Bar do Peixe/Praia do Meco, Alfarim (Lisbon Area), Portugal

Food: Insanely fresh fish and seafood in a trendy setting on the beach with magnificent views. Reservations are essential. Ask to be seated on the deck. You can go inside to inspect the fish/seafood on ice and select what you would like. The offerings vary based on what was recently caught.

Wine: A short, great list with many of the best and most famous producers in the Alentejo and Lisbon area (closest wine regions). There are also a few options from Vinho Verde/Minho that are all good. Since this is a beach party place too, they have a plentiful spirits and cocktails selection. 

My take: One of my favorite places in the world. After a short 45 minute drive from Lisbon (by crossing the Ponte 25 de Abril bridge!), you get to have a fabulous lunch of local seafood and delicious drink while admiring the beach and the beautiful people. Then make a buzzed barefoot hike up the huge sand dune to marvel at the panoramic vista over this stretch of the Atlantic coast. Then run-glide back down the dune in the pillowy sunken footsteps made by those who have done the same before you. Then take a nap or read a book on the beach and end with a dip in the cool ocean (with strong waves so be cautious). More on Bar do Peixe (FB says it is closed - it is not. Party central since '92).

Restaurante da Adraga, Sintra, Lisbon, Portugal

Food: The finest, freshest fish and seafood in a stunning setting right on the beach! You can choose your very own whole fish (and know deep in your food soul it is the freshest possible) for them to grill up for you. Great options are "robalo grelhado" (grilled sea bass) or "dorada grelhado" (grilled sea bream) Try the "sopa de peixe" (fish soup) to start. It is amazing. Or the peel and eat "camarao" (shrimp). Fish is served with steamed potatoes and a really nice green salad with tomatoes, onions, and roasted green peppers in a simple vinaigrette. The "merengue de morango" (meringue with strawberries) is a fab dessert. 

Wine: Excellent list of whites and reds that highlight some of the best producers from regions across Portugal.  Douro, Dao, Verde/Minho, Alentejo and Lisbon area are all well-represented. 

My take: Highest recommendation! This is one of my favorite places in the world! Family-owned for 4 generations with service like you are family too. To go for lunch and then nap on the beach "Praia da Adraga" afterward is an unforgettable experience. Be sure to reserve and ask for a seat near the window ("janela") to eat incredible grilled fish, sip crisp white wine and stare at the waves and people posing for photos in this magical, remote-feeling setting (but only one-hour drive from Lisbon with the last half on beautiful roads). More on Restaurante da Adraga

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.

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!

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

Pharmacia, Lisbon, Portugal

Food: A satisfying, modernized take on classic Portuguese food inside the Pharmacy school. 

Wine: Thoughtful, short list of fine producers. Some international producers available too.

My take: Of the trendy places in Lisbon, this is one of my faves because of the fun setting. And the outdoor area (with great views on the Tejo and Jesus) is nice for a pre-dinner beverage. Try the tasting menu. You will not leave hungry (well, you won't leave hungry anywhere in Portugal!). More on Pharmacia

Tartar-ia, Lisbon, Portugal

Food: Delicious, very fresh fish, beef and veggies creatively prepared tartar-style. 

Wine: Good small rotating selection by the glass. They usually have Soalheiro, my favorite alvarinho producer!

My take: A top pick in Lisbon. You gotta go. I crave it. (Especially if you need a break from the typical, hearty Portuguese cuisine). More on Tartaria.