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Trafaria travel guide for food lovers

a small boat in a body of water


Located on the south bank of the Tagus River, Trafaria is a town that defies simple categorization. Though it functions as a town, it preserves the soul of a traditional fishing village, tucked between Cacilhas and Caparica in the municipality of Almada. Historically significant, Trafaria once served as a quarantine station during the Age of Discoveries, holding people and goods arriving in Lisbon to safeguard against disease spread.

Feat photo by Booked

a small boat in a body of waterPhoto by


Reaching Trafaria from Lisbon is quite straightforward, especially if you are already in the neighborhood of Belém. If not, you can access this historical part of the city aboard tram 15, which departs regularly from several downtown locations. Once in Belém, hop on the boat operated by Transtejo Soflusa, which connects Lisbon to Trafaria about once every hour (full schedule here), from early morning until early evening. Unlike the boats departing from Cais do Sodré to Cacilhas, the ones here are actual ferries, meaning if you’re traveling with a car and plan to continue your journey south, you can cross with your vehicle. However, unless you plan to use the vehicle to travel further onwards, taking a car to Trafaria is not recommended. The town is small, walkable, and parking may be challenging. 

The short ferry trip from Lisbon not only cuts across the Tagus River but also serves as a literal and metaphorical crossing into a different pace of life. This town has successfully transitioned from an industrial stronghold to a peaceful haven, maintaining its historical integrity while providing a quiet escape from urban life.


a flock of seagulls standing next to a body of waterPhoto by Lisbonne Idee


Evolving from its industrial past, Trafaria is today a quiet town, with some greenery replacing the industrial landscape along Avenida 25 de Abril. This area was over the years transformed from marshlands into a lush pleasant area to walk around, with incredible views towards Lisbon. 


a boat is docked next to a body of waterPhoto by Almada Online


Architecturally, Trafaria is home to several noteworthy structures such as the coreto (Rua Gomes Freire de Andrade), that is, the town square’s traditional bandstand, which is also a common spot for community gatherings and music performances. Religious architecture also plays a significant role in defining the town’s skyline, with landmarks like the Igreja Matriz (Largo da República 13A) and the Capela de Nossa Senhora da Conceição (Rua Guedes Coelho 26).


a small clock tower in front of a buildingPhoto by Wikimedia Commons


One of our very favorite places to visit around Trafaria is Cova do Vapor. This  intriguing locality, at the confluence of the Tagus River and the Atlantic Ocean, is characterized by its quaint wooden houses, many of which are used as vacation homes, right by the beach. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t people living here all year round. In fact, visiting Cova do Vapor is a chance to witness the traditional lifestyle of its residents, who often engage in fishing, one of the area’s primary activities. The location itself is a scenic marvel, where the mighty river meets the vast Atlantic ocean, offering stunning views and a serene atmosphere. 


a small boat in a body of waterPhoto by For 91 Days in Lisbon


As the distinction between Lisbon and its neighboring towns blurs with expanding city limits, Trafaria remains a distinct entity, proudly displaying its identity and history. Visiting now offers a chance to see Trafaria before it possibly succumbs to the pressures of modernization and tourism. We would highly recommend you to take a day trip to Trafaria from Lisbon, to enjoy its quiet surroundings and, above all, to indulge in a fresh seafood meal. 

Trafaria’s relationship with the sea is manifest in its culinary scene, particularly in its seafood. The town’s traditional fishing practices ensure local restaurants offer dishes featuring the freshest catch, prepared in ways that have been perfected over generations.


Best Portuguese restaurants in Trafaria

Casa Ideal

a man sitting at a tableLocated on Travessa dos Pescadores in Trafaria, Casa Ideal has been a local favorite for over 40 years, known for its fresh, daily-caught seafood and warm, family atmosphere. Recently, Conceição Augusto took over the reins from her family, infusing new energy into the restaurant while maintaining beloved traditions. The restaurant’s specialty is its seafood, served in a variety of traditional Portuguese styles. Highlights include charcoal-grilled fish, monkfish filets, pot-cooked grouper, and crispy fried cuttlefish. Casa Ideal is also famous for its caldeirada, a rich fish stew available on a pre-order basis, and which can even be customizable, allowing diners to choose their preferred fish. For dessert, they have simple yet delicious options of traditional Portuguese desserts. Casa Ideal is indeed an ideal stop for an authentic local dining experience in Trafaria.

