A city break to Lisbon is not complete without a night with fado, the melancholy Portuguese music. Avoid most of the Fado houses in area Bairro Alto; what you’ll hear has nothing to do with pure fado. You pay too much, and also the food is too overpriced! Good fado has its home in historical areas Alfama or Mouraria, like in restaurant/bar ‘Maria da Mouraria’, the former house of Lisbon’s first fadista: ‘Maria da Severa’ .
Fado is very traditional to Portugal. It is a song expressing sadness, longing, love, passion and life (saudade) The fado singer is often dressed in black, accompanied by a Portuguese guitarra and it is sung by men and women. You are expected to be quiet when the fado is sung in fado houses.
Usually the fado singing starts from 10pm.
Rosinha de Braga fadista Fado bar/restaurant ‘Maria da Mouraria’ Lisbon
No district in Lisbon is more praised for fado music than Lisbon’s historic Mouraria area. It is said that the melancholic sounds of the music and singing of the Moorish people were at the base of fado (meaning fate) music, often described as the Portuguese blues.
Mouraria Lisbon, restaurant/bar & fado house ‘Maria da Mouraria’, Largo da Severa 2.
It is said that Maria da Severa was born in this house, that’s why this place was created (in 2013) to promote fado as a tribute to the legendary singer, considered by many as the first fadista. She died here, at the age of 26 years old, November 30, 1846.
Who was Maria da Severa?
Teatro da Revista (a sort of vaudeville theatre) Lisbon: Revue about Maria da Severa’s life
Maria is said to have been a tall and gracious prostitute, and would sing the fado in taverns, were she encounters a Count, Armando de Vimioso, bohemian, and a celebrated and aristocratic bullfighter. After Maria sings for Armando, a passionate romance begins. Armando’s mother, Constanca, forbids the romance, being a scandal in the family! The House of the Counts of Vimioso had also close links with the Portuguese royal family.
Casa ‘Maria da Mouraria’, Lisbon: talented fadista Tania Oleiro, accompanied by Ricardo Parreira and Marco Oliveira
People who like to gather here are musicians, actors, journalists and residents of surrounding neighborhoods. Fado house ‘Maria da Mouraria’, works as an extension to the Fado Museum. To better understand the history of Lisbon’s song, it is essential to visit the museum, located in the nearby area Alfama.
Fado house ‘Maria da Mouraria’, Lisbon, a part of the audience (in wintertime).
You can have dinner, or just enjoy some snacks and a couple of drinks. We sat on one of the tables with a typical colourful tablecloth and waited for what was to come. We were surprised by fadista Tania Oleiro and the delights of a good dinner (from 20:00 pm) It is a small space with ten tables, so if you wish to dine here, make a reservation.
Casa ‘Maria da Mouraria’, Lisbon: dinner with friends Josephine Lucassen (tourist guide) and Jorge Torres
Dinner & fado music: € 25- 30 per person
Our dinner: Peixinhos da Horta (fried green beans, a free ‘tapa’), prato do dia (dish of the day: pork liver) € 13,90, bacalhau (cod fish) € 16,90, bife € 15,90, and 2 bottles of red wine € 21,80 (around € 25 per person).
YouTube movie about the area and people who live here , people in the street try to sing fado
Rua do Capelão Mouraria Lisbon: famous fado singers & beautiful wall portraits in the streets: Amália Rodrigues, Fernanda Maria & Francisco Martinho
Retratos do Fado – Um tributo à Mouraria. (Portraits of Fado – A tribute to Mouraria). This is a permanent exhibition of fabulous photos printed on wood on the walls of the streets in a tribute to fadistas with a strong connection to the neighbourhood. A great idea! Created by British photographer Camilla Watson , who has been living in the area for 6 years.
Helder Moutinho (Portuguese fado singer & songwriter) & Maria da Mouraria
In summertime you can enjoy well-known fado performers in front of ‘Casa ‘Maria da Mouraria’, (YouTube). In coordination with the Fado Museum, casa ‘Maria da Mouraria’ offers several cultural initiatives related to fado music in a completely renovated space. Film screenings, book readings and fado performers are the responsibility of Helder Moutinho.
Fado House ‘Maria da Mouraria’, Largo da Severa in Mouraria Lisbon.
In summertime the terrace is open for drinks and petiscos (‘tapas’). Dining from 19:00 – 02:00. Open from Wednesdays to Sundays (Fado every day). No creditcards.
Mouraria Lisbon, Escadinhas de São Cristóvão
Together with Alfama, Mouraria is the oldest part of Lisbon. Sometimes tourists are told this is a “dangerous ” neighborhood. But the reality is that this area is a popular and fashionable part of Lisbon. The Mouraria district is less touristy and therefore much purer but more impoverished. Currently, the district is gradually renovated.
Short term rentals in this neighbourhood