Where to eat in the Santos-o-Velho & Madragoa Neighborhood of Lisbon, Portugal

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Santos manages to be the hippest neighborhood in Lisbon, while still retaining its integrity. The neighborhood has simple, narrow residential streets where locals hang their laundry from their windows, grill sardines out front, and perilously drive their cars while miraculously missing those parked next to them. Unlike its louder, unruly neighbor, Bairro Alto, Santos has quiet spots where you can get away, and it boasts as the spot next to the Tagus river. The Santos neighborhood is also becoming known as the place to go to for art and design. There are architecture schools, bars, clubs, and most importantly – great restaurants.  You can find traditional places selling petiscos (what Spaniards would call tapas), as well as many modern and inventive places.  Today we’ll tell you Where to eat in the Santos-o-Velho Neighborhood of Lisbon, Portugal when you visit or are near the Museu da Marioneta, A Barraca Theater, or IADE – Creative University. These restaurants are all in a border of neighborhoods, so if you are in Lapa, Estrela, Madragoa, or Santos – you’re close by.

This is a living post and will be updated as we discover great new places in the neighborhood.

Frade dos Mares

Cheap lunch in the Santos neighborhood of Lisbon

The lunch deals at Frade dos Mares in Santos come in at around €9

We stumbled upon this restaurant on our way to Mercado da Ribeira & could not resist their lunch deals. They were offering a choice of either a Cod Fish and Spinach Risotto or a Pork Tenderloin in a mustard sauce (with fries) at 9€. Glad to say both were excellent. The portions were fair, and our server Bruno was incredible. He was friendly and was able to suggest two wines that paired perfectly with our meal. The total cost came to 40€ and that included two entrees, two glasses of wine (and a bottle to take home). We’ll be back.

Notes: Servers speak English, Great Wine List.

Frade dos Mares is located at: Av. Dom Carlos i 55A, 1200-647 Lisboa, Portugal +351 21 390 9418


Monday 12–3PM, 7:30–11PM
Tuesday 12–3PM, 7:30–11PM
Wednesday 12–3PM, 7:30–11PM
Thursday 12–3PM, 7:30–11PM
Friday 12–3PM, 7:30–11PM
Saturday 1–4PM, 7:30–11PM
Sunday 1–4PM, 7:30–11PM

Pestiscaria Ideal

Pesticaria Ideal in Santos is a good and inexpensive restaurant

Petiscaria Ideal in Lisbon is a restaurant where the quality of the food and price are spectacular

What a wonderful surprise this place was. I had walked past it a bunch of times not even noticing. Before I tell you more about it, take note. Reservations are a must. This place is packed every single night so if you don’t have reservations, you probably won’t get in. When you walk in, you will notice one large table as well as a few smaller tables. The restaurant focuses on Petiscos, Lisbon’s version of tapas or small dishes. Our server recommended that for two people, 3 should be enough (and it was). We ordered the Cold Tomato Soup with Tuna Tartare €5.80, Quails fried in special sauce €9.80 & Pork with potatoes. I am thrilled to say everything was wonderful. The quails were my favorites. The wine selection was quite good AND affordable. This is an absolute must when you are in the area.

Notes: Servers speak English, Great Wine List, Reservations Recommended

Petiscaria Ideal is located at: Rua da Esperança 100, 1200-658 Lisboa,  Portugal +351 21 397 1504


Mon-Sat: 7:30 pm – 2am

Taberna Ideal

Taberna Ideal serves classic Portuguese dishes like duck and rice

Taberna Ideal in Santos is a great spot to grab an inexpensive meal

Turns out this restaurant, the wine bar next door, and Petiscaria Ideal are all owned by the same people. Portions here are significantly bigger than those at Petiscaria Ideal. We had two Petiscos (scrambled eggs with game sausage & toast with tomato and cilantro pesto €9.80 each) and one main (duck and rice) and were full with just the petiscos. The petiscos were nice, but the duck and rice were the star of the show. The wine choices are solid and nicely priced. A meal for two with wine here will cost you around €40. 

Notes: Reservations recommended, come hungry, cash only for nonresidents.

Taberna Ideal is located at: Rua Esperança 112 1200-000 Lisbon, Portugal +351 213 962 744


Mon & Tues Closed
Wed 7pm – 2am
Thu 7pm – 2am
Fri 7pm – 2am
Sat 7pm – 2am
Sun 1:30 pm – 2am

Pratinho Feio

Pratinho Feio is a great Portuguese restaurant in the Santos Neighborhood of lisbon

The chicken dish at Pratinho Feio is superb

Can we say superb. This restaurant is unassuming. It really does not look like much. However, it is fantastic. Get there between 7-7:30 to miss the crowds of people looking to get in. A few things we loved. Our server did not try to push a more expensive bottle of wine on us. She suggested the house wine which was superb and cost just €12 per bottle. Both dishes we had were delectable. The osso bucco was tender and flavorful, and although it was delicious. The stuffed chicken dish was just outstanding. One of the best we’ve had in Lisbon. Crunchy on the outside, juicy and flavorful on the inside. This restaurant is highly recommended, so don’t miss out. The total cost of the meal including the cover (bread, cheese and olives), two main courses, and one bottle of wine was €41.

