Clara Restaurante (Lisbon; tel. 21/885-30-53; www.lisboa-clara.pt)
This elegant citadel, with a refined dining room playing soft piano music and serving a remarkable Portuguese and international cuisine, is a favorite among serious palates. The chefs take special care with all their ingredients, and we sing their praises year after year for their impeccable offerings.
Gambrinus (Lisbon; tel. 21/342-14-66; www.gambrinuslisboa.com)
It isn't as upscale as some of its competitors or the preferred rendezvous of the country's most distinguished aristocrats. Nonetheless, this is one of the hippest, best-managed seafood restaurants in Lisbon; the stand-up bar proffers an astonishing array of shellfish. Enjoy a glass of dry white port accompanied by some of the most exotic seafood in the Atlantic.
Casa da Comida (Lisbon; tel. 21/388-53-76)
This restaurant is probably at its best on foggy evenings, when roaring fireplaces remove the damp chill from the air. Don't let the prosaic name fool you -- some visitors prefer its Portuguese-French cuisine over the food at any other restaurant in Lisbon. Portions are ample, and the ambience is bracing and healthful.
Cozinha Velha (Queluz; tel. 21/435-02-32)
During the 1700s, food for the monarchy's most lavish banquets was prepared here (the name means "old kitchen"). Today the high-ceilinged kitchens serve an unusual restaurant, whose cuisine reflects the old days of Portuguese royalty. Dishes include cataplana, a savory fish stew with clams, shrimp, and monkfish. Equally outstanding is soufflélike bacalhau espiritual (codfish), which takes 45 minutes to prepare and should be ordered when you make your reservation. The restaurant is celebrated for its desserts, many of which are based on ancient convent recipes.
Porto de Santa Maria (Guincho; tel. 21/487-10-36 or 21/487-02-40; www.portosantamaria.com)
The understated beige-and-white decor highlights the restaurant's bubbling aquarium and sea view. The menu lists nearly every conceivable kind of shellfish, served in the freshest possible combinations in a justifiably popular dining room.
Four Seasons (in the Palácio Estoril, Estoril; tel. 21/464-80-00)
This tranquil restaurant, with its rich colors and artful accents, has been a fixture in Estoril since the days when deposed European monarchs assembled here with their entourages. High glamour, old-world service, and impeccably prepared international cuisine are this place's hallmarks.
Casa Velha Restaurante (Quinta do Lago, near Almancil; tel. 28/939-49-83; www.restaurante-casavelha.com)
On a rocky hilltop above the modern resort of Quinta do Lago (with which it is not associated), this restaurant occupies a century-old farmhouse, with kitchens modernized for the preparation of gourmet food. The sophisticated cuisine includes preparations of upscale French and Portuguese recipes.
Churrascão do Mar (Porto; tel. 22/609-63-82)
Porto's most elegant restaurant, serving Brazilian cuisine, is housed in a 19th-century antique manor restored to its Belle Epoque glory. The town's finest chefs turn out a savory cuisine specializing in grilled seafood.
Don Tonho (Porto; tel. 22/200-43-07)
Visiting celebrities are usually directed to this citadel of fine cuisine (both European and Portuguese) in the eastern end of this port city. The setting perfectly suits the bracing cuisine that often features freshly caught fish from the Atlantic. The prices are also surprisingly affordable for such deluxe dishes.
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