My heart aches, but I like it! The soft, moody melodies and longing in the words sung by one heart-wrenched individual define Lisbon’s brand of fado from its counterpart from Coimbra.
Truly belonging to Portugal’s people, these songs of love and loss translate to all listeners in their viciously beautiful and sombre candour. Fado is currently experiencing a revival, as younger artists adopt the style of fado in their own way and make it more accessible to the new generation.
Many fado houses sell dinner, catering largely to tourists at tourist prices. My advice: The best fado of the night will happen late, so eat at another more authentic (and less expensive) restaurant and come in afterward for a glass or three of wine and some great music, like the locals do.
In this small tavern/restaurant, there is no stage, no microphone, no spotlight, not even candles here. It’s the kind of place where finding a local taxi driver who has just parked his car in the nearby square just long enough to come in and let his lungs loose is not unusual.
One of the most intimate and unique Fado experiences in Lisbon.
Rua de São Miguel, 20
Open Thursday to Monday 20h-24h / Fado starts at 20h
A Tasca do Chico
FREE good Fado music on Mondays and Wednesdays in the Bairro Alto district. Come early as free means crowded.
Rua Diario de Noticias, 39
Free Fado on Monday and Wednesday 21h – 02h
Mesa de Frades
Now a famous Fado house, Mesa de Frades was once the chapel of the small Quinta da Dona Rosa palace, a gift from King Don Joao V to his mistress in the early 18th century.
Nestled in the streets of Lisbon’s historic Alfama district, the establishment hosts some of Lisbon’s most famous Fado artists as well as new talent and amateurs.
Rua dos Remédios, 139
Fado starts at 20h30 / Admission until 23h
tel. (+351) 917 029 436
Páteo de Alfama
Always brimming with locals, tourists have yet to descend fully onto this truly authentic casa de Fado. Sharing an exposed interior wall with the Cerca Velha, one of the oldest and most historic walls in Lisbon.
Classic Portuguese dishes are served in between sets of Fado performed by severely talented musicians of local and national renown.
Rua São João da Praça, 18
Open everyday 20h – 02h
tel. (+351) 218 822 174
With a reputation as Lisbon’s most sophisticated and storied Fado house, Senhor Vinho’s traditional Portuguese cuisine has to struggle for attention in the shadow of some of the country’s top Fado singers and performers.
The dinner menus are largely based on Portuguese fish and rice, but succulent roasted lamb and lamb stew will satisfy more carnivorous patrons.
Rua do Meio à Lapa, 18
Open everyday 19h30 – 02h / Fado starts at 21h
tel. (+351) 213 977 456