📍Rua Ten. Maia 22, 2825-322 Trafaria

Photo by michaelwoollard56 on TripAdvisor


Taberna do Zé da Lídia

a living roomTucked away near the church in Trafaria, Taberna do Zé da Lídia offers a quaint retreat known for its traditional snacks and homemade dishes that evoke the comforting flavors of grandmother’s cooking. Since its founding in 2006, this spot has become a beloved local hangout, appreciated for its generous portions and fair prices. The menu at Taberna do Zé da Lídia is a testament to traditional Portuguese cuisine, featuring an array of petiscos (small plates) and hearty meals that blend sea-inspired comfort food with classic recipes. Standout dishes include skate stew (ensopado de raia), fried cuttlefish and naughty rice with kidney beans (choco frito com arroz de feijão), and pork meat with savory potato pudding (carne de alguidar com migas de batatas). For those less inclined towards seafood, the duck rice (arroz de pato) comes highly recommended. Despite its modest size, the taberna makes a significant impression with its warm, family-friendly atmosphere and an array of exceptional homemade desserts. 

📍Rua Jaime Artur Costa Pinto 12, 2825-415 Trafaria

Photo by CM Almada


Taberna Manuel da Gorda

a bowl of soupTaberna Manuel da Gorda offers a serene dining experience in Trafaria, focusing on quality over quantity with a menu rich in both traditional and slightly more innovative dishes. Celebrated for its ensopado de raia, a flavorful ray fish stew served with fried Alentejano bread and seasoned potatoes, the restaurant also excels in modern offerings like bitoque do mar (pictured here), a Portuguese-style tuna steak topped with a fried egg. Innovative dishes like fried plaice and savory bread pudding with fish roe (solha com açorda de ovas) demonstrate the kitchen’s flair for combining traditional textures and flavors. Even though this is Trafaria, where seafood reigns supreme, the meat offering at Taberna Manuel da Gorda clearly shows that the chef also cares quite deeply about butchery. On the sweeter side of life, the restaurant’s menu focuses on conventual desserts, with particular highlight going towards their signature rice pudding (arroz doce), prepared with goat’s milk instead of the customary cow milk, and their encharcada, a syrupy egg yolk heavy confection. 

📍Rua Gago Coutinho 20, 2825-861 Trafaria

Photo by Time Out Lisboa


Dois Oito 25

a plate of foodOpened in 2021, Dois Oito 25 offers a contemporary dining option in Trafaria, contrasting with the more traditional establishments in the area. Led by chef Margarida Pacheco, the restaurant emphasizes regional ingredients and traditional petiscos (Portuguese tapas), delivering a menu that respects the culinary roots of the region while embracing modern cooking techniques. Signature dishes at Dois Oito 25 include mackerel in a tangy marinade inherited from Moorish times (escabeche de carapau), croquettes with coriander mayonnaise (croquetes com maionese de coentros), and chicken gizzards cooked Carla’s style (moelas da Dona Carla). For heartier appetites, the menu features pork cheek with smashed potatoes (bochechas de porco com batata a murro), veal steak with egg (bitoque), and sea bass rice (robalo). In winter, the restaurant’s wood-fired oven takes center stage, producing Francesinhas (loaded Portuguese sandwiches drenched in sauce), pork belly (entremeada), and roasted kid (cabrito assado), creating unique offerings that stand out in the local dining scene. During summer, Dois Oito 25 comes alive with its outdoor terrace, which is one of the finest places in Trafaria to enjoy a leisurely meal.

📍Rua Infante Dom Henrique 17, 2825-838 Trafaria

Photo by Dois Oito 25 on TripAdvisor


Grelha do Rio

a variety of baked bread on a grillIn Trafaria, Grelha do Rio stands as the quintessential churrasqueira, catering to Portugal’s love affair with charcoal-roasted chicken, commonly known internationally as peri-peri chicken. This snack bar and grill embodies the spirit of local dining – they didn’t reinvent the wheel, but they sure know how to keep it going round and round really well! Their chicken is mouthwatering and, even before you get to dig in, you’ll get to enjoy the irresistible smoky aroma which fills the air nearby. Even though internationally peri-peri chicken is known to be a hot dish, the truth is that here in Portugal we normally have charcoal roasted chicken plain, and you can customize the heat level according to taste. While asking for your bird to be brushed while still on the grill is indeed an option, you will most likely be served peri-peri sauce (known in Portuguese as molho piri-piri) directly at your table, so that you can add it to taste. Accompanied by a hearty serving of fries, this dish is one of the best examples of Portuguese comfort food.

