocket doesn’t always match the appetite. Still, we relish on seafood meals and platters whenever possible, particularly during special occasions and celebrations such as weddings.
When you go to eat out in Portugal, don’t expect local restaurants to prepare seafood dishes in a plethora of ways. Generally speaking, Portuguese cuisine believes in treating outstanding ingredients with simplicity, letting their flavor and texture shine for themselves. As such, fish is most commonly prepared grilled, while other seafood such as crustaceans are simply steamed, and heaps of garlic and olive oil are reserved for pan preparations of shellfish. More than cooking, canning is also seen as a way to develop new flavors and textures, very appreciated now-a-days particularly for its contribution to the mouth watering world of petiscos.
Hungry for the best fresh seafood in Lisbon? These are some of the restaurants we recommend visiting. Some of them specialize in charcoal grilled fish, peixe grelhado, while others, commonly known in Portuguese as marisqueiras or cervejarias, have a variety of seafood as their specialty:
A Marisqueira do Lis
At only 250 meters away from Ramiro, A Marisqueira do Lis is often seen as a great alternative to the insane queues at the popular seafood restaurant in Avenida Almirante Reis. But there’s really no need to compare, as A Marisqueira do Lis can stand on its own feet, having been building an impeccable reputation in the Lisbon seafood scene since 1973. If there’s one thing you should know when you go out to eat a seafood meal in Lisbon is that, after you enjoy a variety of crustaceans and shells, it’s customary to top it all up with a prego, that is, a Portuguese steak sandwich. The added meat and carbs will round things up making you feel even more satisfied. A Marisqueira do Lis is known to have one of the best pregos around, so make sure to do as the locals do!
📍Av. Alm. Reis 27B, 1150-019 Lisbon
Nune’s Real Marisqueira
Food explorations in the neighborhood of Belém shouldn’t be limited to trying out pastel de nata at the original birthplace. If you are in the area and in the mood for good fresh seafood, head to Nune’s Real Marisqueira where you can truly feel like a royal. Choose from the several crustaceans on display, or order shellfish by the kilo, always keeping in mind that these thrills from the sea tend to come at a price. Apart from top-notch seafood, Nune’s Real Marisqueira has rice dishes as one of the true highlights of their menu, setting this marisqueira apart from other seafood houses in Lisbon. So if something more comforting than steamed crustaceans or pan-fried shells is calling your name, don’t skip the exquisite saucy rices, such as arroz de lavagante, with lobster, or arroz de garoupa, with grouper.
📍R. Bartolomeu Dias 112, 1400-031 Lisbon
Restaurante do Mercado de Alvalade
If you crave fresh fish, there’s nothing like going straight to the source. No, we’re not suggesting you go fishing and, in this case, not even head to a fishing town. Instead, while in Lisbon’s city center, the best option would be to go to the market. Alvalade’s market is one of the few traditional markets that is still going strong around Lisbon, and this is mostly thanks to the reputation of its fish stands. At Restaurante do Mercado de Alvalade you can actually select the fish that looks best to you from the counters out in the market, and the restaurant will prepare it to your liking. If you’re used to eating fish filets and deboned meats, when you go out to eat fish in Portugal, one of the first skills you need to pick up is work around the fish bones. Most species of small to medium fish are served whole, that is, with skin, bones, head and eyes. At the market, you will get as close to your food as you can within a city context, and we have a feeling the end taste in your mouth won’t be anything short of delicious!
📍Mercado de Alvalade, Rua José Duro 26, 1700-331 Lisbon
Aqui Há Peixe
This contemporary seafood restaurant in Baixa-Chiado is owned by Chef Miguel Reino, who is also a boat captain who has explored the world quite extensively. Spending so much time at sea, Chef Reino usually gets up close with the products he features on his restaurant menu, and so he tends to treat them with the respect they deserve. At Aqui Há Peixe seafood is cooked in a typical Portuguese way, with some Brazilian influences too. This translates into the catch of the day grilled, but also roasted or fried. If you are on a budget, visit at around noon during the weekdays and take advantage of their lunch specials.
📍Rua da Trindade, 18 A, 1200-468 Lisbon
As the restaurant’s slogan claims, they are “Setúbal in Lisbon”. This means absolutely fresh fish cooked to perfection in ways that allow for the ingredients to speak for themselves. The catch of the day is grilled over charcoal, and the wider selection of seafood is either steamed or grilled. If you feel like a warm homely dish instead, ask for their caldeirada, a typical tomato based fisherman’s stew with several pieces of fish and potatoes, or their massada de cherne, a saucy pasta stew with Atlantic wreckfish. Whichever route you go, Senhor Peixe is a great option for fresh peixe while in the eastern Lisbon neighborhood of Parque das Nações.
