Cheap restaurants in Lisbon

1 Primo Basílico
Primo BasílicoPrimo Basílico, located in the Alfama's central streets (nearby to the Fado Museum), is a small restaurant focusing on pizza al taglio alla romana. This means that here the pizzas are sold sliced ​​in square pieces, just to eat there or to takeaway. Founded in August 2011, by Massimo and Stefano (two young guys from Turim), the house's secret is in the pizza's special dough, which is matured for two to three days. As its fame spread quickly, most diners commonly come from the Italian community residing in the city, making it a little piece of Italy at the centre of Lisbon.   Primo BasílicoAt Primo Basílico the pizzas are made in large trays and according to Italian tradition, thus here are prohibited exotic varieties with chicken, pineapple or banana. At this restaurant are available pizzas with smoked ham and courgettes, with Italian salami and ham, with diverse cheeses and the pizza margherita. All of them sold in menus that include a slice (heated at the moment) and a drink. There are also desserts like chocolate calzone and red fruits crostata. The coffee, also Italian, deserves a special mention. This restaurant is closed on Sundays and Mondays for lunch. On Saturdays it is open from noon until midnight. Take note because it does not accept debit or credit cards.
2 Cantina Baldracca
Cantina BaldraccaCantina Baldracca is the Italian restaurant with the lowest prices in Lisbon. Situated near Largo do Caldas, it does not have an easy access - and even less so if you want to park your car nearby. Thus, the best way to reach it is by foot. In a relatively small room, tables and chairs are distributed to make good use of the available area. Cantina Baldracca has a simple and familiar ambience, running in a half-light that gives it a warm and unpretentious look. Cantina Baldracca is closed on Saturdays' lunches and the whole day on Sundays Cantina BaldraccaCantina Baldracca is what it is, an Italian restaurant with fast and cheap food and without any major complications. This is so, that you can adjust the offer to your taste: besides a wide variety of farfalle, spaghetti, penne, pasta and steaks, you can always add or remov what you want from a course. With a mostly young clientele, it is usually full with group dinners, which makes the place a bit noisy. But if you are looking for a quick and economic, don't feel intimidated and stay for a while. Pizzas Baldracca is a pizzeria by the same owners, located in the old São Jorge theatre at Avenida da Liberdade.
3 Esquina da Fé
Restaurante Esquina da FéEsquina da Fé is a good restaurant for the lovers of genuine Portuguese cuisine. In a quiet street, perpendicular to the rua de São José, you’ll find this two-room restaurant offering cheap home-style food with Minho (the northern part of Portugal) influences. Esquina da Fé is a traditional Lisbon’s restaurant, typically decorated and with a very informal ambience. The lower prices and its simplicity make it a particularly attractive place for groups. Boiled, baked and grilled dishes dominate the menu, but the best sellers are the various cod dishes and pork tender loin. Worthy of recommendation are the steak stuffed in a Chaves style (with cheese and ham) and, as starters, the meat croquettes, which some people ensure are some of the best in Lisbon. FormigosThe house wine, served in handmade pottery jars, is of good quality. But the wine list is rich in different demarcated production regions. For dessert, pay attention to the homemade chocolate mousse, the arroz doce (a rice pudding topped with cinnamon) and the encharcada (a bread and eggs pudding). During autumn and winter, you can also taste a dessert called formigos, a traditional Christmas sweet from the North of Portugal, made with eggs and almonds. The service is friendly and fun: it is not hard to get in this restaurant almost by accident and get out as a friend of the house. To digest your meal, enjoy the shop fronts at the cosmopolitan avenida da Liberdade, which is just a few steps from Esquina da Fé.
4 Pizzas Baldracca
Cinema São JorgeLocated in the historical and central São Jorge theatre, Pizzas Baldracca is the second restaurant in the same chain as Cantina Baldracca, a popular Italian restaurant that gained fame through a combination of the quality of the food it serves with affordable prices. The Baldracca pizzeria opened in early November 2011, serving lunches and also dinners (except on days when private events are held on site). Located on the first floor of an old theatre, it used its foyer to install a dozen tables, where only pizzas are offered. There are 22 different varieties and each one was named after an Italian film.

Pizzas BaldraccaThus you will find pizzas with names like "Life is Beautiful" (tomato and mozzarella), "Cinema Paradiso" (tomato, mozzarella, mushrooms and arugula) and "Il Gato Pardo" (tomato base, ham, mushrooms and mozzarella). The twenty-second pizza, called "The Tiger and the Snow" is the restaurant's star and is an unlikely combination of capers, cream cheese, lemon and salmon. The great coffee served at the meal's end is also worth a mention. On hot days, one can still benefit from the theatre's exterior balcony. The Pizzas Baldracca restaurant is closed on Sundays and to contact it, you should use the Cantina Baldracca's phone number (​918 751 784). However, they do not accept table reservations.

