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

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.

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

Castas e Pratos, Peso da Regua, Douro Valley, Portugal

Food: Very tasty food! Definitely a resto created for all the wine tourism in the area.

Wine: A super list of Douro producers with a by the glass selection to make you smile.

My take: A fancier option in a cool locale (2nd floor of an old warehouse right near the train station) with good food and a great wine selection! I really liked it. More on Castas e Pratos

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