Just got back from a wonderful 8 days in portugal -- it was amazing. Here's where we ate and our impressions. Two things to consider in these reviews: one, even though my husband and I are American, we want our fish cooked and served whole -- head, tail and bones, which I realize can turn some people off who aren't accustomed to that. Two, we at almost exactly the same thing for dinner every night: me: clams appetizer, husband sardines, and we shared a whole seabass (or bream or durado, whichever was available). Which means, something good had to be great to stand above and beyond. I'll note any differences below:
Piri piri chicken at frango a pria (I think I just forgot the spelling), above Lareira Portugesese... chicken and chips lunch with shandies! very delicious and affordable -- ate there twice.
Lareira portugese -- disappointment of the trip... clams were great, but no sardines for the hubby -- he had a so so tiger prawn, and the waiter talked us into sharing a parrotfish because the seabass he had was "too large for 2" -- the fish was slimy and had very little flavor.
O barquiero -- ate here 2 years ago when we asked a taxi driver for a recommendation while we were in funchal on a cruise stop....it was awesome then, so our expections were high----verdict? We ate there 3 nights in a row. It was close to perfection every time, and affordable to us (about 90-95 euros for all of the above plus water, wine and coffee. Most amazing whole fish!!
OK -- onto Lisbon:
Sinal - husband ate pork, I ate seabream -- was very good, not great, not super memorable, but solid, straightforward tastes, affordable
Lisboa a noite - husband ate black pork -- rest was the same... ate here two years ago and it was the highlight of our trip...this time, very good again, just not as much of a stand out.
Sea me --- blah! went here after our first choice was closed for renovations....I had bland clams with overcooked linguini -- and the bass we shared was the smallest, but most expensive and had NO FLAVOR. service was spotty, however, we also had two sushi dishes which were very very good... so if you go, get the sushi - but it's very expensive. worst meal of trip.
In Cascais -- B and B - hunt this one out!! Each had our own seabass and I'm drooling thinking about it...best, freshest flavor with best olive oil and crispy roasted potatoes. clams and sardines were great too, and also bread and chickpeas they brought our first were different and amazing. Doesn't take credit cards, but who cares - this meal was a 10!
Hope this helps, I realized there are a lot of recommendations on this site, but very few reviews....Now I can start planning for next years trip... (almalfi coast!)
Madeira, Madeira , PT