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. 

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

Fabulas, Lisbon, Portugal

Food: Fresh, trendy take on Portuguese classics in a pretty, fully covered courtyard (shared with two other restaurants--but separate).  Just through a large door off of the busy Rua Garrett.  

Wine: Small, focused list of good wine producers.

My take: One of those places that's great for lunch with a friend but also for a date!  Recommended! More on Fabulas

Casa Matreno, Tomar, Portugal

Food: Taberna menu with several fresh, simple and very good staples, plus daily specials. I love it every time.

Wine: Try the house wines, which are local from near Tomar. Plus beer on tap. 

My take: Highly recommended. Go to Tomar. It was wonderful. The magnificent Convento do Cristo 12th C Knights Templar/Order of Christ fortress there blew my mind. Casa Matreno and Casa das Ratas are the same owner/kitchen and just across the street from one another. The sidewalk seating is lovely. More on Casa Matreno. More on Convento do Cristo.

L'AND VINEYARDS, Montemor-O-Novo, Alentejo

Food: It has 1 Michelin star. Meals are a tasting menu format. It is a modern take on traditional Alentejo/Portuguese cooking. There's a pretty, sleek patio where you can have coffee or a drink after dinner.

Wine: They have a small-ish but interesting list and have 3 whites and 3 reds by the glass, each from a different region. They also pour their nice L'AND red, which is Touriga Nacional, Alicante Bouschet and Touriga Franca.

My take: It's a gorgeous property and a fun, fancy experience. If you're visiting the Èvora area of the Alentejo and want to do the Michelin thing for a night (or lunch), go for it. More on L'AND.