LISBON // Pharmacia


Who knew that there would be an entire museum dedicated to pharmacy stuff?  Lisbon knew it.  And they also knew it would be a good idea to open a restaurant that would be exactly what the doctor ordered. Sharing a building with Museu de Farmacia, Pharmacia (spelled with a Ph minus the D) is a ktischy spot with amazing food and as superb view of the Tagus river close to the 25 de April Bridge (that one that looks like the San Fran bridge, mainly because it was designed by the same architects).

While you’re in for a “food check-up”… your cocktail prescription might include such item as Ibuprofen (cachaça beirão and lemon juice), Morphine (pineapple with sparkling wine), and LSD (whiskey and ginja). And, most importantly in this research project, don’t forget the Placebo (ginja and sparkling rose wine).

Rua Marechal Saldanha, 2  
Lisbon, Portugal
+351 213 462 146


LISBON // Navegadoors Short Stay Hotel


If you're looking for an artsy multi-purpose hotel alla Toronto's Drake Hotel, or New York's Ace Hotel, or Paris' Mama Shelter, then Lisbon Short Stay with its quirky resto-bar Navegadoors is the answer to this quest.  This hotel-espaço recently cropped up in the true center of Lisbon -- on Rua Augusta -- which is the central vein of the city leading down through the Arco da Rua Augusta auntil reaching the Tagus river's original entry-way to Lisbon, the Terreiro do Paço.

Very bohemian, the main floor reception and restaurant area is multi-functional in that it is an open-space where one can have a small meeting in a fringe-separated area, listen to some live Brazilian music below a water-float chandelier, or eat some American style frites com hambúrguer vegetariano.

The rooms above are extremely eclectic, each with their own vibe and -- if lucky -- a balcony overlooking the famous Rue Augusta.  Or if you need some more leg room, then head on up to their rooftop patio and get a full, unadulterated 360 view of this city that dates back to the Phoenicians.

Rooms start at €140
Lisbon Short Stay & Navegadoors Restaurant
Rua Augusta, 205 - 207
1100-580 Lisbon
+ 351 21 347 1238

LISBON // Mesa de Frades


Our favorite Fado bar in Alfama has always been Mesa de Frades.  Located in the Palace of the King's mistress on Rua dos Remédios 139,  this was not a Fado bar for tourists.  No sign outside. No cheesy prix-fixe menu.  No annoying host standing on the street, beckoning you to come in.  Just a basement-style room with ancient hand-painted tiles on the wall and non-descript furniture with people sitting on it, annoyed when you opened the door while someone was singing.  Yes, the Mesa de Frades was a hard-core, old-school Fado bar where people came simply to listen to Fado. 

So when we eagerly arrived at their doorstep again this year, we were super sad to learn that Mesa had relocated.  Foolish, we were.  As they renovate this historic King's mistress' palace, the owners of Mesa have moved their no-tourist-Fado-bar to a new, equally breathtaking space further up the Alfama hill.  Tucked into a killer climb combo of stairs & cobble stones that will make your buns burn, the new Mesa locale is in a hollowed out former civil parish of Lisbon's Saint Antonio.  With vaulted ceilings, stone floors, and just one teeny tiny window way up high in the corner, this is a Fado bar's wet dream:  when the music starts, the Fado music fills the space with such fullness and simplicity that it makes your skin tingle as you sip your vinho branco.

Mesa de Fadres
São Mamede 8A
1100-532 Lisboa
(no website... that's how desperately they don't want tourists) 

LISBON // Cruzes Credo


We had walked passed it a thousand times. Literally: a thousand times. At least.  It was on our route to and fro the Castello Sao Jorge.  We had seen it, surely, and maybe commented on how we could stop there one day.  But we never did.  It was just kind of there, existing.  That's how understated it is.  Smack dab against the walls of Church Saint Antonio, Cruzes Credo Café is the unsung hero of Alfama's eateries.

It's all about the food.  Well that, and the Moorish wall looming above you like a silly reminder of how dangerous church's had it back in the middle ages (they were called refuge churches because, in addition to providing religious services, they also gave people somewhere to skidaddle should the city be under siege).  But anyways, Cruzes Credo is all about the food.  It's just so good.  All of it.  We should know, because within one week we ate there four times.  Four.  And had sampled most of the menu.  Well, maybe not most of it -- it's huge -- but a decent chunk of it.  Who knew such an unassuming, folded-chair, non-candle-lit café had a gourmet menu of buffalo and mozzarella, avocado burgers, shrimps sautéed in saffron, and a cheescake made of cottage cheese?

We didn't.  But we do now.  Thankfully.

Cruzes Credo Café
Cruzes da Sé, 29
Lisbon, Portugal
+ 21 882 2296