Lisbon: how to recognize cheap good Portuguese restaurants, sardines & José & Laurinda

The Portuguese appreciate eating and drinking well. The influence of Portugal’s former colonial possessions is clear, especially in the wide variety of spices used, like piri piri (small, fiery chilli peppers), as well as cinnamon, vanilla and saffron.

Restaurant/cafe ‘A Vaidosa Terreirinho Ginginha’, Rua do Terreirinho 58 Lisbon & owner José Maria

Tiny place, good traditional Portuguese food 🙂 Historical area in Mouraria, Lisbon. 

Owner José Maria & his wife Laurinda

Pataniscas de Bacalhau & rice 7.50 euro (fried cod): delicious!

The Portuguese cuisine is rich, filling and full-flavoured. There’s also Arab and Moorish influences, especially in the south.

Restaurant Jose Marie & Paula bacalhau a bras January 2017

Restaurant José Maria in Mouraria Lisbon January 2017

Lunch with Paula: delicious bacalhau à brás  (salt cod): 6 euro pp

Portuguese breakfast

Traditionally just coffee and bread, often enjoyed in a cafe (pastelaria). Recommended: toast (tosta mista) with ham & cheese (queijo e presunto), or delicious sweet pastries like pastéis de nata, real calorie bombs! Coffee: strong (bica) with milk (galão – garoto), tea (chá) with or without sugar (açúcar). The pastalerias are often a part of the social life in the neighbourhood.

dutch ladies 4 feb Jose Marie lunch

Historical area Mouraria Lisbon Restaurant José Maria & his wife Laurinda

Lunch with Dutch friends, February 4, 2015: Denise, Jolanda, Margriet and Feikje

More cheap restaurants and useful information about area Mouraria

mouraria-jose-marie-erna-deegens-september-2016

September 2016: Erna and Tonny Deegens & friends Marijn and Anneke

Good quality & local prices

In this tiny restaurant in Mouraria you can enjoy a 3 course meal (starter, like cheese/ham, soup, main course, dessert, water, coffee and wine) for only about 9-10 euros pp. Not open on Sundays.

Restaurant Jose Marie e Laurinda delicious bitoque

Laurinda’s bitoque is the best of Lisbon 🙂  🙂

If you prefer meat, and don’t feel like experimenting, try abitoque’. It’s steak and fries, with a fried egg, garlic and rice (ca. 7 euro).

Typical Portugues & very popular: grilled sardines

Bill for 3 persons: around 30 euro

Grilled sardines recipe by Rochelle Ramos:

Delicious grilled piri piri sardines on crusty bread recipe complete with step-by-step pictures and detailed instructions

Restaurant owner Laurinda & delicious fresh fish

How to recognize cheap and really Portuguese restaurants?
A little bit disorderly, but very clean; a big TV screen, people like watching TV while eating (a lot of football, futebol), TL-tubes on the ceiling and paper table-covers. Prices (in Lisbon) between 8 and 15 euro (three courses and wine).

My apartment in the same street in area Mouraria (100 m2), 3 bedrooms & lovely patio (30 m2). Picture: Margaret Schöttelndreier.

Short time rental: my 3 bedroom holiday apartment with lovely patio

January 2016: Erika, Loek, Luc & Ans

Football

In Portugal there’s a lot of seafood restaurants, many with very beautiful displays of lobsters, shrimp, oysters, and crabs, but a big TV-screen, football (futebol!) is also really important….!! 😉

Lisbon be prepared free strarters

Starters, typical Portuguese (not free in more expensive restaurants)

Be prepared: in the more expensive restaurants you have to pay for starters like bread, cheese and often olives or shrimps (camarao) (from 3 – 10 euro).

Restaurant Jose Maria & Laurinda November 2018

Unrequested starter dishes

You won’t pay for starters if you don’t eat them, the waiter will take them away (não, obrigado), ‘no thank you’. The waiter will probably bring you some unrequested starter dishes: as those are not free, feel free not to touch them and they will not be charged on your bill (but check it, especially in restaurants with lots of tourists!).  NOT in this place 🙂

Or, they ‘offer’ you a glass of portwine (and charge 4-7 euro on the bill). Tips are not usual in Portugal, but a few euro is ok.

Restaurant Carmar Lisbon Espetada near Martim Moniz

Espetada: a typical Portuguese dish: 6.90 €

The espetada is a typical Portuguese dish made usually of large chunks of beeff rubbed in garlic and salt, skewered onto a bay leaf stick cooked over hot coals or wood chips.

