Explore Portugal’s Seafood Paradise: Unveiling the Best Restaurants for Seafood Enthusiasts

By: Genevieve Mc Carthy / Last updated: April 8, 2024

Estimated reading time: 10 minutes

Portugal is justly recognized as a Mecca for lovers of great seafood, always accompanied by delicious Portuguese white wines! But, like any sensible people, the Portuguese have made full use of their best natural gastronomic resource: miles and miles of gorgeous coastline that supplies some of the freshest, most varied fish and seafood in the world. Indeed, the country’s gastronomy has long placed the utmost importance on fish dishes, as any visitor who has sampled the ubiquitous yet wonderful salt cod dish, Bacalhau, can testify. The Portuguese have been fishing for cod since the 15th century and coined the practice of preserving their catch by drying and salting the cod.

Best Restaurants for Seafood lovers in Portugal

But this is just the beginning: clams, oysters, mussels, lobster, squid, and a plethora of Atlantic fish are up for grabs.  Sitting outside on a summer evening in one of Portugal’s Marisqueiras (seafood restaurants), enjoying the grilled catch of the day and a chilled glass of vinho verde, is an exceptional experience. Often nothing more than hastily assembled beach shacks, these types of restaurants are found in abundance across the country and are in massive demand during the summer season.

Explore Portuguese White Wines: Read more

Of course, modern Portugal offers the whole gambit of seafood restaurants, everything from the aforementioned Marisqueiras to Michelin-starred venues, indoor market stalls, and lavish hotel dining venues. However, the Portuguese like to stick to their culinary traditions in terms of cooking and presentation, so don’t expect too many avant-garde interpretations of classic fish dishes. Fish is often served grilled and fried, stewed, and occasionally roasted. However, local chefs can dream up many inventive ways to prepare Bacalhau, for example, and it is said that there are more than 365 ways to cook cod, one for every day of the year! Some more unusual combinations, such as pork and clams, can also be found, but regardless of what you order, you can expect the freshest, highest-quality seafood in Europe today. In that spirit, we have prepared a guide to our favorite seafood haunts below, from chic to rustic:



Cervejaria Ramiro
A mountain of shrimp

A legend for the quality and freshness of its seafood, Ramiro has satisfied regulars and visitors since the 1950s. The secret to its success and enduring popularity is simple: an abundance of delicious, fresh seafood served at fair prices. Come here for some of Portugal’s best tiger prawns, lobster, clams, and salt cod. Service is bright and breezy, and the wine list is full of aromatic Portuguese whites. There’s nothing to dislike, although be prepared to queue at busy periods as Ramiro does not take bookings.

Cervejaria Ramiro Website: Read more


Baby eel and anchovy salad

Exquisite fish dishes, particularly shellfish, are the order of the day here. Gambrinus has been going since the 1930s and still attracts a strong following: foodies who come in droves to enjoy the superlative, regional cooking in a unique setting. You dine in a wood-paneled beer hall, tended to by an army of professional, courteous, and charming staff. In contrast to lively and buzzy Ramiro, the ambiance here is somewhat sedated, attracting an older crowd. Specialties you must try include lobster stew, shellfish casserole, steamed clams, and lobster bisque. The wine offering is also one of Lisbon’s best: diverse, well-priced, and boasts an extensive collection of fine vintage ports.

Gambrinus website: Read more


Clams à Bulhão Pato

One of the most reliable places in Lisbon for honest, no-frills cooking, Cervejaria Ribadouro serves up plates and plates of every conceivable type of seafood and fresh fish. So, as you might expect, this bustling bar venue gets jam-packed in the evenings and weekends; if you want to experience the place with a more relaxed ambiance, it pays to arrive early. But whatever time you sit, you’ll be rewarded with the freshest seafood. The formula is simple: order a glass of chilled white, select your live fish from the onsite tank, and hey presto, it soon appears, perfectly cooked and seasoned—an unmissable stop on any foodies’ itinerary in Lisbon.

Cervejaria Ribadouro Website: Read more


Fresh seafood bar

Affable, gregarious waiters specialize in charming both regulars and tourists in one of Lisbon’s top seafood restaurants. They are lured inside by the promise of both traditional grilled fish dishes and sophisticated takes on the seaside classics. At Sea Me, you can either play it safe and order an abundant variety of grilled fish dishes or explore the more international options. Perhaps a shrimp risotto or a Thai Green Curry with scallops and clams takes your fancy? The wine list is another gem, packed full of delicious, zesty whites from across Portugal. Book ahead, particularly in the summer months.

