31 Best Restaurants in Coimbra and Central Portugal, Portugal

Arcadas

$$$$ Fodor's choice

In the former stables of Quinta das Lagrimas, this well-regarded restaurant has two dining rooms, one of which opens onto immaculate gardens with fruit trees and herb gardens that provide ingredients for the meal to come. Created by star chef Vitor Dias, dishes are immaculately presented and full of powerful and unusual flavors. Fine Portuguese wines accompany each course, as do complimentary amuse-bouches. A children's menu with simpler options, like pizza, keeps younger diners happy while the grown-ups relish the refined dishes of the tasting menu.

Café Santa Cruz

$ Fodor's choice

Until its conversion in 1923, Café Santa Cruz was an auxiliary chapel for the monastery. Now its high-vaulted Manueline ceiling and stained-glass windows make it an ideal spot to enjoy your morning cup of coffee or a leisurely lunch with a glass of wine. Despite all the grandeur, prices are extremely reasonable. 

Coisas da Lena

$ Fodor's choice

Everything from set three-course lunches to delicious cakes and pastries are prepared with love and served with a smile at this welcoming restaurant in the heart of Coimbra's historic center. There are plenty of tables in the cozy interior, but the tables and chairs set out on the flagstones outside are the best bet in the summer months. Prices are extremely reasonable given the prime location. 

Recommended Fodor's Video

Doce Amor

$ Fodor's choice

This self-proclaimed "brownieria" is owned and run by a friendly Brazilian family that serves a range of squishy, oozing brownies finished with toppings of your own choice and accompanied by filtered coffee. Brazilian brigadeiros (traditional chocolate and condensed milk confections) are another specialty.

Fangas Veg

$ Fodor's choice

This tucked-away eatery serves inventive vegetarian and vegan dishes designed to make the most of fresh seasonal produce. The staff goes out of its way to explain the dishes and provide recommendations; sharing is key here, so plan on three petiscos (small plates) between two people. This is the original location, but if it's full try Fangas Maior a few doors down, which also has fish and meat options. 

Loggia

$ Fodor's choice

With tables set on a vast veranda in the upper reaches of the city, Loggia has some of the best panoramic views in town. It's the on-site restaurant at the Machado do Castro art museum, and the setting is a work of art in itself. Leisurely brunches here are extremely popular, as are the excellent value lunch menus. Expect traditional Portuguese fare, elegantly presented. 

O Cortiço

$$ Fodor's choice

Viseu's most celebrated restaurant is known for the sometimes comical names of its dishes as well as for its intelligent use of old local recipes. Try the coelho bêbedo (drunk rabbit), which is rabbit stewed in red wine, or the bacalhau podre (rotten), which is actually a savory dish of salt cod braised in a tomato-and-wine sauce. Bring cash, because international cards are not accepted.

Rua Augusto Hilário 47, Viseu, 3810-275, Portugal
232 416 127
Known For
  • Huge portions of hearty comfort food
  • Speedy service
  • Food cooked using time-honored techniques
Restaurant Details
Rate Includes: Closed Mon. No dinner Sun., Reservations recommended

Pedro dos Leitões

$$ Fodor's choice

Of the several restaurants specializing in suckling pig, this is the most popular. The size of the parking lot is a dead giveaway that this is no intimate bistro, and the spitted pigs pop out of the huge ovens at an amazing rate (especially in summer). In spite of the volume, quality is maintained.

Salpoente

$$$$ Fodor's choice

Two former salt warehouses have been lovingly restored to create a sophisticated dining room with a lofty ceiling and exposed beams. The specialty at this award-winning space is bacalhau---it's prepared in several inventive ways. Salpoente also hosts regular art exhibitions and features live music, ranging from sultry jazz to fado, on weekends.

Canal São Roque 82-83, Aveiro, 3800-256, Portugal
234 382 674
Known For
  • Tasting menus are the way to go
  • Jazz and fado on weekends
  • Artsy design
Restaurant Details
Rate Includes: Reservations essential

Volta & Meia

$ Fodor's choice
The brilliant red walls and hand-painted murals might catch your eye, but the savory pies will make you want to stay. That includes a delectable range of "hidden pies" whose ingredients are wrapped like a gift parcel in seasoned pastry crust. Try the pie with cod and cabbage, or with local sausage, cheese, and spinach.

A Cozinha da Maria

$

A bubbly, friendly atmosphere fills this quintessentially Portuguese restaurant specializing in cod and other dishes from the region. The decor is handsome, looking for all the world like a kitchen from a century ago. Bring cash, as international bank cards aren't accepted. 

