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

4 Replies to “Lisbon: how to recognize cheap good Portuguese restaurants, sardines & José & Laurinda”

  1. Hi,

    I just discovered this blog about my home, Lisbon, and I’m liking what I’ve read.

    Just a small correction though (I hope you don’t mind), crême brulée here is called ‘leite creme’. Pudim flan is a type of pudim that’s kind of similar, but not exactly the same as leite creme. 🙂

    Cheers!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.