Urban & international eating and drinking
Food is an important part of traveling.
So all the Portuguese tascas, Marisqueiras & Cervejarias, Pastelarias and cafés that surround us were an important part of our decision to start-up in Graça. Especially since some of them are among the best in Lisbon. We have no ambitions of making the best hotel in Lisbon, but the least we can do is to make it in the best location 🙂
What we didn’t know back then, was that Graça also would turn into one of the most interesting parts of town when it comes to what we call Urban Style Hang Outs: Eateries that try to widen, inspire and challenge the local kitchen with their non traditional gastronomic ideas, visions and/or interpretations of Portuguese classics. Most of them in settings where people can working with their computer, have meetings, read or just chat with friend.
With the fusion-fast-food market on Martin Moniz, all the African, Asian and Indian kitchens from Portugal’s colonial past scattered around Intendente and lots of small vegan/vegetarian & new age joints in the residential neighborhood towards Alameda – all 3 areas less than 10 minutes away – Graça has become the perfect location for all kinds of food travelers.
We expected Graça to become the new happening place
But we didn’t expect it to happen so fast. So we were a bit surprised to see our hood featured in last weeks issue of Time Out with a super cover of some of the interesting places in Graça – not only places to eat. Also our art hubs, music venues, culture communities and some of our speciality shops.
Last year we featured about the 12 pastelarias we have on Largo + Rua Da Graça’s 400 meter. It took us a week to check out and write 🙂
We used the Graça story in Time Out a week ago to check out the new more urban places in our hood. Non of them are difficult to find – but sometimes you just have to leave the main road.
Check them out here:
Tonkatsu, Takoyaki, Miso, Beijing, Provence, Portugal…. these are names of some of our personal favorites: All sandwiches and burgers from Cozinha Urbana’s small, but super interesting menu. The other day Thomas had a super Pad Thai.
Sara opened her small funky joint a year after we moved to Graça. Thomas found it while it was under construction on his way to his morning swim in Mercado Arroios.
His first thought was: What a strange location.
After his and Annette’s first visit he found out that it was exactly what they have been looking for: Japan, China, Southern Europe in something that could have been an old beauty parlor in a residential area.
After their second visit they noticed the art and especially the music and got addicted.
In Cozinha Urbana you will find a great mix between Portuguese and Asian flavors, that goes along really well with a view to Lisbon and São Jorge’s Castle.
Sara welcomes you with a smile.
Next to Sara we have another super inspiring woman.
Li welcomes you in her garage in the Art Community HANGAR she has turned into a super funky cafe, working space or relaxed urban meeting hub.
The minimalist interior with white benches and white common tables is softened up with a lot of plants scattered around the room, super music in the speakers, artistic vibes coming from the art space just behind the ‘temporary’ wall and most important a Li’s super colorful dishes.
Each day you will be surprised with the contents of your lunch bowl, as Li changes her menu accordingly to the fresh products available. One thing you can be sure of: it will always be amazingly tasty and healthy. You’ll also have the choice between fish, meat or vegetarian lunch.
And don’t be surprised to find a stranger in Li’s small kitchen. She does food happenings – like the other day when Li had invited Pooneh from Iran to make the dinner menu.
Hi Thomas & and Annette. Thank you so much for your feed back. We were all very happy with our Lisbon trip. And we all agree in one thing: DAMAS is one of the best places we visited.
DAMAS is one of those places that is great for any occasion. Like the dinner we organized for 15 university students from Copenhagen who asked us where to go. Like us – they loved the place and their food.
You can have a tasty meal for lunch (if it’s weekend), have a beer in the afternoon with friends, or drink a cocktail on the dance floor at late hours.
At the time of writing DAMAS is the best night life venue in Lisbon with inspiring – sometimes challenging – life concerts with local and international acts and always the best DJ’s in town – for free.
The decor is so cool that even the art in the bathroom walls deserves attention. Despite that, you will always find a huge crowd outside, because a big part of the nightlife in Lisbon is just basically hanging out in the streets and chatting with everybody with a beer on your hands.
Gira-Discos is a very cozy spot with nice food, drinks and art. On summer days its glass doors are wide open into the cozy lane Traversa do Monte where it is located.
Besides good food they have small, intimate concerts, poetry readings and open rehearsals.
But even when there are no events, you’ll be easily tempted to stay and read a book on the couch or work on your computer.
All us locals love to sit in the late afternoon with a cup of coffee, a beer or a glass of wine when the last rays of the sun finds its way to the ally and talk about travels with Rui the owner.
At the time of writing, Estaminé tops the list of the 3,700 restaurants in Lisbon.
“Art, food and drinks” is how this spot is presented. The owners will host you as if you were having dinner at their house, which could almost be true, as the place is really small with only 8 seats (you might want to book a seat in advance!)
