Things to do in Lisbon

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  • Fado

Fado

My heart aches, but I like it! The soft, moody melodies and longing in the words sung by one heart-wrenched individual define Lisbon’s brand of fado from its counterpart from Coimbra. Truly belonging to Portugal’s people, these songs of love and loss translate to all listeners in their viciously beautiful and sombre candour. Fado is currently experiencing a revival, as younger artists adopt the style of fado in their own way and make it more accessible to the new generation. Many fado houses sell dinner, catering largely to tourists at tourist prices. My advice: The best fado of the night will happen late, so eat at another more authentic (and less expensive) restaurant and come in afterward for a glass or three of wine and some great music, like the locals do.


A Baiuca

In this small tavern/restaurant, there is no stage, no microphone, no spotlight, not even candles here. It's the kind of place where finding a local taxi driver who has just parked his car in the nearby square just long enough to come in and let his lungs loose is not unusual. One of the most intimate and unique Fado experiences in Lisbon. 

A Tasca do Chico

FREE good Fado music on Mondays and Wednesdays in the Bairro Alto district. Come early as free means crowded.


Mesa de Frades

Now a famous Fado house, Mesa de Frades was once the chapel of the small Quinta da Dona Rosa palace, a gift from King Don Joao V to his mistress in the early 18th century. Nestled in the streets of Lisbon's historic Alfama district, the establishment hosts some of Lisbon's most famous Fado artists as well as new talent and amateurs.

Páteo de Alfama

Always brimming with locals, tourists have yet to descend fully onto this truly authentic casa de Fado. Sharing an exposed interior wall with the Cerca Velha, one of the oldest and most historic walls in Lisbon. Classic Portuguese dishes are served in between sets of Fado performed by severely talented musicians of local and national renown.


Senhor Vinho

With a reputation as Lisbon's most sophisticated and storied Fado house, Senhor Vinho's traditional Portuguese cuisine has to struggle for attention in the shadow of some of the country's top Fado singers and performers. The dinner menus are largely based on Portuguese fish and rice, but succulent roasted lamb and lamb stew will satisfy more carnivorous patrons.