Sitting astride the popular nightlife district of Bairro Alto but still relatively off the radar of most tourists, the calmer Príncipe Real neighbourhood is slowly becoming one of Lisbon’s most fashionable, especially among locals. Faced with the economic struggles and rising unemployment of the early 2000s, people rallied and reinvented, many turning to creative means to make a living. This, and the timely purchase of more than 40 historic buildings in the area by American businessman Anthony Lanier, has led to both the preservation and rediscovery of Príncipe Real. Today, stately mansions turned artisanal concept shops, bold new restaurants, and a generally slowed-down vibe has drawn a young population to a neighborhood brimming with green spaces, art, and history.
With this in mind, we’ve asked hotelier Rodrigo Machaz, whose Memmo Príncipe Real has been an integral part of the neighborhood’s renaissance, to share with us some of his favorite local spots.
SÃO PEDRO DE ALCÂNTARA
Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcantara is a garden with a panoramic view across the city to St. George’s Castle and central Lisbon. A map made of tiles marks all the distinctive buildings, and the lower geometric garden contains busts of heroes and gods from Greco-Roman mythology, such as Minerva and Ulysses.
SOLAR DO VINHO DO PORTO (PORT WINE INSTITUTE)
Guests can sample more than 300 different port wines, including some of the rarer vintages that date as far as 1937, inside this 18th-century building. You can order by the glass or bottle, and can drink at the bar or in comfortable armchairs in the sitting room.
Running again after a break, this funicular has been taking passengers up and down the hill between the center of the city (Restauradores Square) and Bairro Alto since 1885.
PASTELARIA SÃO ROQUE
Located just across the street from the hotel, this family-run bakery enjoys a steady stream of locals who seek out the golden goodness of from-the-oven pasteis de nata (custard tarts), pao de deus (God’s bread), and cod fishcakes. Grab an espresso surrounded by bronze columns, curved lines, and colorful Art Deco azulejos.
MINI BY LUNA
A concept store founded in the neighborhood in 2012, Mini by Luna brings together local and international deco collections for women and children.
Thousands of pieces from the 18th to the 20th century are proudly exhibited in five rooms. Created from the need to exhibit a private collection so big that it led to the acquisition of an old grocery store from the early 20th century, O Pavilhão Chinês (The Chinese Pavilion) maintains its name to this day and has become a true treasure bazaar.
ANTIGA CASA FAZ FRIO
Open for 150 years, this simple, traditional restaurant serves Portuguese favorites like Bacalhau com natas (salt cod with potato and cream). Privately sectioned rooms in the back are perfect for a typical family-style dinner.
PRÍNCIPE REAL GARDE
This romantic garden is at the center of a square surrounded by elegant buildings. It’s an urban refuge with a gigantic parasol-like cedar tree. Every Saturday it’s also home to a farmers’ market for fans of organic fruits and vegetables, while on every last Saturday and Monday of each month there’s a market of crafts and antiques. Underneath it all is a stone reservoir from the 1800s that’s part of the city’s Water Museum and often rented for private events.
In this beautiful 18th-century mansion turned artisanal emporium, each of the rooms is home to various boutique shops with a strong focus on local products. Grab a cocktail at Gin Lovers and cruise the collections.
ATALHO REAL RESTAURANT
Located in the back of Embaixada, this indoor restaurant and garden oasis is run by a professional butcher and chef, offering the best meats to be chosen from cuts on display. They can be turned into burgers, steak, or matured entrecôte, with potatoes and salad on the side.
BETTINA & NICCOLO CORALLO
With cacao and coffee sourced from a family plantation located in São Tomé and Príncipe, Bettina & Niccola Corallo use sustainable, traditional methods from planting to roasting to preparation. For a pure taste of chocolate, try the cocoa sorbet.
The neighborhood hotspot for wood oven-fired pizzas, with seating inside or out on the spacious tree-lined terrace.
ENTRETANTO INDOOR MARKET
A palace from the Marquês do Pombal era with dozens of national and international brands.
An enchanting garden to escape the surrounding city, bursting with subtropical vegetation. It was considered one of the best botanical gardens in Europe when it was laid out in the 19th century, and its large collection of subtropical vegetation remains impressive today.