5 MEZZOgiorno
MEZZOgiornoThe MEZZOgiorno (a word that indicates the region of southern Italy) pizzeria was founded in 2004 by two Italians, who more recently added to it the InterMEZZO, a cocktail bar. The cuisine is Italian, with a Neapolitan identity, which is evident in the fresh mozzarella (imported weekly from Italy) and other southern Italy's typical products. It is, however, in the middle of Chiado that all this happens, in a Siza Vieira's (a famous Portuguese architect) redesigned interior courtyard. The variety of pizzas, cooked according to tradition in a wood-heated oven, is ample and the available options try to satisfy all the tastes. You can also design a pizza to your liking, using the available ingredients with versatility. MEZZOgiornoIn addition to pizzas, noteworthy are the sausage Cilento style and a wide variety of pastas, always including a dish of the day. One of the great MEZZOgiorno's attractions is its huge terrace, sheltered by the buildings that surround it. This space hosts many people and during summer it is usual to have to wait a few minutes for an empty table, because the demand is great. Inside, you can choose to sit next to the wood ovens located in the basement, a nice option especially on cold winter days, which also allows you to get distracted by the pizzaiolos' bustle in the kitchen. Pizzeria MEZZOgiorno reserves one of its rooms for smokers and it is closed on Sundays.
6 Cabaças
Restaurante CabaçasCabaças is definitely a special place. It looks shady, no reservations are accepted and there’s barely a menu, but the lines growing at its door say that this is the place to be. In the middle of all the fuss in Bairro Alto, there lies Cabaças, a popular place among the hungry ones looking for something to nibble throughout the night. The result is one of the most dense melting pots in Lisbon, with half a dozen different languages being spoken in the room of the restaurant. Cabaças is closed on Mondays and does not accept debit or credit cards. Restaurante Cabaças - Naco na PedraHere there are no complicated menus, this is a simple restaurant. The house specialty, served at almost every table, is naco na pedra (loaf in stone), a piece of raw meat that comes to the table with a flat hot stone to grill the meat on the spot. You know what to do next: prepare your own meat, avoid burning it, ask for more sangria and start talking with the people on the table next to you. There are also other dishes, all related to Lisbon's popular gastronomy, such as octopus rice or picanha steak.
7 Antigo 1º de Maio
Antigo 1º de MaioAntigo 1º de Maio is a Bairro Alto classic and absolutely mandatory for the ones seeking for true portuguese food. Once you walk through its little green door in Rua da Atalaia, you’re offered homemade cooked food, served in great quantity. The environment in Antigo 1º de Maio’s rooms is cosy and the decoration is simple, consisting of tiles and old wooden tables with white towels. The seats are limited, so early dinner's booking is advised. Antigo 1º de Maio closes on Sunday and for lunch on Saturday. Antigo 1º de MaioIn Antigo 1º de Maio, courses are mainly Portuguese tradicional cuisine and can be chosen according to the daily specials. For appetizer, peixinhos da horta (vegetarian fried cake), asparagus with ham and clams à Bulhão Pato are recommended, whereas for the fish, dory fillets with açorda (mashed bread with garlic) and fried octopus with rice are highlights. Meat fans must try black Iberian pig feijoada (bean stew), grilled pork secretos (a succulent part of the loin) and steak with pepper. The treatment matches with the food: always nice and helpful.
8 Toma Lá Dá Cá
Restaurante Toma Lá Dá CáThe Toma Lá Dá Cá restaurant offers a Portuguese cuisine, with homemade flavours and at very reasonable prices. This advantage makes it very sought after, requiring a few minutes waiting time to get a table. And as the dining room's capacity is 40 places, at Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays dinners, the chairs barely have time to cool down. During the days of Lisbon's festivals, in June, the entire surrounding area lights up with the typical festivals and then the patron's rotation reaches a chaos apotheosis. The trick is to get there as soon as possible, especially for dinner, because this restaurant does not accept reservations.

Restaurante Toma Lá Dá CáToma Lá Dá Cá is located in the Bica's neighbourhood and it is settled on the ground floor of an ancient building, which was recently restored. The decor is simple and a cobblestone floor stands out. The atmosphere is very informal, being one of the restaurants chosen by young people who, after dinner, head for Bairro Alto's nightlife. The kitchen is typically Portuguese and always has good fresh fish and succulent veal coming from the mountains of Marão (at the Northern part of Portugal), this being one of their specialties. Desserts also emanate from the traditional Portuguese cuisine. The service is friendly but sometimes it is temperamental, especially when customers bring their demands beyond the response abilities of this small, but friendly restaurant. Toma Lá Dá Cá is closed on Sundays.

