Fado restaurant ‘Maria da Mouraria’ Lisbon: pure Portuguese fado music and traditional food in Maria da Severa’s former house, first fadista & femme fatale

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’ .

Mourara Lisbon in June Rua do Capelao Portuguese fado guitar

Mouraria , cradle of fado’ Lisbon in June (Santo Antonio festivities): Rua do Capelão (& fado monument), entrance to fado bar/restaurant ‘Maria da Mouraria’.

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.

Casa da Severa fado house Mouraria Lisbon 1

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 'Casa da Maria da Severa' november 2013

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?

Maria Severa first Portuguese fadista Lisbon Mouraria

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 Severa Lisbon Mouraria fadista Tania Oleiro

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.

Casa Maria da Severa Lisbon Mouraria dinner feb 14 2

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 Severa Lisbon Mouraria dinner feb 14 3 Josephine e Jorge

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 :-)

Mouraria Lisbon Rua do Capelao street portraits fado singers

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.

 

kATIA gUERREIRO Largo da Severa FADO 2

Summer 2013: Largo da Severa in Mouraria Lisbon: fadista Katia Guerreiro enchants the audience

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.

Reservations: (00351) 96 476 60 56. Facebook    Website

Mouraria Lisbon Escadinhas de São Cristóvão

Mouraria Lisbon, Escadinhas de São Cristóvão

“Dangerous neighborhood”?

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

Vacation trip to Lisbon? check the calendar of my 3 bedroom apartment with wonderful patio

2 Responses to “Fado restaurant ‘Maria da Mouraria’ Lisbon: pure Portuguese fado music and traditional food in Maria da Severa’s former house, first fadista & femme fatale”

  1. Hi,

    Are there Fado performances at Maria de Moureria, Senhor Vino or Clube de Fado on Christmas night, December 25, 2015?

    Are there performances on that night anywhere that is considered a good Fado venue?

    Thank you very much.

  2. George from Boston, USA on June 19th, 2016 at 1:13 am

    I have a question to ask. I have read somewhere that the fado singer, Fernanda Maria, no longer has her restaurant, Lisboa a noite.

    Did she retire? Any details about her?

    Thank you and have a good day.

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