A Lisbon Winter- Our top picks for a mid Winter’s escape to Portugal’s timeless capitol.

Where to Stay:


The very modern Four Seasons Hotel Ritz Lisbon (rooms, from $460; Rua Rodrigo da Fonseca 88; 351-21/381-1400), owned by one of Portugal’s most well-known clans, the Queiroz Pereira family, reveals its class in the well-tailored crowd at the bar each evening and is distinguished by pin-sharp service orchestrated by long-serving bellmen, waiters and concierge. The spa, indoor pool and open-air rooftop running track are all genuinely alluring, but in 
the end it’s the Deluxe Double that nails it: right size, right view, with the higher the floor the better (ask for the tenth) 
to maximize the hilltop location, right in the center of town (though the hotel restaurant can be too formal for some tastes).


The Palacio Belmonte and its intimate spaces

For somewhere romantic but with fewer “service” props, Palácio Belmonte (Rooms, from $510; Páteo Dom Fradique 14; 351-21/881-6600) is a national treasure—the $33 million 
dream of a French-born cultural philanthropist, Frédéric Coustols, who rescued the building dating 
from the 15th to 17th centuries to create one of Europe’s most perfect ten-suite hotels. With a lovable new Pakistani manager, 
it keeps getting better, even if there is still no sign, spa or bar (instead, there are complimentary drinks in a hidden cupboard). We’re particularly fond of the Muslim Tower Suite: three levels built around a stone spiral staircase leading to a terrace overlooking the River Tagus. 
For the happy medium—a 
hotel combining deep history and 24-hour room service—


The Elegance of The Pestana Palace

Pestana Palace Hotel (Junior Suites, from $950; Rua Jau 54; 351-21/361-5600) is perfect, nestled among gardens à la Bel Air (for those in search of a reference). The four Royal Suites in the original 19th-century palace, now a national monument, 
have high-ceilinged interiors 
as pretty as French confectionery, with delicate plasterwork 
in shades of pink, peach and peppermint. For stellar views of the palm-peppered gardens, however, book a Junior Suite with a private terrace in the newer addition, ideally with 
a second-floor elevation. The heated indoor pool is a draw 
in winter, but the one in the garden is even better.

Where to Eat:

The fanciest restaurants, from trendyBica do Sapato (Av. Infante Dom Henrique, Armazém B; 351-21/
881-0320) to the leading homegrown chef 
José Avillez’s Michelin-starred Belcanto(Largo de São Carlos 10; 351-21/342-0607), divide opinion enough to make one want to seek out the simple, because there’s little dispute over which salt-of-the-earth eateries are the best in town. Everything is closed on Monday nights—except Solar dos Presuntos(Rua Portas de Santo Antão 150; 351-21/342-4253), which serves up classic Portuguese cooking and has the longest line in the city, and Bota Alta (Travessa da Queimada 37; 351-21/342-7959), 
where diners sit cheek-by-jowl, devouring the cod, wine-soaked Alentejo pork and lamb dishes.


Solar dos presuntos



an intimate crowd at Bota Alta

Nobody eats before 9 p.m., not even at the city’s most popular restaurants—includingPap’Açorda (Rua da Atalaia 57; 351-21/
346-4811), which is well regarded for a delicious peasant bread stew with prawns and a chocolate mousse scooped from a huge silver bowl. And then there’s noisy Cervejaria Ramiro (Av. Almirante Reis 1; 351-21/885-1024) , with its 1970s-style wood veneer interior and paper tablecloths. Its menu is fish sold by weight; specialties include poached barnacles, clams and scarlet prawns. The number of single diners—
elegant ladies of a certain age, policemen, office workers—says everything about why this restaurant matters. That said, a small number of the neighborhood favorites don’t take reservations, forcing early arrivals. Three other places for a pit stop: Pastéis de Belém (Rua de Belém 84-92; 351-21/363-7423): touristic because it’s iconic, but also brimming with Lisbonites who come for the warm, creamy custard tarts 
(it sells 21,000 a day) and coffee served from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. within a warren of 17th-century blue-and-white-tile-covered walls. 
Sea Me (Rua do Loreto 21; 351-21/346-1564) in Chiado, the main downtown shopping area (grab a seat at the bar and order the grilled sardine nigiri sushi with a glass of green wine) and the fuchsia-pink Quiosque de Refresco (1Praça de São Paulo; 351-21/395-8329), a snack kiosk reminiscent of those from late-19th-century Lisbon, near Chiado, for some old-fashioned Portuguese lemonade.


Where to Shop:



It was Vera Iachia, the decorator behind all the beautiful houses in seaside Comporta (as well 
as the resort town’s best shop, Space & Art), who recommended Embaixada (Praça do Príncipe Real 26; 351-9/6530-9154). The concept store occupies a newly converted 19th-century palace, with two floors of rooms given over to different (and largely inexpensive) shops for clothing, accessories and homewares, 
as well as a lovely one-room organic spa, Organii Lounge (1351-9/1293-2221). 
A Vida Portuguesa (Largo do Intendente Pina Manique 23; 351-21/
197-4512) is Iachia’s other favorite. The latest outpost of this brilliant multibrand boutique, in a former tile factory in the Mouraria neighborhood, delivers an Iberian version of Colette meets Dean & DeLuca, curated by Catarina Portas, who is among Lisbon’s great tastemakers. Its wares—“genuine and touching products 
of original Portuguese creation” reads the manifesto—range from Claus Porto soaps and canned bacalhau(salted cod) in vintage Tricana packaging to Coelima bed linen and exquisite sky-blue and sea-green chiseled wineglasses. For antiques, Solar (Rua Dom Pedro V 70; 351-21/346-5552)specializes in Portuguese porcelain tiles from the 15th to 19th centuries. The almost 200-year-old fine-porcelain producer Vista Alegre (Largo do Chiado 20-23; 351-21/346-1401) collaborates with contemporary artists, like Joana Vasconcelos, to create elegantly patterned table- and glassware. Sharp-eyed foraging usually uncovers something compelling in the bric-a-brac at the Feira da Ladraflea market (near the church of São Vicente de Fora) on Tuesdays and Saturdays from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. There is a vintage-poster and books seller, Eduardo Martinho Alfarrabista (Campo de Santa Clara, Store 3; 351-21/419-1873), who has lithographs packed with 1950s color. The other standout boutique is Leitão & Irmão (Largo do Chiado 16-17; 351-21/325-7870), with its pretty heart-shaped silver filigree earrings—the city’s equivalent 
of the Tiffany teardrop.

Sophy Roberts

Via Departures