9 Dervixe
Restaurante DervixeThe taste of Turkey arrived in Lisbon in April 2011 through the restaurant Dervixe, located on avenida 24 de Julho. Derviches are the traditional whirling dancers, members of the Sufis religious confraternity. Murat Taspinar, born in Ankara, moved to Portugal in 2007. With commitment and entrepreneurship, he opened his own Turkish restaurant. Employees are also Turkish and they recreate an ambience very close to the original. Dervixe consists in two floors and a terrace and its decoration transmits the typical ambience of its homeland. During the week, it has a daily menu (including a starter, a main dish and a drink) at a more affordable price. At the weekend it works with a fixed menu. Restaurante DervixeBeing a Muslim restaurant, it serves only halal meat, which follows the Islamic precepts. Here they do not sell alcohol beverages, but guests can bring their own wine bottles to accompany theirs meals. The Dervixe's specialties are Sigara Borek (feta cheese puffs), the Iskender kebab (meat on skewers in a Turkish bread with special sauce, rice and yogurt sauce), kofte meatballs and baklava for dessert. There is also a brunch style breakfast. The apple tea and Turkish coffee are a great closing for this dining experience. Take the opportunity to experience the narguilé, the traditional water pipe with varied flavours including banana, coconut and strawberry. This Turkish restaurant is closed on Mondays.
10 H3
Hamburguer H3

H3 is a Portuguese fast food chain, which reinvented the gourmet hamburgers concept. The owners decided to invest in a kitchen that stands exactly between fast food and gourmet, introducing the not so fast food idea. At the heart of Chiado, this is one of theirs most iconic stores, but H3 has dozens of restaurants scattered in Lisbon and even in other parts of Portugal, Brazil, Spain and Poland. As a fast food restaurant, H3 offers an experience of quick service, limited to pre-defined menus at affordable prices. But their hamburgers are really good, with fresh meat and served with Thai rice and crispy fries. You can select the simplest variety (just a grilled hamburger) or menus with sauce, mushrooms, cheese, tuga (with Portuguese sauce and a fried egg), benedict (with hollandaise sauce, poached egg and spinaches) or in a special bread (a foccacia).

Loja H3If you are not into hamburgers, try the alternative dish, alheira (a bread and garlic sausage) croquettes. As extras, you can order salad with vinaigrette sauce or spinach esparregado (purée). The menus include one drink and you can choose lemonade (made with real lemons), iced tea, sodas or water. For dessert, choose between a chocolate’s coulant with ice cream or profiteroles powdered with sugar. If you prefer ice cream, you have at your disposal the Everydae. This Chiado’s H3 is open until 2 am on Thursdays to Saturdays. In the other H3 restaurants, schedules may vary according to their location.

In Lisbon, it is easy to get a meal for less than 10 euros. Throughout the city there are many restaurants serving cheap dishes and even when adding a drink and a coffee is it possible to eat below the 10-euro barrier. To find them, look carefully at the menus posted outside the restaurants’ doors (especially those of humbler facades), which will list the available dishes (usually traditional family-style Portuguese food) and their prices. In many cases, restaurants offer meias doses (half-portions), a bit smaller portions than the regular dishes, but costing between four and five euros. Beyond these generic offers, some restaurants specialize in one type of food, keeping the prices low and getting themselves popular among the locals.

Restaurantes em LisboaIn the 15 euros per meal tier there are some restaurants worth mentioning. The MEZZOgiorno pizzeria is located at the heart of Chiado and offers pizza and a terrace recommended for sunny days; Restaurant Esquina da Fé, a nice spot situated in a parallel street to Avenida da Liberdade, suggests their famous croquettes and traditional Portuguese dishes; The Baldracca Cantina, which is on the way up to the Castelo de São Jorge, in the Mouraria neighbourhood, offers a family-based and inexpensive Italian cuisine; It has a newer sister-restaurant, the Pizzas Baldracca, which is settled in the old São Jorge theater foyer (at the first floor); In the Bica area, very close to Bairro Alto, is located the Toma Lá Dá Cá restaurant, with a typical Lisbon’s menu at affordable prices and always full of youngsters.

Restaurantes no Bairro AltoAt the Bairro Alto’s centre is located the Antigo 1º de Maio, a classic cuisine of this area’s regulars, that also bets on traditional dishes, but where you have to choose carefully if you are on a low budget. In the same style and almost next door, is situated the truly Portuguese restaurant Cabaças, where it reins the steak on the stone, a piece of raw meat that is cooked at the table, on top of a hot stone. For those who really like pizza, one should try Primo Basílico, a small and cozy restaurant in Alfama created by two young Italians, who sell them sliced in menus cheaper than five euros.

Restaurante DervixeThe Dervixe Turkish restaurant is a more exotic, but also an economic choice. Located on avenida 24 de julho, it is recommended for large group meals, when diners want to pay little more than 10 euros per person. And after this, in a paradoxical fast-food and gourmet concept, there is the restaurant chain H3, scattered throughout the city and where you can eat fresh meat burgers served with Thai rice and crispy fries. It is an ideal spot for those in a hurry and who do not want to spend much money.

Other articles about dining in Lisbon:

• Cafes and terraces

• Bairro Alto’s best restaurants

The taverns guide to Lisbon

• Gourmet Restaurants

• Flavours of Lisbon

• Restaurants guide