Breakfast pastries, affordable lunch deals and a round of petiscos for dinner, Lisbon was made for eating out. Even on the tourist trail, Lisbon hides many affordable eats. Sometimes it’s a family-run restaurant serving large food portions, other times it’s a small café specialized in a single sandwich or a delicious pastry. Eating out in Lisbon is affordable if you know where to look. From breakfast to dinner, here’s how to save your budget on your next trip to Portugal.
Affordable Breakfast in Lisbon
Walk into any pastelaria (pastry shop) in Lisbon, and you’ll find an affordable breakfast option. These local cafés specialize in sweets, but most of them will also have some savory treats on offer.
The most popular sweet in Lisbon is the pastel de nata, a delicious tart made with egg yolks and flaky pastry dough. You’ll find the best ones at Antiga Confeitaria de Belém, but you can sample them all over the city. Manteigaria and Aloma are some of our favorite spots.
If you don’t fancy sweets in the morning, that’s okay you can order torradas (butter toast) or a tosta mista (ham & cheese toast) instead.
No breakfast would be complete without coffee. In Portugal, there are several ways of ordering coffee, so start taking notes. For a small espresso, ask for a café or bica. If you like coffee with milk, get a meia de leite (half milk, half coffee) or a galão, which has a bit more milk. What about a plain black coffee? That’s the abatanado. The list is endless, but at least you’ve got the basics covered.
Brunch is still a novelty in Lisbon, but it’s quickly taking over. While there are some pricey options out there, you can get a good brunch for €10 or less. Check out the breakfast menu from Tease or Copenhagen Coffee Lab. They both have several locations across the city so you can choose the one that fits you best.
Affordable Lunch in Lisbon
If you want an affordable lunch in Lisbon, look for the prato do dia (dish of the day) at a local tasca. Tascas are small family-run restaurants specialized in Portuguese cuisine. They tend not to take reservations, but the service is fast so you won’t have to wait too long for a table.
The daily specials are usually scribbled on a blackboard or taped to the window, so you can decide whether you want to go in or not. If you see too many signs outside saying “traditional” or “typical”, it’s probably a tourist trap.
These tascas in Lisbon are delicious and affordable: O Maravilhas, Zé dos Cornos and Zé da Mouraria. This last one is famous for its large food portions, so order one dish to share among two or three people.
If you don’t want to waste time at a restaurant or really want to save those euros, you can try one of Lisbon’s traditional sandwiches instead. There’s the prego, a delicious beef sandwich topped with mustard, and the bifana a pork sandwich usually served with lots of garlic. Most local cafés will serve these sandwiches for around €3. We recommend the pregos from Rui dos Pregos and the bifanas from Beira Gare.
Affordable Dinner in Lisbon
At dinner time, locals turn to petiscos. These small dishes are the perfect way to sample Portuguese cuisine without breaking the bank.
The key is to order a few dishes to share. Some of their most popular dishes include the Salada de Polvo (octopus salad), Amêijoas à Bulhão Pato (clams seasoned with garlic, coriander and olive oil) and pica-pau (little meat chunks marinated in garlic). Vegetarians can also join in with the Peixinhos da Horta, deep-fried green beans.
Late at night, you can head to A Merendeira. This place is open until 6 a.m., and it’s famous for its pão com chouriço (chorizo bread) and caldo verde, a typical kale soup. When the clubs close in Lisbon, this is where locals go to eat!
Affordable Restaurants in Lisbon
Prefer a local, affordable restaurant in Lisbon? Below are a few restaurant recommendations:
- Zé da Mouraria 2 – One dish here feeds two or three, so order to share!
- Atalho Real – If you like meat, this is the place for you. Choose your favorite cut and enjoy.
- Baía do Peixe – Located in the seaside town of Cascais, this is a good option for an affordable seafood meal.
Note: If you’re in a big group you might need to book a table in advance, but don’t worry, most people speak English so you won’t have any trouble calling the restaurants.
Joana is a Portuguese travel writer from Lisbon. She writes about the hidden gems of Portugal, fun road trips and train rides worth taking. When she’s not typing away on her laptop, you can find her drinking an IPA at the nearest craft beer bar.