Notes: Reservations recommended, Good sized portions.

Pratinho Feio is located at Rua da Esperança 6, Lisbon, 1200-657, Portugal +351 21 397 4744


Monday 7pm–2am
Tuesday 12–3pm
Wed-Fri 12–3pm, 7pm–2am
Sat-Sun 7pm–2am

Le Chat

Le Chat Restaurant in Lisbon Portugal in the Santos neighborhood (1)

Usually places that have gorgeous views in Lisbon offer great views & cold beer. It is rare to get a place that offers a fantastic view, great beer AND wine, and has delicious food (and is not overpriced). This is Le Chat. This box of glass is located next to the Museu de Arte Antiga and has some spectacular views of the Tajo river, Cristo Rei, and the April 25 Bridge in Lisbon. It’s a perfect spot if you’re headed back from the French Embassy or the Marionette Museum too. The octopus with potatoes was cooked to perfection. The duck was beautifully medium rare, and a lunch for 5 with drinks came to just under €80.

Notes: Gorgeous view, great spot for drinks

Le Chat is Located at Jardim 9 de Abril nº18/20, 1200-736 Lisbon, Portugal +351 21 396 3668


Monday-Sat 12:30pm–2am
Sunday 12:30pm–12am


A great place to get a steak in Santos in Lisboa is Picanha

Picanha Brazilian restaurant in Lisbon’s Santos Neighborhood has really tasty steaks

I kept passing by this place and looking at their 12€ lunch special. It kept teasing me, but I could not believe that at that price so much food could be good. After all, 12€ got you a drink, soup, a protein (beef or pork or a vegetarian option), ice cream, AND coffee. Even after having been in Lisbon for 2 weeks now, I’m still skeptical at the pricing. In NYC, $12 would get you maybe an appetizer. I am pleased to say that this place is AWESOME. Got in, sat down and the entrada was put on the table. Although it looked awesome, I skipped this. I had a feeling the meal would be large. We ordered a bottle of sparkling water and two glasses of house wine. Both Antonio and I got picanha (it’s a Brazilian cut) but I got the bitoque (steak and eggs). The soups were awesome. We had the choice of getting them either hot or cold, so we got one of each. Super tasty cream of spinach – warm with potatoes – cold with mushrooms. Not a skimpy serving either. When our mains came I was thrilled not to have eaten the bread and cheese. I got a gorgeous steak (medium rare – just like I like it) with home made potato chips, salad, and a perfectly fried egg. Antonio’s steak came with salad and a baked potato with butter. Gotta tell you, that potato was off the hook delicious. I was too full for dessert, so we asked to take away our leftovers. Our server complied, so suddenly, I had lunch and dinner! Best of all, our bill came out to 28.20€. That’s two soups, two mains, three glasses of wine AND  bottle of sparkling water…all of it delicious. I’ll be back..very soon.

Notes: Awesome lunch deal, great service, takeaway

Picanha is located at R. das Janelas Verdes 96, 1200 Lisboa, Portugal +351 21 397 5401


Mon Closed
Tue-Sat 12:30–3:30PM, 8–11PM
Sun 12:30–3:30PM

O Aregos

The cheapest meal in Lisbon's Santos neighborhood is at O Aregos restaurant

Restaurante O Aregos in Lisbon’s Santos neighborhood offers inexpensively delicious food

This is a truly traditional Portuguese restaurant. It’s inexpensive, it’s not fancy, and the food is simple and delicious. If you go for lunch you can get an amazing deal (around 6€ for a main course – and not a skimpy one). If you go for dinner the options are a little more “expensive” but – seriously – this may be the best deal in the city. Our “entrada” consisted of olives (0.85€), and two pieces of delicious country bread 1€, tuna pate 0.85€ (try it if you haven’t – the stuff is delicious), and deliciously naughty processed cheese called queijo quero 0.85€. I ordered a Dorado a la Brasa. At just 8.75€ it was an entire fish, tasty potatoes, and veggies. The skin on the fish was crunchy and delicious. The fish was juicy and flavorful.  Antonio got a 1/2 rotisserie chicken – that cost us just 5.95€ – for a half chicken, for dinner!!!! It came rice and fries (not the healthiest – but whatevs). Again, perfectly crispy skin and juicy insides.  1/4 liter of house wine cost just 1.80€…yup, that’s like $2 USD. Outside of this place being super cheap, everything was so tasty.

Notes: Get there earlier than dinner or lunch. This is a local favorite, so if you show up at noon or 8pm, you probably won’t get in. Bring cash – no credit cards are accepted.

