Where to Eat like a Portuguese King on a Cheapskate’s Budget in Lisbon (And Other Local Travel Tips)

The cheapest restaurants you’ll never find

R. Paulo Delgado
12 min readFeb 4, 2020


Hand holding Portuguese custard pastry in front of typical Lisbon backdrop.
Photo licensed from Adobe Stock Photos.

Tacos are not Portuguese. Say it with me, folks, “Tacos are not Portuguese.”

Good. So let’s find out where you could be eating delicious, authentic, mouth-watering food in Lisbon like a Portuguese King, on a pauper’s budget.

The Alfama

Note that it’s “the Alfama,” like “the Bronx.”

If you’re seeking an authentic Portuguese vacation, no doubt you’ve read all the tourism pamphlets telling you that the Alfama — Lisbon’s oldest neighborhood, and where Lisbon was born — is a must-see.

Facade of buildings in the Alfama neighborhood.
The Alfama Neighborhood. (Photo by Paulo da Silva.)

It’s a pity the Alfama is so filled with inauthentic Portuguese restaurants — and a new hamburger joint, too.

Those restaurants which were once authentic (and affordable — all authentic restaurants in Portugal are affordable) have jumped on the tourist bandwagon and started charging higher prices, as well as posting a dude in a waistcoat outside their door to lure you in. (More on this guy later.)

Incidentally, there’s also a big taco place in the Alfama. You can’t miss it. It stares down at you with all the imposing power of a big investment in a tiny village.

Do not eat at the taco place! Sheesh.

(In all fairness I have no personal experience with this taco place. It’s probably quite delicious.)

No, if you want a taste of the real Portugal in the Alfama— both in price and in atmosphere — you need to head over to Zip-Zip.


Zip-Zip Google Maps listing.
This place is so cheap it doesn’t even have a $-rating for the menu! (Photo: Screen capture, Google Maps.)

This restaurant is so obscure that I had to use Google Street View to “walk the road I stayed on” in 2016 to find it again. They have no website. The tables are covered with paper tablecloths (the surefire sign in Portugal that the food…



R. Paulo Delgado

Ghostwriter & Book Coach. Articles in Forbes, Entrepreneur Magazine & Business Insider. Selling stuff at WriterPaulo.com