📍Parque das Nações – Zona Ribeirinha Norte, Rua Pimenta 35, 1990-254 Lisbon
To enjoy the seafood delights of Marisqueira Azul, you don’t have to go further away from some of the most touristic areas of Lisbon. They have two locations: one inside the farmer’s market turned into gourmet food hall now known as Time Out Market, and the other one in Terreiro do Paço, no more no less than Lisbon’s main square. Expect the usual array of sea creatures found in most of Lisbon’s seafood restaurant, with particular highlight to percebes, the goose barnacles than come from Berlengas, a tiny archipelago off the coast of Peniche, fresh prawns from the Algarve and slipper lobsters from Cascais or the Azores.
📍Time out Market: Av. 24 de Julho 49, 1200-479 Lisbon
📍Praça do Comércio 70-71, 1100-148 Lisbon
Am I in the mood for seafood petiscos or a more consistent meal? Should I order prawns or clams? What if I can’t make up my mind and I’d really like to try a little bit of everything? No problem! Order Mariscada à Ribadouro, the assorted seafood platter that will have you feasting on five different varieties of your choice. Open for over 75 years in the very heart of Lisbon, in Avenida da Liberdade, Cervejaria Ribadouro is the kind of place where seafood dreams do come true! If you prefer to dine al fresco, they have a terrace by the walking area parallel to the avenue, where it’s more common to find cafes and bars, rather than full fledged restaurants. Outdoors the menu is more limited, but they serve up to 1.30AM!
📍Av. da Liberdade 155, 1250-144 Lisbon
Cervejaria O Palácio
By now there should be no doubt that Lisbon is a great seafood city. And this isn’t at all limited to fancy places or touristic areas. In the neighborhood of Alcântara you’ll find one of Lisbon’s seafood classics, O Palácio, where even before you walk in you are greeted by the creatures that swim by the window shops of this archetypal Portuguese cervejaria. At this point we should clarify that, even though cervejaria literally translates as beer house, here in Portugal this often stands for places specializing in seafood, which might have back in the day started serving some prawns to nibble with your ale, but that eventually matured into more complete seafood restaurants. O Palácio is famous for their weekday lunch specials, as well the freshest of seafood, including lesser known varieties such as periwinkles (burriés), spiny dye-murex (canilhas) or wedge clams (cadelinhas).
📍Rua Prior do Crato 142, 1350-263 Lisbon
O Mercado do Peixe
The neighborhood of Ajuda might not come to mind to most Lisboetas when they think about a fresh fish meal, but those who’ve dined at O Mercado do Peixe will tell you otherwise. When you enter this restaurant, with a counter teeming with different species of seafood, you’re almost made to feel like you are at a fresh market. According to local tradition, it’s important to get acquainted with your food, even before it gets cooked. If you’d like to try something other than charcoal grilled fish, ask for their signature dish of ovas grelhadas, which is a dish of fish roe, more commonly hake, also prepared on the grill.
📍Estr. Pedro Teixeira 181, 1400-047 Lisbon
Pinóquio has recently completed its 40th anniversary, solidifying its position as one of downtown Lisbon’s best seafood restaurants. Start with some oysters from Ria Formosa, in the Algarve. And follow up with iconic dishes such as their seafood curry, the feijoada de marisco, a beans and seafood stew, or the grilled grouper head. Besides a well stocked seafood menu, Pinóquio is also a good place for meat and they even have a small variety of vegetarian dishes, making it a great restaurant option if you’re dining out with a group of people with different food preferences.
📍Praça dos Restauradores 79 80, 1250-188 Lisbon
Toscana Casa de Pasto
The name might mislead you into thinking that this is an Italian restaurant but this casa de pasto, a Portuguese expression that refers to a simple restaurant serving humble traditional food, somehow akin to a tasca, is a haven for Portuguese style grilled fish. Yet another address in the neighborhood of Alcântara, known for its cervejarias and seafood restaurants. At Toscana there’s plenty to choose from depending on the catch of the day but also on the season, which of course matters when we’re talking about wildly caught fish. The waiters will be happy to explain the different varieties, stressing what’s wild and what’s farmed – you will easily see the differences on the prices, even before they land on your plate.
