Cheap restaurants in Lisbon
Thus 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.
Toma 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.
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).
If 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.
In 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.
At 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.
The 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.