O Aregos is located at Rua da Esperanca 180, Lisboa, Portugal 213965034


Mon-Sat 12pm-11pm
Sun Closed

Quiosque São Bento

Quiosque de São Bento makes a great burger in Lisbon

The Quiosque de São Bento is a great spot to grab a casual meal in Santos

One of the greatest pleasures in Lisbon is the quiosks. The Quiosque Sao Bento is located at its namesake garden, Jardim Sao Bento and just a few steps from the Assembleia da República. It is a lovely spot, there is a gorgeous fountain, you’ll see people working on their laptops (there is free wifi), dogs running around, kids playing. It is simply a lovely spot. The kiosk serves casual food and drinks and we are happy to report they serve a great burger. For €12.50 you get a burger and two beers.

Notes: Outdoors, Casual, Uphill

Quiosque São Bento is located at: Rua das Francesinhas – Jardim Lisboa Antiga, 1200-675 Lisbon, Portugal

Getting there: Take the Electrico 28


Mon-Fri 10am – 11pm
Sat 12:30 pm – 11:30 pm
Sun 12:30 pm – 11:45 pm

Madragoa Vinhos & Petiscos

Plentiful seafood at Madragoa Vinhos & Petiscos in The Santos Neighborhood of Lisbon

Madragoa Vinhos & Petiscos in Santos serves delicious traditional Portuguese food

Another incredibly pleasant surprise. We had seen pictures online of the food and weren’t really impressed, but everyone said the food was wonderful. They were right and we were thrilled. The restaurant feels quite traditional, and while the food follows this feel, it is made with only the freshest ingredients. This reflects on the finished product. Mains cost €13.  Antonio had the burger which came on some strange Portuguese bread. That being said, he named it the best burger he has had in the city so far. I had the Sailor’s squid ink pasta with shrimp, mussels and clams. The broth was superb and as you can see the shellfish was plentiful. Our server Joao was wonderful and the owner (also named Antonio) stopped by every table to make sure his guests were doing well. This is hospitality done right.

Notes: Free fado on Thursdays, great atmosphere and service, outdoor seating available.

Madragoa Vinhos & Petiscos is located at Rua da Esperanca, 156 Lisbon, Portugal +351 214 005 447


Daily 5pm-12am (closed on Tuesdays)


This is not officially in Santos, but in Cais do Sodre. Since it is so close to the neighborhood, I had to include it in the list. It’s a food hall/farmer’s market that has something to please everyone and is worth a visit if you’re in Lisbon.

Henrique sa Pessoa at Mercado da Ribeira

A good place to eat when you are in Santos, Estrela and Lapa is Henrique sa Pessoa  at Mercado da Ribeira

Celebrity chef Henrique sa Pessoa’s restaurant at Mercado da Riberia is excellent

Mercado da Ribeira is a great choice if you are dining with a lot of people. You can eat whatever you want, although there are two drawbacks: first, it is expensive for Lisbon (still very affordable if you’re coming in from say NY or London); second, getting a seat can be challenging. I recommend that you have one person claim your table while everyone else goes to get food. Anyway, Henrique sa Pessoa is a great choice at this market even though it is officially outside of the neighborhood. The menu is a fusion of Portuguese and Asian food. During this visit, I had the salmon tataki which was delicious (€9.50), but I think next time I’ll try either the 24h confit suckling pig with sweet potato purée or the sous vide egg on truffled mashed potatoes

Notes: No reservations, communal seating.

Henrique sa Pessoa at Mercado da Ribeira is located at: Praça Dom Luís i 44, 1200-109 Lisboa, Portugal +351 21 346 1199


Sun-Wed 10AM–12AM
Thu-Sat 10AM–2AM
**Note – these are hours for Mercado da Ribeira

Chicken All Around at Mercado da Ribeira

Where to get a whole cooked chicken in Santos Lisbon

This restaurant at Mercado da Ribeira serves only chicken dishes

Portuguese celebrity chef Miguel Laffan also has a stall at the Mercado da Ribeira. This one specializes on just chicken dishes. The first time I went there I had their delicious chicken club sandwich which cost just under €6. The meat was juicy and although their bread was more of a brioche (and I prefer a more traditional “club” sandwich) the bread was nicely toasted. This sandwich is a total steal and totally delicious. I’d get it again in a heartbeat. The second time I went, I picked up a whole Tandoori chicken for takeout. It was a bit dry, but I suspect it was because I ate it at home and not in situ. So, I’ll try it again and come back with a verdict

NOTES: casual

Chicken all Around is located at Praça Dom Luís i 44, 1200-109 Lisboa, Portugal +351 21 346 1199


Sun-Wed 10AM–12AM
Thu-Sat 10AM–2AM
**Note – these are hours for Mercado da Ribeira

More information on the Santos Neighborhood here.

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Blanca Valbuena
I am one of the co-founders of FriendsEAT. Obviously, I love to eat. Other passions include A Song of Ice and Fire, Shakespeare, Dostoyevski, and Aldous Huxley.
Blanca Valbuena
Blanca Valbuena

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