Very cozy, with great pottery pieces, postcards and art everywhere.
Try one of their famous mojitos on your way back from the Miradouro da Nossa Senhora do Monte, it’s very close by.
Don’t try to use the outdoor table – its only for us locals who pass by for a coffee and a chat with Louis and Joyce. Estamine is too small for us to stay inside when they have guests.
Café do Monte
When you enter Café do Monte, you feel like you could be entering the living room of a friend. That was the feeling we got when we had our first coffee after walking around Graça & Penha de Franca for hours searching for hours.
There are vintage furniture all around, posters on the walls, books, and lots of games to entertain kids. The food is simple & tasty with very affordable prices – be careful with the cheeses and homemade cakes. They are addictive.
Both locals and travelers find it to be one of the key spots in Graça.
And so do we. The homely feel mixed with an international travelling atmosphere is exactly what we like. So we decided that Rua da Senhora do Monte was the street where we wanted to open a hotel. For the last 3 years it has been our co-working space.
Le Bar à Crepes
A new kid in town.
This place belongs to a french couple with Portuguese ties. They are bringing the best of the French creperie to Graça.
It offers a selection of salty and sweet crepes with great names like Monica Belucci or Marion Cotillard (Thomas’ favorite is the extravagant Gérard Depardieu)
Also, you might end up making your own crepe, which will certainly be fun.
After the renovation of Largo and Rua da Graça all restaurants have outside tables – this one is one of our favorites.
Graça 77 is the vegetarian spot in Graça just next to Botequim.
Designed and decorated by António the owner who has created the tables from old doors and used renovated old chairs he has found in the street to create a personal atmosphere inside the restaurant.
Here you can find two new dishes everyday, made from the freshly bought ingredients in the market.
Still no outdoor seats – but António is working on that…
From the same lovely owner of A Li, this is the place to go to in the afternoons and to stay for a drink after dinner.
The kitchen is small – but don’t let that frighten you. The tapas style dishes are super with focus on quality! The bean humus, the ceviche and all the salads are our favorites.
When seen from the outside it may seem quite small, but you’ll soon find out that they have a beautiful vintage style basement with lots of different chairs, couches and even a piano.
Their cocktails are as good as their tasty dishes and go perfectly well with the movie nights and DJ Sets.
Hidden on the small oasis Parc Jadim Augusto Gil between Graça Miradoure and Largo do Graça you find Botequim in the beautiful Villa Sousa – just left to our Nepalese friend Jeevan’s small grocery.
Botequim carries an important heritage. Opened by poet Natália Correia in 1968 it became one of the most relevant places for locals, artists and intellectuals in Lisbon who shared their ideas and big thoughts.
After Natália died, the restaurant was closed for more than 15 years. It is now back to a new life, but it intends to stay faithful to its roots. You’ll find books all around, now and then an acoustic concert and sometimes even a theatre play. You can still feel the history in the air and yet it has a more urban and international atmosphere than most other places in town.
Botequim has a diverse menu with very nice prices and tasty food. A true gem!
The other day we just saw a very ‘new’ interesting cafe. And again one that’s hidden away from the busy and sometimes crowded main road.
For the last two years Maria Limão has been our neighbor in their food truck in Miradouro da Senhora do Monte, but now they opened the cafe as well in Rua da Verónica.
Maria Limão has a passion for lemons, organic food, and Portuguese traditional deserts. Can you think of a better combination?
The menu is full of good things, like lemonades, hot chocolate, tea, crepes, poffertjes and brunches. Everything made with love!
Café Calçada Bistro
Nestled on a small street in the historic Graça area of Lisbon, with a south-facing terrace and overlooking one of the best views in town, friendly Café Calçada is the perfect sunny place to relax and enjoy life going by.
The menu offers simple delicious snacks, some amazing vegan dishes and a selection of drinks, including caipirinhas and sangrias. Their Ceasar Salad is a welcoming alternative when the traditional Portugues kitchen gets too heavy.
This place has a great view of Lisbon and the Castle from the cozy, colorful terrace. The parked cars that surrounds the terrace may annoy the owners. But honestly it adds an urban feel to the sometimes too picturesque settings you find every where in Lisbon.
With Cozinha Urbana, Hangar, and A LI further down the road Rua Damasceno Monteiro has potential to becoming something very interesting…
The team is also really nice and will be very efficient with anything you need.
The exception that proves the rule. This is not a place to eat.
It’s a bar an arty gallery, a creative hub… you name it.
We list it because we know that we have a lot of friends and fellow travelers who sometimes need a place to go after dinner – but not necessarily a club. Then this joint may be an option.
It’s also the most underground place on this list so you probably won’t find it in any travel guide checklist. They always have exhibitions going on and a concert or a DJ set to liven up your weekends.