This blog post was originally posted on November 25, 2018 and was updated on September 29, 2020.
Give your senses a treat and visit a fado restaurant in Lisbon.
It doesn’t matter if you go alone. You can also call some friends and head out in a group. Regardless, the chatting stops once the lights dim.
The fado takes over in intervals of 15–20 minutes. When the singing and guitars break, garlic, wine, and a mingling aroma from the land and sea pull you back to your meal.
This is what it’s like to visit a fado restaurant in Lisbon, and our picks for the most authentic ones. You might also see these restaurants referred to as casas de fado, or “fado houses.” No matter what you call them, you’re in for the experience of a lifetime at any of the spots below.
What to expect at fado restaurants in Lisbon
The best fado restaurants in Lisbon are scattered across the city. Still, you’ll find many of them in Alfama and Bairro Alto, two of Lisbon’s oldest and more traditional neighborhoods. These casas de fado stand out in a sea of tascas, taverns, and traditional restaurants.
Some fado houses are budget-friendly, costing between €10–15 for an entire experience. Others charge a minimum consumption fee between €30–50. The five casas de fado on this list range in price, but all offer mouthwatering dishes, soothing ambiances, and (of course) fantastic fado performances.
Don’t worry if you don’t know Portuguese. The singer is an artist who pulls listeners into his or her world through emotion. In fado, words catch our attention as they hang in the air with saudade (an emotion that mixes nostalgia and melancholy). Sometimes, fado is even happy.
The best fado restaurants in Lisbon
1. A Severa
This list contains a few older and well-known fado restaurants in Lisbon. One of the best is A Severa in Bairro Alto.
The restaurant’s name pays homage to Maria Severa, a famous young fado singer who lived in Lisbon during the 1800s. The restaurant that bears her name has been owned by the same family since opening in 1955.
Arrive by 9 p.m. for the first performance (except on Wednesdays when the restaurant is closed). The menu offers everything from vegetable dishes to dry-cured meats and cheese platters, as well as a medley of fish and meat entrees. There is also a special tourist menu designed so visitors can taste the best of Portugal.
2. Fama d’Alfama
On the menu, you’ll see a few different recipes for bacalhau (salt codfish), traditional bitoque (thin grilled steak served with french fries, rice, salad, and a fried egg), and unique specialties like bochecha de porco (pork cheeks) and alheira (breaded sausage). They even have a good selection for vegetarians.
This is a great restaurant for budget travelers. And the local customers are proof that the excellent fado and food are both as authentic as they get.
3. O Faia
O Faia is another established name on Lisbon’s fado scene. It was first opened in 1947 by the late Lucília do Carmo, one of Portugal’s most famous fado singers.
This place is open Monday to Saturday from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. and offers a robust menu full of regional specialties. Throughout the evening, the house’s four fado singers each take center stage accompanied by two guitarists.
O Faia’s reputation is so well known that it has welcomed celebrity fado singers like Carlos do Carmo, Camané, and even founder Lucília do Carmo herself.
4. Tasca do Chico
There are two locations of Tasca do Chico. One is in eclectic Bairro Alto, and the other is in traditional Alfama, attracting both locals and in-the-know visitors.
Visiting Tasca do Chico is one of our favorite things to do at night in Lisbon. Order the chouriço assado, flame-grilled pork sausage served on a clay dish, with rustic bread. One bite and you’ll understand why the late Anthony Bourdain made Tasca do Chico a stop on his Lisbon travel itinerary.
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5. Parreirinha de Alfama
Finally, we have Parreirinha de Alfama. This fado house has welcomed great singers like do Carmo and the late Amália Rodrigues (who is known as “a rainha do fado,” or “the queen of fado”).
You’ll find Parreirinha de Alfama a few streets from the Fado Museum. The fado performers, who range in age and style, sing amid the tables at this cozy spot, which has been a local favorite since the 1960s.
Local tip: We recommend calling for a reservation when planning a night at Parreirinha de Alfama, as well as O Faia and A Severa.