Restaurant São Cristóvão Lisbon: Cape Verdean African dishes & owner Maria Levy

Restaurant São Cristóvão  is a tiny place in Lisbon’s historical city center Mouraria, one of the oldest areas of Lisbon .

Tiny Restaurant São Cristóvão Alfama Lisbon Owner Maria Levy

Owner Maria Levy in her restaurant São CristóvãoMouraria Lisbon

This small family-run restaurant is famous for its Cape Verdean- and other African dishes. The menu also includes typical Portuguese cuisine such as codfish (bacalhau) and sardines (sardinhas)

Restaurant São Cristóvão Alfama Lisbon2

Moamba de Galinha (Angolan chicken stew), a very popular dish: € 6

Restaurant São Cristóvão is a favorite place among locals, with great food. You never pay more than € 7 for a dish. Mufete, a typical dish from Angola with fried fish, sweet potatoes, beans, peppers and cassava: € 6. Drinks: Super bock beer € 1.  Ginja , liqueur made by infusing ginja berries, a  favourite liqueur of many Portuguese: € 1,50.

Restaurant São Cristóvão Alfama Lisbon3 owner Maria Levy

Restaurant São Cristóvão in Lisbon owner Maria do Livramento Levy

Maria Levy: ” I was born in Cape Verde , Santiago,  the largest, greenest, most African island of Cabo Verde, one of Portugal’s former African colonies. 43 years ago I moved to Portugal and around 30 years ago I opened this restaurant in Alfama”. “We can provide seating space for up to 32 people”. And, after dinner: “You must try a ponche (punch) de Cabo Verde” (€ 2).

Restaurant São Cristóvão Alfama Lisbon pastel starter

Pastel de Milho (corn), starter 1.80 euro, originally from Cape Verde

History: the Cape Verde archipelago was uninhabited when the Portuguese discovered it in 1456. African slaves were brought to the Cape Verdian islands to work on Portuguese plantations. As a result, Cape Verdeans are mulattos (mestiços in Portuguese), who have mixed African and European origins.

Restaurant São Cristóvão Alfama Lisbon Maria Levy grandchildren

Maria Levy and her grandchildren. The walls in the restaurant are covered with paraphernalia from the Cape Verdian Islands and pictures.

Cape Verde split away from Portugal in 1975, nowadays Lisbon is home to most of the Cape Verdean diaspora, although large communities are also to be found in Senegal, the north-east United States, Holland, France and Italy.

Restaurant Sao Cristovao Lisbon Febr 2013 dancing

Restaurant São Cristóvão: Ans de Graaf, a friend and owner Maria Levy

Maria loves the Afro-Portuguese music that fills her eatery and she invites people to dance after their dinner.

Popular singer Cesária Évora, “the Barefoot Diva’, has made Cape Verde famous all over the world. She generally performed in bare feet, as a sign of solidarity for the large number of women and children back home in the Cape Verdean Islands who cannot afford shoes. Cesária Évora: ‘Saudade’  (youtube).  More (wikipedia)

Restaurant São Cristóvão Alfama Lisbon street

Restaurant São CristóvãoRua de São Cristovão 28-30,  Mouraria Lisbon. Phone (00351) 914752102. Open from 12:00 to 24:00, also on Sunday.

In case you visit Lisbon for the first time: this restaurant is not easy to find. From the city center walk to Rua da Madalena and climb the stairs from Escadinhas de São Cristóvão

Restaurant São Cristóvão Alfama Lisbon how toreach

Stairs to restaurant São Cristóvão from Rua da Madalena, Mouraria Lisbon

District Mouraria ( ‘where the Moors live’) is one of the oldest areas in Lisbon. Nowadays the Moorish influence is still present, like the tiny streets and stairs. You feel like walking in a kasbah in the Middle Ages!

Restaurant São Cristóvão Alfama Lisbon street 10

Rua de São Cristovão  Lisbon, wall picture of Joaquim, a man who lived in this street. Created by British photographer Camilla Watson , who has been living in this area for 6 years.

10 Replies to “Restaurant São Cristóvão Lisbon: Cape Verdean African dishes & owner Maria Levy”

  1. I am afraid it does not exist anymore. I found the place, but it was closed although it was around 3.00 p.m.

  2. It DOES still exist. We were just there this afternoon (03/10/2011) and it is open. Saw Maria Levy and her grandchildren. Lovely lady. Going back for dinner tomorrow evening

  3. Last time I ve been there in February 2012 so I think it still exists. I ve been there few times between 2008 and 2012 (I am not living in Portugal but I try to visit this place once every time I am in Lisbon). I will always remember one funny story: my GF and me finished eating, paid and we left some tip and left. We were moving toward Rua Madalena when we found this lady Maria is calling us, she was on the street and we dont speak Portuguese so we just came back and didnt understand what is she talking and she gave us this ponch. It was great drink.

  4. I visited it yesterday, still open, still excellent. Good music, good food and the owner who sings Cesaria Evora standards for you.

  5. I ate there recently! The old woman was completely drunk and i wait hours for the food. I’m ashamed of the old woman. it’s a place very disorganized and dirty

    Hi! I ate there December 5 (almoço), the place was clean and nice and also the food was very good! Kind regards J Kruijs

  6. I am a portuguese client and I can tell you that this is not a good place as it looks… The owner wants you to eat and drink more things all the time. They put a lots of things that you didn’t ask on the table. Then when the bill comes you have a big surprise. Everyhting is false, even her smile and the jokes she tries to do. She only wants your money. When you pay, even the change will not come anymore, so becareful.

  7. The restaurant still exists. It is small but decent. Prices are not high and the dishes are fairly good. Do not expect haute cuisine, just simple meals for a fair price. The menu is not very well translated into English. Carapaus (translated as swordfish) turned out to be mackerel… So ask what it says on the menu before you order. I can recommend the Chicken in Peanut Sauce, a dish from Mozambique. The Rosé we had was good too: Mateus Rosé. I think it was 7 or 8 euro a bottle.

  8. We used to go to this place regularly in the 1990’s, it was amazing. I’d love to know if it is still there??

Leave a Reply