Cafe Sao Bento, Lisbon, Portugal

Food: Best steaks in Lisbon! They serve a perfect version of "Bife à Marrare" steak fried in butter and served with a wonderful simple cream sauce. Great fries too. Small menu with some classic steakhouse salads to start or nata negra. Meat and potatoes place for sure! One of my favorites! 

Wine: Small-ish list with many of the big names and definitely tailored for red meat with big, bold choices. Mostly from Douro and Alentejo with a few from Dao and Lisbon areas. In general Portuguese wines are MADE for steak! Plus cocktails to start the meal...

My take: A top choice in Lisbon especially for a celebration or your last night of a trip! The vibe is speakeasy and cool and even romantic (but doesn't have to be). Really fun and great service. More on Cafe Sao Bento

O Prego da Peixeria, Lisbon, Portugal

Food: A "prego" is a traditional Portuguese steak sandwich and is the best steak sandwich you will ever have! It is simple: Good quality, thinly sliced grilled sirloin on a garlic-buttered soft flat roll called "bolo do caco," a bread that hails from Madeira. O Prego da Peixeria has the traditional prego but also has other types of meat (including fish!) and other delicious, modern combos with vegetables and herb toppings. I love their fried sweet potatoes and ice cream too.

Wine: A small selection of crowd pleasers but I drink "uma imperial" (a beer) here.

My take: I love this place for lunch or dinner. It is quick and delicious and inexpensive and satisfying as hell. One of my favorites! More on O Prego da Peixeria

Toma La Da Ca, Lisbon, Portugal

Food: Traditional, family-owned taberna (also a "tasca," a cheap eatery). Everything on the menu is good, meat and fish. Locals go here, plus tourists. This is a favorite in Bairro Alto and Lisbon in general!

Wine: Smallish mostly bold, fruit-driven selection from around Portugal but impossible to understand if you don't know the producers since the regions are not listed on the menu. Tip: Many bottles sit on the window sill on the hill side of the restaurant. Go over to pick a bottle that way. Red suggestions:  Casa de Santar or Quinta do Cabriz from Dao, Vale da Raposa or CARM from Douro or Vinha da Defesa or Herdade de Pombal from Alentejo.  

My take: Highly recommended. You won't feel like a tourist here. If you go after 7:45/8pm, you'll have to wait on the street for a table. No problem:  Ask them for a cold beer to sip outside and people watch. Tip: be sure to tell them how you want your steak cooked if you don't want it rare. More on Toma La Da Ca. More on Tascas. More on types of restaurants in Portugal. 

Cervejaria Ramiro, Lisbon, Portugal

Food: Seafood institution in Lisbon for 60 years. Famous for great shellfish. Fresh and delicious. A favorite. And for dessert you have a steak sandwich!

Wine: It's a beer hall that also serves some of the best seafood in town. So beer is popular (and ice cold deeelish) here. They have a solid, short wine list too.

My take: This is a must for any trip to Lisbon. It's bustling and fun. There is always a wait so plan for off-hours if you can or just wait. It's worth it. More on Ramiro

A Cevicheria, Lisbon, Portugal

Food: Top-notch little plates based around seafood. Fun textures!

Wine: Great, short list with whites mostly from the Douro (Douro whites and alvarinhos from Melgaco/Moncao are my go-tos). Get the CARM, which I love, if you can't decide. They also have a house white made for the restaurant that is by the glass and really good.

My take: One of my faves. A perfect night is to have an aperitif nearby at the kiosk at the Miradouro de Sao Pedro de Alcantara, dinner at A Cevicheria and then a Port flight at Chafariz do Vinho.  All within 5 mins walk of each other! 

Gambrinus, Lisbon, Portugal

Food:  Classic Portuguese in an old school yet still hip after all these 75+ years setting. The food is top-notch with service to match. 

Wine:  They are not messing around here. Great food wants great wine. They tend to carry producers' premium bottlings. 

My take:  This is on my list of classic Lisbon spots. I love sitting at the bar. More on Gambrinus.

Esplanada Cafe do Principe Real, Lisbon, Portugal

Food: A favorite breakfast spot! Also decent salads, inexpensive sandwiches and crostini plus entrees that are an overview of Portuguese cuisine (from pregos to bacalhau). 

Wine: I always drink beer here. Cold and in big pints. And good coffee. Plus lots of spirits if that is your thing.

My take: This is a beautiful setting. A glass building in the Principe Real park on top of the "hill' above Bairro Alto. You can sit in the glass building (to feel like you're outside if it is raining) or outside under the gorgeous trees. I love it for breakfast. Tips: 1. You have to be persistent (in a friendly way) with the servers. 2. There are pigeons in the park and they will try to get your food if you don't make it clear it's yours and not theirs. 3. If you get the burger/steak and don't want it rare, you must tell the server. More about Esplanada Cafe do Principe Real. 

Bom Jardim, Lisbon, Portugal

Food: Roasted chicken piri piri!  Some of the best roasted chix you'll ever have. And it's cheap. 

Wine: They have a half bottle selection here so while the rest of the table is ordering a cold delicious beer, you can have wine. 

My take: It's a Lisbon institution for good reason. Sidewalk seating. Cranky but efficient waiters. Crispy fries. Vinegary mixed green salad. A must!

Chafariz do Vinho, Lisbon, Portugal

Food: Rustic, tasty small plates or "petiscos" inside the Aguas Livres Aqueduct! It's basically a massive holding tank for water that came into Lisbon via the almost 60-km-long 18th C. aqueduct, an engineering wonder that survived the 1755 earthquake. They actually store the wine in the tunnel that connects the tank to the aqueduct!