A Moagem

$

Established in 1987, this restaurant is famed in these parts for its excellent lunch buffet of hearty regional cuisine. Depending on the season you'll find such Portuguese favorites as bacalhau com natas (codfish with cream), arroz de pata (rice with duck), and suckling pig. Arrive early for lunch, or face a long wait for a seat. 

Largo Macedo Souto Maior, Montemor-o-Velho, 3140-269, Portugal
239 680 225
Known For
  • Generous buffet
  • Regional fare
  • Relaxed vibe
Restaurant Details
Rate Includes: Closed Mon. No dinner.

A Plataforma

$

This waterfront eatery has seafood with a sea view: expect everything from shrimp and crab to mussels to the fish of the day. It's a touristy spot, but the old-fashioned service from the jovial staff gives the place an authentic flavor.

Av. Infante Dom Pedro, Buarcos, 3080-167, Portugal
233 098 302
Known For
  • Good lunch spot
  • Great beach views
  • Delicious shrimp dishes

Belo Horizonte

$

Guarda isn't noted for its restaurant scene, but this modest granite-fronted establishment in the old quarter is one of the few exceptions. It serves hearty regional fare like cabrito grelhada (grilled baby goat).

Caçarola 1

$$
Dine on superb seafood like juicy prawns, fish stews, and various rice dishes; everything is wonderfully fresh. This restaurant is very popular with locals, particularly on weekends, so you may have to wait for a table.
Rua Cándido dos Reis 65, Figueira da Foz, 3080-155, Portugal
233 424 861
Known For
  • Waterfront location with covered outdoor seating and cozy interior
  • Excellent seafood and petiscos
  • Family friendly

Dux Petiscos e Vinhos

$

This stylish bar-cum-restaurant specializes in a modern take on Portuguese tapas with dishes designed and presented to excite all the senses. The menu changes according to what is fresh in the market that day, but you can expect interesting combinations like chestnut puree topped with grilled shiitake mushrooms. Small plates like tuna ceviche or sweet-potato crisps with garlic mayonnaise are the perfect accompaniment to a glass of crisp local wine.

Rua dos Combatentes da Grande Guerra 102, Coimbra, 3030-181, Portugal
239 402 818
Known For
  • Plenty of vegetarian options
  • Good setting for groups
  • Wonderful wines
Restaurant Details
Rate Includes: Reservations accepted

M Bakery

$

This pastel pink bakery looks every bit as sweet as its freshly baked treats, which attract huge lines of cake-loving locals. From pretty cakes topped with edible flowers to sugar-free, gluten-free chocolate brownies, the vitrine is a feast for the eyes, and everything tastes as good as it looks.

Travessa do Governo Civil 5, Aveiro, 3810-133, Portugal
234 048 911
Known For
  • Unicorn donuts
  • Gluten-free options daily
  • Light lunches like risottos and salad bowls
Restaurant Details
Rate Includes: No dinner

Mercado do Peixe

$$

This upscale restaurant is easy to find—it occupies the upper floor of the city's fish market. Widely considered to be the best place in town for fresh seafood, its specialties include caldeirada de enguias (eel stew) and arroz de bacalhau e gambas (rice with cod and prawns). The surroundings are a charming combination of industrial design and traditional tiles, with plenty of gleaming metal and large picture windows overlooking the canal.

Largo da Praça do Peixe 1, Aveiro, 3810-086, Portugal
968 073 652
Known For
  • Fresh grilled fish
  • Suckling pig
  • Lovely views of the boats on the canal
Restaurant Details
Rate Includes: Closed Mon. No dinner Sun., Reservations essential

Muralha da Sé

$$

Within confessional distance of the Igreja da Misericórdia and just a few steps from the cathedral, this elegant eatery is housed in a traditional honey-colored building. The menu has a regional focus, with popular dishes including a sharing plate of different sausages made in the area. The dining room has sultry lighting for an intimate meal, while the pretty terrace provides great people-watching opportunities.

Adro da Se 24, Viseu, 3510-195, Portugal
232 437 777
Known For
  • Terrace and dining room overlooking the historic center
  • Lamb and other local meats
  • Good selection of regional wines
Restaurant Details
Rate Includes: Closed Tues. No dinner Sun.

O Burrito

$

As you're heading past Sé Nova, take the first alley on the left to discover this tiny bohemian restaurant tucked behind a church. The Mexican fusion restaurant has a small but delicious range of hot and cold vegan empanadas, quesadillas, and massive burritos. The quirky setting, with mismatched tables and chairs and board games scattered about, is completely disarming. No international cards are accepted, so be sure to bring cash. 