Roasted apple (sobremesa: dessert)

Lunch (almoçar): between 12:00 and 15:00. Dinner from 19:00

Like in all mediterranean countries lunch (almoçar),  is a big affair for Portuguese, served between noon and 3 o’clock, often in a restaurant (and often paid by the employer).

Menu list with 2 price columns

When dining in Lisbon, you will notice that some restaurants have a menu list with 2 price columns. The cheaper list is for half-portions (meia dose), the higher priced list is for full-portions (dose)

Usually three courses, including soup (sopa) like f.i. caldo verde (a soup of cabbage and potatoes).

Eating drinking Lisbon Caldo Verde soup

Caldo Verde, a popular soup of Portuguese and Brazilian cuisine.

Fish, like codfish (bacalhau) or charcoal-grilled sardines (sardinhas assadas) or meat (rabbit and pork are very popular), Coelho a caçador (rabbitstew, in red wine), accompanied with a small bottle of red or white wine (uma garaffa de vinho branco ou tinto) or Vinho Verde (a young sparkling ‘green’ wine, low-alcohol).

Restaurant Casa da india Frango chicken piri piri

Chicken (frangopiri-piri (the African devil..), is also a very popular dish. Restaurant Casa da Índia, in Bairro Alto 

Nun’s bellies & bacon from heaven  😉

Desserts (sobremesas): crême brulée (pudim flan), chocolate mousse and a big variety of almond cakes (amêndoa). Toucinho do céu (bacon from heaven) or barriga de freiras, (nun’s bellies), recipes originally created by nuns in the 17th and 18th Century. Often cheese (queijo), from sheep or goat’s milk. Very popular is ‘queijo da Serra” from the region of Serra da Estrela in the north.

Lisbon cheap restaurants bill paper cover

Mouraria Lisbon, tiny restaurant Marie-Jose and Laurinda

Bill: no credit cards

In the smaller restaurants the bill is usually written on the paper table cloth…you can pay in cash only. Our bill for 2 persons? 20 euro, incl. a glass of home made Aguardente bagaceira……(litt. firewater)

Mouraria Lisbon Street tiny restaurant Jose Marie & Laurinda nov 14

Mouraria, Rua do Terreirinho 58  Lisbon near starting point starting point legendary tram 28 at square Martim Moniz.

Restaurant/cafe ‘A Vaidosa Terreirinho Ginginha‘ 

Rua do Terreirinho 58, Mouraria Lisbon. Not open on Sunday

Discover trendy historic area Mouraria Lisbon

How to prepare Caldeirada (fish stew), traditional Portuguese recipe & Lisbon market Mercado da Ribeira

Caldeirada, a traditional Portuguese fish stew, can consist of seafood (caldeirada de marisco), salted codfish (caldeirada de bacalhao) or any fish of your choice.

We’ll concentrate on making a ‘caldeirada de peixe (plain fish) and we’ll use some nice fresh douradas. As we cook for 4 persons we’ll take 4 large douradas, or 8 smaller ones.

Mercado da Ribeira fresh fish2

When actually cooking in Lisbon go out to the big market (near to Lisbon’s major railway station and ferry terminal Cais do Sodré )Mercado da Ribeira . A kilo of douradas shouldn’t cost more then 7/8 euros, depending on the quality. Look for fish with shiny eyes and gills that are still red on the inside.

Other ingredients you need:

  • 4 large potatoes
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 large onion
  • 3 large tomatos
  • 1 red and 1 greene pepper
  • Olive oil
  • White wine
  • Sea salt
  • Coriander

Preparation

Take a large pot, cut the fish into big lumps (including the heads, tails and bones, don’t throw away the good parts). Cut the potatoes, tomatoes, garlic and onions into thin slices, cut the peppers into cubes.

Drizzle some olive oil in the pan and start ‘building up’ the caldeirada. Place the slices of potatoes in the pot, the slices of tomato, the peppers, garlic and onion and finally a third of the fish, some sea salt and coriander. Then start with the second layer, repeating the entire process untill all ingredients are used up. Top with some extra sea salt, coriander, olive oil and white wine.

Don’t save on the olive oil, cooking the caldeirada in oil gives it the rich typical taste.

Place the (closed) pot on a low fire, and let the caldeirada simmer ‘till all the ingredients are cooked (about 45 minutes/ one hour). Serve with bread olives and ice cold ‘vinho verde’ or white wine.

Caldeirada de peixe portugese fish stew