Wine: This is a wine bar with fun flight options to learn the regions of Portugal. A must for people who dig wine and/or architecture and engineering.

My take: It is very popular with tourists. But the setting is worth a trip. Go for a glass and enjoy a historic "watering" hole and with a great selection of Portuguese wines. More on Chafariz do Vinho

Tambarina, Lisbon, Portugal

Food: No-frills Cape Verdean restaurant with friendly, lively atmosphere. The food is hearty, filling and good. You can get a meal and a drink that will leave you happy and satisfied for less than 10 euros! They serve traditional foods from Cape Verde (chef and staff are from Cape Verde), such as cachupa, a stew of beans and meat or fish. 

Wine: I always drink the cold draft beers here! They go great with the hearty, sometimes spicy food.

My take: These kinds of restaurants are a reason to visit Lisbon! In one long weekend you can sample the cuisines of former Portuguese colonies. Good food at great prices with friendly service! They often have live music too. More on Tambarina

Taberna da Rua das Flores, Lisbon, Portugal

Food: Man, it's good. A tasca with a very small menu. Maybe 10 tables. Each day is different and is listed on a chalkboard. Slightly modernized take on traditional Portuguese. Love this place.

Wine: I just drink the house wine and it's solid. 

My take: Go. You'll be happy. More on Taberna da Rua das Flores.

Taberna Dos Gordos, Lisbon, Portugal

Food: A focused menu of classic Portuguese dishes. It's like eating in your best friend's cool, rustic house and your best friend happens to be a fine chef!

Wine: A short, inexpensive list. 

My take: This is one of those places that feels like you're in on a secret. The food is great and it has a feeling of being at a dinner party that everyone else wishes they could get invited to. More on Taberna Dos Gordos

Sommelier, Lisbon, Portugal

Food: Excellent, upscale take on Portuguese/Mediterranean. It is more expensive than most Lisbon restaurants. Even though it's fancy, it's relaxed at the same time and the servers are attentive and friendly.  

Wine: The mostly Portuguese wine list is fantastic. They have 80 wines by the glass. There is a wine preservation system lining one entire wall of the restaurant (that somehow isn't ugly!). A server will accompany you to the "wine wall" and you can taste to your heart's content. If you love wine or want to discover Portuguese wine, I highly recommend this. They also offer wine pairings, such as "classic," "premium" and "deluxe." I did the "premium" with a tasting menu. It was one of my favorite recent organized wine pairings because it forced me to try regions and grape varieties I normally avoid. I was happy to learn I've been missing out on some good wines due to my biases. 

My Take: This is a splurge experience, and if you are looking for that, then it's totally worth it. And if you don't want to break the bank, you can still go! Just be ready to restrain yourself, try a couple of wines and have a couple of "Starters" or "Nibbles." You don't have to do the tasting menu and can order a la carte too. More on Sommelier

Darwin's Cafe, Belem (Lisbon), Portugal

Food:  Good, new-fashioned Portuguese food in a stylish, grand setting with views of the Tejo and the tower of Belem.

Wine:  A serious wine list to go with a wide variety of food.

My take:  If you're going to the tower, head here for lunch or dinner.  Reserve in advance and in nice weather ask to be on the terrace. More on Darwin's Cafe

Solar Dos Presuntos, Lisbon, Portugal

Food: It's like the Peter Luger of seafood in Lisbon. A famous spot with super fresh and expertly prepared seafood. Get the Pulpo a Galega to start. Amazingly tender octopus...

Wine: An excellent wine list with some other European producers as well. It's on an iPad so it's easy to sort and search via region or grape. 

My take: It's a must. I've never had anything I didn't think was great here. Reserve a couple of days in advance at least. More on Solar Dos Presuntos

Tasca da Esquina, Lisbon, Portugal

Food: Creative, sorta fancy, newfangled style of petiscos. The chef's choice tasting menu is very good! (This is what Pharmacia wants to be...)

Wine: Great rotating selection by the glass.

My take: If you're in Estrella or Campo Ourique or want to adventure outside the main tourist center of Lisbon, this should be one of your dinners!

Park Bar, Lisbon, Portugal

My take: This is a bar with fab views of central Lisbon and the river on top of a parking garage on Calcada do Combro in the heart of Bairro Alto. Part of the fun is going is the surprise of its location--you enter the parking garage on the street level and take an elevator up as far as it will go. Then you walk up the ramp for one level. Cocktails, wine and beer. They also have food if you decide not to leave! Perfect sunset spot for pre-dinner drinks. More on Park Bar

Largo Restaurante, Lisbon, Portugal

Food: This is what I'd call a "power lunch" place. The setting is stunning. A former convent turned into luxurious dining spaces with giant aquariums filled with jellyfish as the artwork. The food stands up to the setting too. It's upscale Portuguese.

Wine: They have a menu for gin cocktails--so it's calling itself more of a cocktail joint but has a nice wine list of all the right regions and good producers.

My take: It's one of the trendy, more expensive spots. You can get a great deal on the lunch menu so that's when I prefer to go. More on Largo

Noobai Cafe, Lisbon, Portugal

My take: This is one of my coffee/light breakfast go-tos. A beautiful spot on the Santa Catarina Miradouro (belvedere) to sit in the morning light and enjoy the view with toast and coffee. It is also a good spot for a sunset drink or a nightcap! More on Noobai

Alexandre Silva, Lisbon, Portugal (Mercado da Ribeira)

My take: One of my go-tos when I'm in the market for lunch. Fresh and satisfying tour of Portuguese food. More on Mercado da Ribeira