Largo de São Salvador, Coimbra, 3000-372, Portugal
239 198 260
Known For
  • Vibrant neighborhood setting
  • Cash only
  • Delicious dairy-free desserts
Restaurant Details
Rate Includes: Closed Sun. No dinner Tues. and Wed.

O Hilário

$
Expect a warm welcome and no-frills traditional cuisine at this family-run storefront restaurant with a wood-paneled dining room decorated with photos of the famous 19th-century fado star who once lived on this street. The menu changes according to what is fresh in the market that day, but is, unfailingly, unpretentious home-style cooking with huge portions.
Rua Augusto Hilário 35, Viseu, 3500-089, Portugal
232 436 587
Known For
  • Desserts are a treat not to be missed
  • You won't get a warmer welcome than here
  • Portuguese comfort food
Restaurant Details
Rate Includes: Closed Sun.

O Peleiro

$$

In the peaceful, rather than picturesque, village of Paião, 10 km (6 miles) south of Figueira da Foz, this restaurant decorated with animal skins was once a tannery, and that's what the name means. An institution for more than 20 years, the menu is heavy on regional specialties, including a famously good sopa da pedra (vegetable and meat soup). Grilled pork and veal on a spit are also excellent. Cozy up in the handsome dining room in winter, or take a seat on the patio when the sun shines. 

Largo do Alvideiro 5–7, Paião, 3090-495, Portugal
233 940 159
Known For
  • Great pitstop when exploring nearby
  • Good wine selection
  • Handsome dining room
Restaurant Details
Rate Includes: Closed Sun.

O Trovador

$

Seasoned travelers often avoid restaurants near major sights, but O Trovador—just a step away from the old cathedral—proves doubters wrong. Grab a table with a view of the centuries-old architecture and enjoy generous portions of reliably good regional dishes like pork cheeks with sweet potatoes or cod with cornbread.

Largo da Sé Velha 15–17, Coimbra, 3000-383, Portugal
239 825 475
Known For
  • Hard-to-beat location
  • Elegant dining room
  • Excellent service
Restaurant Details
Rate Includes: Closed Mon. No lunch Sun. and Tues., Reservations accepted

Raiz -- O Vegetariano do Bairro

$

A vegetarian alternative to Aveiro's seafood-focused dining scene, Raiz offers wholesome dishes that could tempt the most hardened of carnivores. The menu is completely plant-based and has daily lunch specials such as spinach crepes with Mexican-style tofu scramble. There are gluten-free menu items every day, and a meatless version of Brazilian feijoada on Wednesday. 

Restaurante Borges

$

The rustic atmosphere here is accentuated by a decor that includes traditional farming tools, ancient barrels, and dark-wood beams. Fittingly, the food is hearty farmers' fare–- expect generous portions of dishes like roasted goat and beef stew with mushrooms. Seafood choices include paella, as well as grilled salmon and squid.

Restaurante do Museu

$

Overlooking the gardens and Roman ruins at Conímbriga's museum, the on-site restaurant is a sleek and modern space, with a spacious terrace and large windows. There are daily set meals and a-la-carte options, while an adjoining terrace café is a more informal spot for coffee, ice cream, and light snacks.

Restaurante Dom Sancho

$$

Just inside the gates, this pleasant little restaurant in a restored stone house provides diners with a rustic yet elegant dining experience. It specializes in game dishes like roast wild boar and venison.

Largo do Corro, Sortelha, 6320-536, Portugal
271 388 267
Known For
  • Good wine and Portuguese classics
  • Magical atmosphere
  • Friendly service
Restaurant Details
Rate Includes: Closed Mon. No dinner Sun.

Restaurante O Cesteiro

$

At the western edge of town, this popular local restaurant serves simple fare that includes several types of salt cod, roast kid, and fresh fish.

Retiro do Caçador

$

This restaurant is a carnivore's delight, something that is abundantly clear from the mounted stag's head on the wall. The the menu is predominantly meat and game, including deer, wild boar, and venison. Exposed-stone walls and wooden beams add to the rustic and cozy feel of the place.

Terraço do Rei

$

A roof terrace with sweeping views over Coimbra and the Cañas Valley draws crowds to this friendly restaurant on the outskirts of town. A downstairs dining room is packed with locals at lunchtime, but out-of-towners head straight up to the roof to enjoy drinks and snacks with those glorious vistas. The name means "Terrace of the King," and there's even a throne where children tend to enjoy posing for photographs.