The colourful and eclectic Lisbon restaurant scene is recognised as one of Europe’s most exciting and diverse. Adding a deliciously rich and tempting flavour to the pot are several Italian restaurants noted for the variety of their menus, choice of ingredients and quality of dishes – la dolce vita with all the trimmings.
The best Italian cuisine draws on tradition, from family recipes handed down over generations. But it’s also about the contemporary – being innovative and creative, and daring to be different. Fortunately the recommendations below favour both, and the results might even be better than mama used to make.
Michelin recommends this stylish, intimate and well-established restaurant for the way Naples-born chef Michael Guerrieri is able to reinvent familiar and much-loved dishes by enhancing texture and flavour. This modern take on the tried and tested is a revelation, and the wine list perfectly complements the effort. Try: Tubetti with fresh tomato, mushrooms, bacon and whipped ricotta wrapped in courgette.
Augusto Gemelli deserves his reputation as one of the most esteemed Italian chefs working in the city. His skill at fusing Portuguese and Italian ingredients coupled with a unique style of cooking has placed this chic and fashionable eatery at the very top of Lisbon’s gourmet hotspots. The wine cellar is a connoisseur’s dream. Try: Smoked risotto with ham, scamorza cheese and sparkling wine.
The delightful retro ambiance of this fantastic pizzeria emphasises the significance restaurateur Carlos Sousa places on providing an authentic Italian dining experience. Pizza is the speciality here, and the thin crust creations are the best this side of Rome. Sr. Sousa is Portuguese but travels regularly to Italy to stock up on original ingredients. Even the salt is from Sicily! Try: Pizza Diavolino – spicy salami with tomato, mozzarella and oregano.
Arguably the best loved of all Lisbon’s Italian eateries, and certainly the longest running, this friendly and inviting restaurant has been wooing those with a penchant for pasta since 1986. Conveniently located in the lively Bairro Alto district, the cuisine here is accentuated by an intriguing wine list that numbers reds such as Berengo from Toscany and Pinot Grigio, a white from Friuli. Try: Tagliolini with black truffles.
With a menu recognised by the influential Accademia Italiana Della Cucina, the food prepared and served here is of the highest quality. Co-proprietor Luis Costa is justly proud of the accolade, a testament to the carefully designed menu that showcases favourite dishes from nearly every region in Italy. The romantic riverfront views further enhance this delightfully rustic and unpretentious restaurant. Try: Tortellini filled with walnut and four-cheese sauce.