Sea Me Website: Read more



Restaurant O Gaveto

Located on the outskirts of the city center, O Gaveto (meaning street corner) nonetheless definitely merits a detour. Family-run and owned for over 30 years, O Gaveto is one of the friendliest restaurants in Oporto, welcoming both regulars and newcomers into its fold. Their strict mantra of only serving the freshest catch of the day – in addition to live shellfish from your nearby tank – has earned them a formidable reputation as one of Portugal’s finest seafood restaurants. We don’t need to make recommendations; whatever you choose will be fresh, delicious, and perfectly cooked. Owner Manuel Pinheiro looks forward to welcoming you soon!

O Gaveto website: Read more


One of Oporto’s most famous rustic haunts, Chez Lapin, is celebrated for its fantastic home cooking and impressive collection of memorabilia. All manner of odds and ends dangle from its ceiling and walls, including lanterns, musical instruments, and antique clocks! But, lovable kitsch aside, Chez Lapin continues attracting a large following of locals and visitors. The secret to its success is straightforward: honest, hearty cooking and keenly priced local wines in a fun, lively setting. Under all the paraphernalia, diners enjoy a mix of traditional and unusual dishes, such as salt cod with octopus, a local fish stew, grilled sea bass, and turbot fillets, our personal favorite—a great way to sample local Oporto cuisine.

Chez Lapin website: Read more


Restaurant Portucale

The views alone are worth the price of a meal at this iconic restaurant, one of Portugal’s finest examples of top-notch gastronomy merged with an unbeatable location. Portucale isn’t just about fine dining –  the restaurant is situated atop Oporto’s famous Albergaria Miradouro (clock tower)  and offers spectacular views of the city. However, the food certainly doesn’t play second fiddle to the magnificent view; Portulaca serves a wide variety of exquisite fish dishes with a distinctly international take on regional classics. The restaurant also boasts a particularly large and diverse wine offering, with plenty of imported wines if you fancy a change from the local fayer—the perfect spot for a romantic evening for two.

Portucale website: Read more



Restaurant Rei das Praias
Unforgettable views

It would be hard to imagine a more perfect spot for spending a summer’s evening than Rei das Praias. A gorgeous wooden terrace juts out over the beach below, offering simply dreamy views of the Ocean and beyond. An eclectic menu offering simple grilled fish dishes and more inventive combinations wins pundits for its diversity, although we find that sticking to the catch of the day choices is best. There is also a classy wine list, extending its reach beyond the local area, and includes some excellent bottles for a special occasion. Service-wise, it cannot be criticized; the staff works extra hard to make your meal memorable – a most romantic experience awaits in this idyllic corner of the Algarve.

Rei das Praias website: Read more


Restaurant Ocean

The Algarve’s classiest address, Ocean, is one of the few restaurants in Portugal to hold more than 1 Michelin-star. It has become the darling of Portugal’s elite and a well-dressed clientèle, who travel far and wide to sample head chef Hans Neuner’s inventive take on Portuguese gastronomy. The setting is an elegant hotel dining room offering lovely sea views, and the service is suitably professional and slick. However, the main draw is the award-winning tasting menus, where sublime fish dishes are usually featured heavily. On the 6-course taster menu, you could start with Violet prawn, followed by John Dory with burned artichoke, or perhaps scorpionfish and baby squid. Wine lovers will drool over the extensive wine list of local options and fine vintages from France, Spain, and beyond. A hedonist’s dream comes true.

Ocean website: Read more


Fish caught only hours earlier

For over 20 years, Boia has held the enviable title of the Algarve’s most popular and relaxed seafood bar/restaurant. Everything is spot on here, from the perfectly appointed alfresco terrace to the delectable grilled fish dishes caught only hours earlier. The formula is simple: take a seat on the terrace, order a cool glass of Alentejo white, and peruse the list for what’s good. Your choices will include sardines, oysters, sea bass, bream, and sole, which are grilled over charcoal and seasoned with a healthy pinch of Flor de sal, just as local culinary tradition insists. Friendly service and fair prices make the experience even sweeter. The only problem is that you’ll never want to vacate your table!

Boir Bar website: Read more


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Genevieve Mc Carthy

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One thought on “Explore Portugal’s Seafood Paradise: Unveiling the Best Restaurants for Seafood Enthusiasts


August 11, 2018 at 11:10 pm

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