* Casa de Chá da Boa Nova (Porto): First the location: surging out of rocks lapped by the Atlantic surf. Then the building: Built as a teahouse in the 1960s, this low-rise concrete-glass-and-wood construction is an early masterwork by architectural genius Álvaro Siza Vieira. Then the food, produced by starred chef Rui Paula, whose ocean menu features scallop with black radish and red mullet with cashew and cassava. See p. ###.
* Casa dos Passarinhos (Lisbon): No visit to Portugal is complete without eating in a tasca. These are simple taverns, serving up hearty portions of traditional food to hungry workers. This is one of the best: just two simple dining rooms, which fill up quick. Garlicky bread mush with shrimp, deep-fried cuttlefish, and griddled steaks are among the specialties.
* A Casa Guedes (Porto): Sandwiches are big in Porto, and it’s hard to beat the roast pork lathered with marinade and cooking juices and slapped into fist- size rolls in this retro hole-in-the-wall. If you really want to push the boat out, grab one with an added portion of creamy queijo da serra sheep’s cheese. Wash down with cold vinho verde or a black beer.
* Chico Elias (Tomar): Chef Maria do Céu is in her eighties but still works the ovens to produce the slow-roasted dishes that make this rustic eatery, beside the UNESCO-listed Knights Templar stronghold, a temple of traditional food. You should call at least 24 hours in advance to order her best dishes like rabbit cooked in pumpkin or baked codfish with acorn-sweetened pork. Celebrity photos on the walls bear witness to the timeless appeal.
* Fialho (Évora): The cooking of the Alentejo region is considered by many Portuguese to be the country’s best. It’s based on acorn-reared pork, free-range lamb, game in season, the finest olive oils, and organically grown produce. For more than 70 years, this family-run restaurant has been an ambassador for the region’s authentic cruise. The roast lamb is sublime, the rice with wild pigeon delectable, the sliced black pork heavenly. A national treasure.
* Midori (Sintra): For a Portuguese chef to win a Michelin star with Japanese cooking takes some doing. But Pedro Almeida has done just that, using the freshest local seafood to craft a fabulously creative fusion of East and West in a luxury resort set among forested hills outside Lisbon. His kaiseki fixed menus bring a parade of complex morsels like red mullet sashimi with butter sauce and miso, or nigiri of striped Algarve shrimp with finger lime.
* O Sapo (Penafiel): Before entering, loosen your belt. Better still, don’t wear a belt. Portugal’s north is famed for eating large, but this rustic place takes it all a step further. They’ll start by loading your table with wooden platters filled with appetizers—smoked meats, cheeses, fried balls of salt cod, pigs’-ear salad, egg with cornbread, and so on. Just go with the flow, but remember to leave space for the mighty, meaty main courses. Help it down with the local red vinho verde served in china mugs.
* Cervejaria Ramiro (Lisbon): Bright, noisy, and invariably crowded, Ramiro is the monarch of the marisqueiras—specialty seafood restaurants. The idea is to order a succession of shellfish dishes: clams steamed with garlic and cilantro, whole crabs (you get a mallet to smash the claws), shrimp in various sizes, goose barnacles that must be wrestled from their leathery sheaths. It’s traditional to follow up with a steak sandwich. Be prepared to stand in line, it’s very popular.
* Restinga (Portimão): One of Portugal’s great gastronomic pleasures is sitting at a beachside restaurant watching the waves roll up to the shore while tucking into expertly prepared seafood that was swimming about beneath those same waves a few hours before. There are many swell places to do that in the Algarve, but Restinga takes the concept a step further. It’s located on a glorious beach and next to a shellfish-rich lagoon. Start with fried shrimp or fish soup, then settle down to a whole grilled bream, bass, or other fish as the main event.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.