Portuguese food is OUTSTANDING. Located right next to the ocean, Portuguese cuisine capitalizes on its local catch, especially cod and oysters. Its chefs highlight their fresh local produce, which is part of the reason why you may have never had a Portuguese dish (unless you're lucky enough to have a Portuguese grandma and then I am highly jealous of your childhood). And, of course, you can't forget to supplement your meal with some wine. Port, being the most famous, is a good intro to trying different versions, since most people have had it before and can make comparisons.
The first three places on this list were all recommended to me by three different people who lived in Lisbon and do not know each other. And now, highly recommended by me!
Mini Bar Theatre
This is one of the best restaurants I've ever been to, with no exaggeration. The fifth restaurant to be opened by the prolific chef José Avillez, I do not know why it doesn't have a Michelin star. Although, at the same time, thankfully it doesn't! The restaurant serves small dishes: the meal options can be anywhere from 10-20 small plates per person. I chose the larger meal, because I'm a glutton, plus an extra round of the beef tartar, because it was adorable and I'm a carnivore too I guess. The food is playful and quirky, with the perfect amount of spices and additions to bring out the natural flavors of the meat the plate is centered around.
I didn't take any photos because I was too busy talking to the bartenders and gushing to everyone how amazing the food is, but you can check out some other guests photos on Trip Advisor. Truly, whatever you do, call ahead, book a reservation, and make sure to get a seat here!
The full name being Taberna da Rua das Flores, but since I was in Lisbon one time I now think I'm hip and call it by its local name ;).
Open only for lunch, this is a family style restaurant where you can get the best traditional Portuguese pot cooking. The decor is old tavern style, with chalkboard menus on the shelves and plates stacked up in doorless cupboards. The dishes are made each day depending on what's fresh, but you can always count on it being good! Don't forget to bring cash, since it's traditional style, that means no credit cards, friends.
BA Wine Bar
Another "do not miss" place. You probably don't want to go here for dinner, although I wouldn't judge you if you did. They do serve tapas to go along with your wine and I can attest to the cheeses! The owner told us that they work directly with local cheese producers, so each week their cheese selection changes and they ensure to find the perfect matches for their wine.
BA Wine Bar was opened with the intention of creating a place for people to taste the expensive and fancy wines, without having to dish out a lot of money for the entire bottle. If you're not versed in the wine world, like yours truly, they have a port flight that I would highly recommend. It comes with 5 ports: 2 tawnys, 2 rubys, and a white, or at least, I think...I had a lot of wine, so maybe my numbers have gotten a little switched around :)
With the wines though, one of the staff will come by and answer any of your questions, telling you about each wine, the history of the grapes, the climate of the region, etc. If you truly want to start learning about wine, take a notebook and write down some notes!
Time Out Market
You can't beat this market. Created by Time Out magazine, I was hesitant of it at first. Wouldn't that be filled with tourists? It doesn't matter though because you get all the best food here and it is worth dropping your "blending in like a local" attempts for a couple of hours. Time Out curated the best restaurants of Lisbon to make this market. There is some amazing seafood here and I was able to try razor oysters (I had never heard of them and never knew how dangerous it is to catch them!) and barnacles (also never knew that you could eat barnacles...). There's also a really nice wine store and some other little design shops inside.
Let me know if you find any other "can't miss" places in Lisbon!