📍Rua do Sacramento a Alcântara 70-98, 1350-352 Lisbon
Monte Mar Lisboa
The original restaurant is by Guincho beach, near Cascais, but Monte Mar also has two outlets in Lisbon, one by the waterfront near Cais do Sodré’s station, and the other one inside the hip Time Out Market. So no need to travel far to taste some locally caught prawns, their saucy rice with cockles, or their hake filets fried to crispy perfection. Of course their kitchen’s range goes much further than this, including grills, assorted seafood platters, cold seafood salads and Portuguese quintessential recipes such as açorda de camarão.
📍Time Out Market: Av. 24 de Julho 49, 1200-479 Lisbon
📍Rua da Cintura do Porto de Lisboa Armazém 65, 1200-109 Lisbon
This unassuming, almost hidden restaurant at the docks of Alcântara is, hands-down, one of the best places for charcoal grilled fish in Lisbon. This is the kind of place you need to know about, as its nearly secret location won’t make it a place you’ll accidentally stumble upon. Note down the address, look it up on Google Maps, and head there to taste the simplicity of Portuguese cuisine. Último Porto’s job consists on elevating the freshest catch of the day with the kiss of the grill’s fire, served along with simple sides like potatoes and steamed vegetables generously drizzled with high quality Portuguese olive oil, always served in the super typical oval shaped stainless steel trays.
📍Rya Gen. Gomes Araújo 1, 1350-352 Lisbon
We couldn’t say we’d be fully exploring Lisbon’s seafood scene without a little side trip to the Portuguese Atlantic islands. The archipelago of the Azores is responsible for much of the tuna eating habits of the Portuguese, but their range of fish species doesn’t end up with the popular “chicken of the sea”. For an appetizer of what Azorean seafood is all about while in Lisbon, visit Espaço Açores and try delicacies such as grilled limpets, or grilled fishes such as great barracuda, blackbelly rosefish, Mediterranean parrotfish, Atlantic grouper or greater amberjack with a variety of zesty and mildly spicy sauces.
📍Largo da Boa-Hora à Ajuda 19, 1300-098 Lisbon
Ilha da Madeira
To eat fish like they usually do in the islands of Madeira while in the Lisbon neighborhood of Campo de Ourique, head to Ilha da Madeira. This restaurant specializes in fish dishes typically eaten in the island, such as tuna and black scabbard. Unlike most fish preparations in mainland Portugal, expect dishes with sauces such as sweet and sour passion fruit or molho vilão, a tangy chopped garlic, chili peppers and fresh herbs kind of salsa. Sweet potatoes and fried polenta are standard Madeira style side dishes for fish.
📍Rua Campo de Ourique 33, 1250-059 Lisbon
Last but not least, Ramiro deserves to be mentioned once again. Even though this restaurant is as famous as they come, the truth is that it is still top of its game and it didn’t let its popularity affect the freshness and quality of its seafood. Even the toasted bread soaked with heart-attack-inducing amounts of butter which Ramiro serves to soak up the juices of dishes such as amêijoas à Bulhao Pato or gambas à guilho is delicious! But let’s face it: this is the kind of restaurant you ought to visit on a day you feel like splurging. Only then you’ll be able to feast on scarlet shrimp with rock salt (expert tip: you must suck the juices out of the creatures’ heads), grilled tiger prawns and, who knows, some lobster. Note that, even though it’s often wrongly translated, lobster in Portuguese is not lagosta. Lagosta stands for rock lobster, while actual lobster, the one you’re most likely used to seeing, with easily recognizable claws or pincers, would be locally known as lavagante. If you truly want to go fancy at Ramiro, order lavagante.
📍Av. Alm. Reis 1 H, 1150-007 Lisbon
If you are open to doing what Lisbon residents often do, consider a quick trip to a nearby town to enjoy a fresh fish or seafood meal. Towns by the ocean, such as Almada, Cascais, Setúbal, Ericeira, or Peniche, often linked to fishing as a trade, are famed for their restaurants with the freshest catches of the day. Taking a day trip from Lisbon is always a beautiful idea for the sake of exploring a little beyond the capital and, why not, we can always use eating as an excuse!