📍Rua Alexandre Braga 6, 2825-894 Trafaria

Photo by Grelha do Rio on Facebook


O Fragateiro

a group of people walking in front of a buildingO Fragateiro enjoys a prime location in Trafaria, right beside the ferry station. So, if you arrive hungry from your short ferry ride and need some energy to go explore Trafaria, you can make this your first stop. This cozy restaurant is renowned for its connection to the local fishing culture, as well as for stunning views of the Tejo River and Lisbon’s skyline. Its menu is a celebration of simplicity and flavor, featuring top-quality ingredients that shine through in every dish. Highlights include freshly grilled sardines (sardinha assada), tender cuttlefish (choco) available both fried and grilled, and a flavorful caldeirada, the typical fish stew restaurants around Trafaria more often than not include amongst their specialities. Dining here is not just about the food but also the experience. The restaurant’s outdoor seating area is particularly popular during the summer months. Enjoy the excellent cuisine, reasonable prices, and the scenic backdrop. Take your time to savor a coffee and perhaps even a digestive after your meal, fully absorbing the serene water-level views that make O Fragateiro a must-visit in Trafaria.

📍Av. Gen. Moutinho 13, 2825-870 Trafaria

Photo by MariaCB on TripAdvisor


A Taberna

a dining room table in front of a windowA Taberna excels in seafood dishes, presenting a menu that favors the fresh catches of the day, as it is common around here. Throughout the week, A Taberna offers changing specials that provide excellent value. These meal combos typically include bread and olives to start, followed by a soup, a main dish, a drink of choice, and an espresso to conclude, as here in Portugal most folks would end their meal with a kick of caffeine. Over the weekends, the menu expands to include more elaborate dishes such as octopus prepared in a traditional olive oil style (polvo à lagareiro), fish rice (arroz de peixe), and razor clam rice (arroz de lingueirão), amongst others. Like other good restaurants in Trafaria, which respect seafood and understand that quality matters a great deal, A Taberna serves peixe do mar, that is, wild catches which are superior in quality and flavor (and, let’s face it, in price too) as compared to aquaculture fish. It’s relevant to note that, unlike farm-raised varieties, wild fish is typically sold by weight, not per serving or dish, so always make sure you double check before ordering, to avoid bitter post-dessert surprises. 

📍Av. Gen. Moutinho 17, 2825-870 Trafaria

Photo by A Taberna on TripAdvisor



a sandwich and fries on a plateKnown for its distinctly familial atmosphere, which is for some a tad too “lively”, restaurant Piri-Piri serves as a window into the daily culinary life of Trafaria. This restaurant is known for its well-prepared food, generous portions, and good value for money. Focusing on simple, hearty meals that steer clear of gourmet pretensions, Restaurante Piri-Piri offers a menu that’s close to the heart of traditional Portuguese cuisine. The catch of the day is always a recommended choice, showcasing the best of the local waters. Beyond its fresh fish, the restaurant is famed for its clams Bulhão Pato and its signature barbecue chicken (frango de churrasco), a staple that has been perfected here since the early 1970s. While Restaurante Piri-Piri may not be a destination in itself with traveling specifically to Trafaria for, it stands out as a good choice once you find yourself in the area. For an uncomplicated, satisfying meal at a good value, this spot is definitely worth a visit.

📍Av. da Liberdade 24, 2825-861 Trafaria

Photo by Joaquin S on TripAdvisor


Sabores ao Quadrado

a group of people sitting at a tableLocated on Avenida Bulhão Pato, just steps away from the Tagus River terminal, Sabores ao Quadrado has been feeding Trafaria’s residents and visitors since 2011. Sabores ao Quadrado set up is quite simple, but nonetheless inviting. The bar stands out on the inside and the outdoor terrace expands to accommodate more guests on sunny days. The informal ambiance is highlighted by wooden tables draped with checkered cloths covered by paper, enhancing the laid-back, beachy feel of the place. The menu at Sabores ao Quadrado is dictated by the daily catch and market availability, ensuring dishes are prepared with the freshest ingredients. The restaurant focuses primarily on seafood, offering popular dishes such as fried fish accompanied by tomato rice (peixe frito com arroz de tomate), or grills featuring mackerel (carapau), swordfish (espadarte), as well as other fishes. For meat lovers we’d recommend the skewers (espetadas) or pork belly. Absolutely unpretentious, Sabores ao Quadrado doesn’t seem to care much about the decor, but certainly prepares good food, including lovely home-made desserts.

