Graça is the best part of Lisbon for a hotel like Tings

The location means a lot when we choose a hotel. Tings Lisbon has the best.

Based on our vast travel experience we have an almost bullet proof definition of the perfect location for a hotel for travelers like us: We want to stay in walking distance from down town in a neighbourhood with a local life. And location is one of the most important elements for Tings Lisbon.

damas_graca_lisbon_clown

The idea behind this  is obvious.

First: You don’t want to be in the hectic, all night noisy part of town.

Second: You don’t want to be too far away from the more touristic part of town with all the shops, cafes, restaurants etc.

Third: After a long day sightseeing or sunbathing at the beach you return to your hotel to relax for a few hours. Sometimes you don’t feel like going down town afterwards. You just want to go to a restaurant, bar, club etc close by, yet still feeling the vibe of the city .

 

That’s exactly the kind of neighbourhood Graça is.

If you feel like it, you can reach Baixa, Bairo Alto, Principe Real, Bica etc in 15 min walk. Intendente & Martim Moniz in only 5 min.

But if you don’t have the energy, Graça is one of the best places in town – it’s actually the new happening place in Lisbon.

  

What we have know for at least 2 years is slowly finding its way to the media.

Earlier this year CNN featured one of our local gems and now Culinary Backstreet picks up as one of the most happening venues in Lisbon right now.

culinary-backstreets-logo-500x143At the end of Rua da Voz do Operário, the main road that leads up to the hilltop of the previously sleepy Graça neighborhood, is a new, hip Lisbon kitchen that is reflecting the city’s growing hunger for great food and a good time.

Damas, as the name indicates, is run by two women who have both previously worked in some of the city’s well-known food institutions, including Chapito.

The restaurant, bar and club has been popular pretty much since it launched in 2015, thanks to its combination of knowledgeable chefs, classic and not-so-classic dishes done well, and a regular music program that ranges from punk to afro-beats.

Damas: Funky Kitchen by Syma Tariq & Fransesca Savoldi in Culinary Backstreet

 


 

We knew Graça would become HIP when we moved here in 2014.

Lisbon follows the ‘pattern’ we recognize from similar cities where ‘Life’ spreads in circles from down town. Like Berlin where Mitte was the place to go just after the wall, then Prenzlaur Berg, Kreuzberg, Friedrichsheim, Neukoln etc…

The same is happening here. We just didn’t know it would happen that fast. And we didn’t know that we would get a place like Damas almost just around the corner, from the day we bought our house in Rua da Senhora do Monte. Damas is a super eatery and in our opinion the best Club in town – if you haven’t been to their Afro Baile you should hurry. Also if you – like we – are in your 50’ies – ageism doesn’t exist.
 

Need inspiration? Here are some of our picks in Graca (need more? Call us!)

 

If you need inspiration for relaxed & casual places to eat and drink here are the ones we visit frequently

One restaurant & club is not enough to make a location relevant to us. We have several in our hood.

Damas is fantastic! But we have a lot of other hidden gems in our hood.

The legendary Botaquim is still the same smokey cozy bar for bohemians and intellectuals – it’s just not a late night place anymore. But if you’re up for a night cap – and not in a dancing mood – don’t panic: O Estrela is a good option (It opened around the same time as Damas by the crowd behind Laboratorio – no website, no FB Page only real life)

If you want more casual and relaxed places to work, hold hands and/or a casual non-portuguese lunch/dinner our second home Cafe do Monte is perfect. So is Cozinha Urbana that serves Asian fusion sandwiches & vegetarian dishes (Sarah the manager, cook, waitress, owner grew up in Macau – she makes some of the best burgers in Lisbon) where you can sit outside and enjoy the last beams of the sun. Another option is Giradiscos with occasional live jazz. Or see if you can get a table at Esplanada do Largo da Graça on the most popular sunset spots in all Lisbon Miradouro da Graça.

 

If you want local food Graça has some of the best local tascas, marisqueiras and pastelarias in Lisbon.

8-centro-ideal-da-graca

Earlier this year CNN disccover this hidden gem. Centro Ideal da Graca is only 1 of Rua da Graca’s 12 pastelarias.

You can get menus in all price ranges from the legendary top end Via Graça (with one of the best views in town), over several Cervejarias & Marisqueiras to the smaller and more modest Tascas.

Check out A Murisca (especially when Benfica plays), the big local family restaurant Olha Que Dois (one of our Sunday Favorites – excellent meat), have a cake or bifana at Centro Ideal (one of the oldest Pastelaria in town), listen to some of the best Fado at A Tasca do Jaime or just find your own favorite places among the close to 50 restaurants, cafes, pastelarias, tascas, bars, cafes, snack bars or kiosks in our small, but very vibrant village.
 

The whole travelling community is raving about the Time Out Market. We find it to noisy, too smelly and too busy.

We prefer the Mercado de Campo de Oriqu –  a place we usually combine with a ride with Tram #28.

But the last year we have (mis-) used the local ‘alternative’ market – the Mercado de Fusã (or the Fusion Market) at Martim Moniz. This ‘spot’ only 10 minutes down the stairs from Tings Lisbon is a melting pot of music, world food, culture from Portugal’s colonial past, DJ’s, dancing and bohemians. A bit like the square around Centre Ponpidu in Paris in the 80s.
 

The fusion market at Martim Moniz is the most lively spots in town. the place to join all the old colonies traditions – like Chinese New Year


 
If you don’t find food you like (doubt it) don’t panic. Just take one of the street around the square, look up and then you find the best Chinese restaurants in town. And to those of who want to play the spectator go to one of the roof tops and enjoy a Gin Tonic and the view… Topo Bar is a good choice.

 

Street Art meets Literature in Graca

Literature & street art join forces in this 20 min guided introduction tour to Graca. Read about the tour and get it as a Google Map for your mobile gadget here.


 

Even Art Lovers won’t be disappointed in Graça

Just check out the gallery/cafe/residence etc Hangar, the Art space (and occasional yoga venue, DIY flea market) Charivari Lab Galeria Arte Graça or the Poetry/Street Art tour to get an 20 minute introduction to the Graca Street Art scene.

Sophia GIF

Lisbon’s most popular view point is named after Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen. Read more here.

When the renovation of Graça is finished – integration of Largo do Graça and the popular Miradouro – and the Funicular from Mouraria up to the Miradouro Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen is up and running, Graça will become a magnet. (Rumours says that the old Monastery on Largo da Graça will become either a 5 star hotel or Luxury condominiums)

Graça has the best from Estrela, Campo D’Orique and Principe Real more authentic and less pretentious – 5 minutes from the the popular Flea Market & Alfarma to the south or 5 minutes walk to the happening night life and Martim Monize & Intendente to the east and down town only 15 minutes away.

When that happens, Tings Lisbon will be up and running on the quiet Miradouro da Senhora do Monte only 2 minutes walk away from it all.

Enjoy lovely Graça,

Annette & Thomas
 

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