These are the best restaurants for fresh fish and assorted seafood in towns near Lisbon:
O Farol de Cacilhas
When you visit Lisbon, we strongly suggest hopping on the ferry boat that connects Cais do Sodré to the south bank of the river, more specifically to the town of Cacilhas, in Almada. Some travelers do this, yet again inspired by Anthony Bourdain and, in more recent years, by Phil Rosenthal that showcased restaurant Ponto Final on his Netflix series Somebody Feed Phil. Right by the waterfront, Ponto Final is popular and the difficulty landing a reservation here is proof of that. We’d say go to O Farol instead, a more old school restaurant where you’ll be able to enjoy a proper seafood feast, and take a stroll by the water afterwards, allowing the marvelous views of Lisbon and the river aid with your digestion.
📍Largo Alfredo Dinis, 1, R. do Ginjal 5, 2800-252 Almada
Retiro do Pescador
This is an old school restaurant by the beach in Fonte da Telha. Here, instead of looking at a menu, you’re supposed to choose the catch of the day you’d like for them to grill while inspecting the fish the waiters will bring on a huge tray to your table. This is a great opportunity to get to know different species, learn how to identify them and, of course, taste them too!
📍Fonte da Telha Beach: Avenida do 1º de Maio, 242, Costa da Caparica, 2825-486 Almada
Mar do Inferno
Go to Cascais to see “hell’s mouth”, a chasm by the cliffs (in)famous for the rough waves that clash against the rocks, and go satiate your hunger at Mar do Inferno where they serve some of the creatures that previously inhabited around those same rocks.
📍Avenida Rei Humberto II de Itália Boca do Inferno, 2750-800 Cascais
Eduardo das Conquilhas
Eduardo tends to get packed as the seafood here is of incredible quality and the prices are friendlier than in downtown Lisbon. As the name implies, Eduardo’s specialities are conquilhas, that is, cockles you can eat with Bulhão Pato sauce, to open up your appetite for a more complete mariscada right after.
📍Rua Cap. Leitão 118, 2775-275 Parede
Azenhas do Mar
If you’re the kind of person whose taste buds get enhanced by a scenic view, Azenhas do Mar is where you should head to for a stunning seafood meal. Situated by a dramatic cliff in the coast of Colares, Azenhas do Mar’s menu matches the impressive views.
📍Azenhas do Mar, Colares, 2705-104 Sintra
Lobo do Mar
A solid bet on the fresh fish restaurant scene in Sesimbra, a fishing town where competition is fierce to say the least. They purchase all fish directly from the local fishermen, guaranteeing uttermost freshness.
📍Av. dos Náufragos, 2970-152 Sesimbra
Comporta was referred to by Condé Nast Traveller as “Portugal’s best secret beach spot”. There are several bars and restaurants by the beach, but for a down-to-earth culinary experience we recommend heading to Dona Bia, in the town of Comporta which gives its name to the nearby beach area. Cooking at Dona Bia is Alentejo inspired, typical and straightforward, and we mean this as the most heartfelt compliment.
📍Estr. Nacional 261, 7580-681 Comporta
Because it wouldn’t be fair to only recommend more elevated restaurants with prices to match, we’re proud to introduce Casa Morena, a small restaurant in the fishing neighborhood of Troino, in Setúbal. They’re only open for lunch and focus on fresh fish from the local Sado river, such as mullet and annular sea bream. Talk about experiencing something truly local!
📍Praça Machado dos Santos 18, 2900-178 Setúbal
Marisqueira Mar à Vista
If there are two things that there is no shortage of in the western coastal town of Ericeira are gorgeous views towards the ocean and incredible seafood restaurants. So here you can ally both pleasures and gorge on mariscadas while the background perfectly matches the mood. This town has several magnificent seafood restaurants, from humble tascas to fancier establishments, and Marisqueira Mar à Vista is one of the most iconic amongst them.
📍Rua de Santo António 16, 2655-360 Ericeira
Tasca do Joel
Joel opened back in 1982 as a humble shop that would provide bread and wine to the local fishermen who’d use the business’ oven to bake their own catch. Now-a-days Tasca do Joel is way more than a typical Portuguese tasca, where apart from a very extensive menu of Portuguese classics, you can enjoy several fishes of the day grilled over charcoal, as well as seafood kept alive until the minute you place your order.
📍Rua do Lapadusso 73, 2520-370 Peniche
We hope to have made you hungry for seafood meals in Lisbon! Now that you know where to go for the freshest bites, we’d also love to share with you our top ten seafoods you must try in Portugal. Let us know which one you like the most and share your mariscada photos with us on Instagram, tagging @tasteoflisboa #tasteoflisboa.
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