We are not the best hotel in Lisbon. Graca’s food, life & art are

The best thing about Tings (our hotel in Lisbon) is the location.

Based on our vast travel experience we have an almost bullet proof definition for the best hotel location to stay for travelers like us: We want to stay in walking distance from down town in a neighbourhood with a local life.

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The idea behind this location definition is simple.

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.

That’s exactly the kind of neighbourhood Graça in Lisbon 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 known 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 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 that it would happen so 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 – age’ism doesn’t exist.

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

One restaurant & club is not enough to make a location relevant to us.

Damas is fantastic! But so are all the other still 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 and the best and most exiting burgers in town (Sarah the manager, cook, waitress, owner grew up in Macau) 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.

We’re neither vegans nor vegetarians – but we eat it a lot. And without planning it almost half of our dishes on our Tings Kathmandu Menu are vegan dishes… Most die-hard veggies have a hard time in Portugal – especially if they are looking for finer dining. With two super vegetarian restaurant within 10 minutes walk from Tings Lisbon Graça also here stands out. Santa Clara dos Congumelos on Mercado de Santa Clara‘s cozy attic is our favorite party restaurant that have mushrooms in all their dishes (they have a few meat dishes). Os Gazeteiros is not only a veggie restaurant – it is an organic veggie restaurant. All our friends is raving about this hidden gem – several reviewers praise it higher than the Michelin restaurants tha have eaten at (NOTE: If you are a bee drinker you must bring them yourself). 

Even us football illiterates have a place to hang out – the dedicated A Mourisca is the place to be if you want to experience Benfica vs Sporting without taking a several day course in the most basic soccer rules.

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Thomas loves hanging in the bar chatting football with the crowd and getting instructions about what to sing when, how long and how loud…

What most people don’t know is that Graça has some of the best local food in Lisbon.

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Earlier this year CNN discovers 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.

Street Art meets Literature in Graca

Literature & street art join forces in this 20 min guided introduction tour to Graca. Read abut it 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 Graça 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. (Rumor says that the old Monastery on Largo da Graça will become either a 5 star hotel or Luxury condominiums)

It has the best from Estrela, Campo D’Orique and Principe Real more authentic and less pretentious – 5 minutes from 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