Best places in Lisbon for lunch under 10 euros
If you’d like to enjoy an authentic Portuguese lunch in Lisbon on a budget, there are at least two concepts that you should familiarize yourself with.
Tascas are down to earth eateries, serving food and drinks, where a lot of Lisbon locals head to for lunch during the day, or for some wine and petiscos (that is, Portuguese tapas) at night. This type of establishment could be compared to taverns, and they may be typical and even old-school, or quite contemporary. When you visit a tasca, you can generally expect dishes to be traditional or at least rooted in traditional recipes, generous portions and fair prices.
The second concept you should be familiar with if you are interested in enjoying an affordable but delicious lunch in Lisbon is prato do dia. This is the Portuguese phrase that refers to daily specials, that is, the dishes that aren’t a part of the a la carte menu of the restaurant but that are prepared fresh on that given day. These specials, which are customarily divided into fish (peixe) and meat (carne) dishes, are sometimes turned into a combo, along with a soup, drink of choice, sometimes dessert, and an espresso coffee. These complete set menus, often advertised in window shops handwritten on a disposable tablecloth, go by the name of menu do dia. These specials can include very representative dishes of the Portuguese home style food repertoire, which don’t necessarily often make it to permanent restaurant menus. As such, daily specials on more humble restaurants and pastelarias shouldn't certainly be overlooked. Not only for the sake of saving money, but actually for the pleasure of widening your ideas of what Portuguese food is all about, always keeping in mind that affordable doesn’t translate in lack of quality, flavor or authenticity. Quite often, the opposite happens.
Besides tascas and actual restaurants, the most common type of establishments to actually serve prato do dia are pastelarias. Even though the name of this kind of business translates as pastry shop, the truth is that Portuguese pastelarias do so much more than serving breakfast, coffee breaks and cakes. In fact, many Lisboetas (that is, Lisbon residents) head to pastelarias during weekdays for affordable home style cooked lunches. But as this is something that only happens from Monday to Friday, you should certainly keep other businesses in mind so as not to starve during weekend lunches too!
If you’re hungry for incredible lunches of Portuguese food spending up to 10 euros, these are (in no particular order) some the restaurants you should visit in Lisbon:
A Floresta da Estefânia