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A Love Letter to Lisbon: Must-Visit Restaurants and More

By McKenna Mears

As someone who doesn’t consider themselves a traditional “foodie,” my appreciation for a memorable dining experience revolves around more than just the intricacies of a dish. During a recent visit to Lisbon, Portugal, I dined at many exceptional restaurants catering to discerning palates and those like myself who seek a comfortable blend of yummy food, inviting ambience, and attentive service. Among the tile-adorned streets, Lisbon locals and tourists can find food ranging from authentic Portuguese dishes to global delights. While traversing this vibrant city on foot, I found myself at three amazing restaurants I’d certainly include in a love letter to Lisbon.

The abundance of breathtaking views in Lisbon turned out to be a delightful surprise. A simple turn of the corner can unveil sweeping views of the city. Miradouros, or viewpoints, are scattered throughout, offering glimpses of colorful buildings, stunning architecture, and serene water views. Another great part of this city is its numerous rooftop destinations, providing fantastic vistas for people enjoying meals and drinks. One rooftop that captured my attention was Javá Rooftop, boasting panoramic views of the city and surrounding area. I sat on the outside terrace, soaked up the sunshine, and ordered a Mediterranean dish I still think about often. A visit to a rooftop is a must while in Lisbon, and if you’re in the mood for a trendy and cool atmosphere, Javá Rooftop is the place to be!

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Taking in the view from Javá Rooftop in Lisbon

For my first meal in Lisbon, I stumbled upon an Asian restaurant called Boa-Bao, and I’m so glad I did. Boa-Bao is a stylish and casual restaurant based on a Pan-Asian cuisine concept with an authentic selection of dishes that respect original recipes. The chefs, many from the countries Boa-Bao represents, whip up dishes that take you on a tasty journey through China, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, and more. The vibe inside is like stepping into an Asian market from the 1920s. My server recommended I try an Asian beer, which perfectly complemented the two entrees I ordered. The laid-back atmosphere, flavorful dishes, and refreshing drink options made it an experience I won’t forget. If you’re up for an unforgettable culinary adventure, Boa-Bao is a must-try, and I guarantee you’ll leave with a satisfied palate and a smile on your face.

On my last night in the city, I overheard fellow travelers chatting about Rocco, a restaurant conveniently located just a few blocks away from my hotel. With no prior dinner plans, I decided to give it a shot, intrigued by the positive reviews I had heard. Upon arrival, the doorman offered me a warm greeting, followed by a woman who kindly took my coat. The entire establishment was breathtaking—stunning, chic, and meticulously styled in partnership with interior designer Lázaro Rosa-Violán. It is evident a lot of time was spent perfecting every detail. While I was still in awe, the hostess took a moment to explain the restaurant’s concept, comprising three distinct areas: the Gastrobar, the Crudo Bar, and the Ristorante. Adorned in spirit bottles from all over the world, the Gastrobar was the first to catch my eye. This space offered a global culinary selection, and the Crudo Bar included a top-notch counter where fish and seafood were expertly prepared. Opting for the Ristorante, I settled into an ambience dedicated to traditional Italian cuisine.

Servers in white suits attended to me while I enjoyed a glass of wine from an extensive list. Delicious bread and oil were served, and I spent time looking around the restaurant, mesmerized by the decor. I ordered an incredible risotto, marking an exceptional end to my time in Lisbon. The waitstaff, consisting of several well-coordinated individuals, ensured that every detail met my satisfaction. It was undoubtedly a ten out of ten experience.

With so many tasty spots in Lisbon and many dishes awaiting exploration, I plan to return soon!

While I thoroughly enjoyed scouting out these restaurants during my Lisbon exploration, they’re just a few of the city’s incredible options. It’s essential during a visit to Portugal to try pastéis de nata, the celebrated Portuguese custard tarts, and to savor a glass of Port wine made in Portugal’s Douro Valley. And, although my inexperienced taste buds hesitated to partake, I’ve heard that a visit to Portugal is incomplete without sampling sardines.

With so many tasty spots in Lisbon and many dishes awaiting exploration, I plan to return soon!

— V —

Plan Your Plates!

Rocco Website:

Rocco Instagram:

Javá Rooftop Website:

Javá Rooftop Instagram: @java_lisboa

Boa-Bao Website:

Boa-Bao Instagram: @boabao.portugal

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