3 Best Restaurants in Santarém, Estremadura and the Ribatejo

Ó Balcão

$$ Fodor's choice

Don't be fooled by the simple green-and-white tiled interior: this former tavern inspires inventive cooking by Chef Rodrigo Castelo, who uses often overlooked local ingredients to craft sumptuous and surprising dishes. The à la carte menu is a good value, with updated traditional fare such as oxtail gratin and chargrilled octopus, but it's worth splashing out on a tasting menu (€75, plus €45 for wine pairing). One features more than a dozen different species of fish from the Tagus; the other showcases both fish and locally sourced meats. All bread, olive oil and charcuterie is made in-house, along with an amazing range of pungent pickles and fermented foods that are used to bring extra flavor to the chef's creations. 



Near the town's bullring, this typical Ribatejo restaurant is decked out with bullfighting memorabilia. The ensopado de borrego (lamb stew) is renowned, as is the mangusto com bacalhau assado (a garlicky bread-and-cabbage concoction accompanying roasted codfish). Consider accepting the couvert, featuring cornbread with chouriço and orelha de porco (pig's ear, cooked with herbs). For dessert, ask for the celestes Santa Clara (almond cakes) or arrepiados de Almoster (almond meringues)—among the many local sweets invented by medieval monks and nuns.

Campo Emilio Infante da Câmara, Santarém, 2000–014, Portugal
912 378 869
Known For
  • excellent selection of grilled meats
  • fried shad from the Tagus River
  • a warming fire in the hearth
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: Closed Tues., last wk of Aug., and 1st wk of Sept.

Taberna da Quinzena


Photos of satisfied patrons testify to the popularity of this rustic restaurant run by the great-grandson of the original owner, offering hearty traditional fare at low prices. Specialties—in servings large enough for two—include toiro bravo (wild bull) and entrecosto com arroz de feijoca (spareribs with red beans and rice), but the menu is overhauled daily. The restaurant now has several offshoots in the region, one of them in the Santarém Hotel.

Rua Pedro de Santarém 93, Santarém, 2000–223, Portugal
243 322 804
Known For
  • charmingly old-fashioned interior
  • lots of bullfighting souvenirs
  • the place to try local wines
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: Closed Sun. and 2nd half of Aug.

Recommended Fodor's Video