📍Av. Bulhão Pato 24, 2825-846 Trafaria

Photo by Restaurant Guru


Zona Verde

a close up of a signKnown for its no-frills, tasca-style atmosphere, this small restaurant charms locals and visitors alike with its combination of good food that hits the spot and affordable pricing. The chef at Zona Verde, usually seen behind the grill, crafts simple yet perfectly executed dishes that showcase the flavors of Portugal. While seafood is a logical choice given Trafaria’s coastal location, Zona Verde also excels in heartier dishes such as cozido à portuguesa, a robust traditional stew that’s hard to pass up even with the abundance of fresh fish available. If you are unsure what to order, we would encourage you to start with something from the grill and move on to the cozido to fully appreciate the range of the menu – sharing is caring, so come with company and enjoy more than one option. If you are quite full after eating at Zona Verde, remember that the beach is not too far and lying down in the sand is always an option for a reinvigorating power nap.

📍N377-1, 2825-894 Trafaria

Photo by Zona Verde on Facebook


Best bakeries and cafes in Trafaria


a donut next to a glass display casePanicova is a family-run bakery managed by  Eduardo, his wife, his children, daughter-in-law, and son-in-law, all performing various roles. Eduardo and his son, Henrique Ferreira, take meticulous care in the baking process, while the women of the family manage the bustling storefront. One of Panicova’s summer highlights is the production of an astonishing over one thousand bolas de Berlim per day. These egg jam filled doughnuts are a beloved treat in the Lisbon region, traditionally enjoyed at the beach. Unlike other vendors, Panicova does not sell their bolas de Berlim on the beach, choosing instead to invite customers to come to their bakery, purchase these delicious pastries which are fried in batches through the day for maximum freshness, and take them to nearby beaches like Cova do Vapor or Costa da Caparica, for a quintessentially local experience.

📍Av. António Martins Correia 22A, 2825 Trafaria

Photo by Mapstr



a clock that is on display in a storeCafé Primor exemplifies the charm and utility of a traditional Portuguese pastelaria, a concept deeply ingrained in Portugal’s culinary culture. Pastelarias are beloved local eateries that serve a mix of sweets and savories, making them a popular spot for a Portuguese style  breakfast or a midday break. They are essential to the daily routine in Portugal, providing a place for a quick coffee, a sweet treat, or a savory snack at almost any time of the day. Besides offering a nice selection of pastries and confections, Café Primor also serves excellent value-for-money lunches during the week. But what truly sets Café Primor apart, however, is the warm and welcoming service. The ladies who run the café are known for their friendly approach, creating an inviting atmosphere that keeps locals coming back to eat, gather, chat, and enjoy the simpler pleasures of life.

📍Estr. Militar 1, 2825-845 Trafaria

Photo by Marcha da Trafaria on Facebook



food on a wooden tableVivalvense stands out in the region for baking some of the best Portuguese breads, including the cherished Mafra and Alentejano varieties. This bakery prides itself on its traditional wood-fired oven, which not only perfects the art of breadmaking but also fills the street with an enticing aroma that draws people in from afar. Aside from its exceptional bread, Vivalvense offers a selection of small pastries and provides a pleasant seating area on its terrace, making it a perfect spot for a leisurely breakfast or an afternoon snack. However, the star of the show remains its traditional bread. In an era where authentic, old-fashioned bread making is becoming a rarity, Vivalvense maintains these time-honored techniques, offering breads that are not only delicious but also more nutritious.

📍Rua Ten. Maia 46 48, 2825-863 Trafaria

Photo by Nfrutas


Step into Trafaria’s streets, meet its people, and let the town itself tell you its story… one meal at a time! If you make it to the south bank of the Tejo river, please let us know your best meal there and share your photos with us on Instagram: @tasteoflisboa #tasteoflisboa


Feed your curiosity on Portuguese food culture:

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3 iconic Portuguese meat sandwiches

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