With a 1,114-mile coastline lashed by the wild Atlantic, it’s no surprise that Portugal has some of the best seafood in the world on its menus. From huge grilled fish to bacalao fritters and smoky grilled sardines ‒ the latter have entire festivals dedicated to them ‒ this is a country obsessed with the fruits of the ocean. 

The dining scene here is so strong here that, from 2024, Portugal will have its own Michelin Guide separate from Spain’s. Those on a seafood fine dining trail through this rich, cultured country should take note of foodie capitals Lisbon and Porto, of course, but might also look to the southern coastline around the Algarve for standout dishes. From cutting-edge Michelin-starred numbers to newer rising stars, these are the places to go for the very best fish and seafood.

For travel inspiration: Portugal Destination Guide

Lota d’Avila, Lisbon

A plate of oysters sitting in glistening ice, with half a yellow lemon and bright green herb garnish

Modelled on the traditional Portuguese marisqueira (seafood restaurant), with glossy lobsters, crab and oysters displayed on ice at the counter, this is the place for an impressive seafood platter. Styled like a seafood market and beach bar, it serves elegant paellas, crab croquettes, deep-fried cuttlefish and seafood soup dreamt up by chef Vasco Lello. Sit up at the metal counter where you can see the shiny fruits de mer waiting to be seasoned and sizzled, or in elegant low-lit booths, or the beach-bar portion of the restaurant with its wicker light fixtures and blue-striped cushions. Fish lovers shouldn’t miss the chance to pick out a whole fish with their chef and have it grilled to their liking over a wood fire.

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Gruta, Porto

Elegantly plated seafood risotto, in light cream colours adorned with purple edible flowers and prawns rising from the centre.

Photo credit: @grutaporto on Instagram

Chef Rafaela Louzada is obsessed with seafood, and after you leave her restaurant, in the foodie northern city of Porto, you will be too. Gruta just earned the Bib Gourmand in the Spain and Portugal Michelin Guide, with its carefully curated menu of seafood fine dining and techniques from the north of Portugal. A simple cream dining room has exposed stone walls, raffia chairs and filament bulbs hanging from the ceiling; seafood rice comes sprinkled with edible flowers, while octopus carpaccio and grilled prawns keep things light. A female led team with a zest for this region’s flavours.

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JNcQUOI Beach Club, Comporta

A plate of oysters sitting in glistening ice, with half a yellow lemon and bright green herb garnish

Photo credit: @jncquoi.comporta

The jet set is catching on to the beachy enclave of Comporta, just south of Lisbon, where beachside restaurants sit alongside wild, unspoiled white sand dunes and turquoise sea. The seafood fine dining at this exclusive beach club ‒ the name is a play on ‘je ne sais quois’ ‒ is enjoyed with a view of Praia de Pego, one of the area’s best beaches; expect cod carpaccio with capers and arugula, zingy catch of the day ceviche and spaghetti with clams and bottarga, alongside showy oyster and seafood platters. Having one of the most elegant meals of your holiday, then stepping right onto soft sand? Heaven.

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Prado, Lisbon

Strips of calamari sit in a brown ceramic bowl, with a bright green herb garnish

Photo credit: @prado_restaurante on Instagram

Market produce and seasonal fare are king at this buzzed-about Lisbon opening, which is contained in a former fish factory. Decorative hanging plants and ferns are draped from high, industrial-chic ceilings, as are disused fish-canning tools, with sage-green tongue and groove surrounding leather banquettes. Chef António Galapito crafts delicate dishes of Azores squid with potato and ham butter, or seared tuna belly in tomato consomme ‒ the name, Prado, might mean field, but there’s plenty of riches from the sea to enjoy.

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Bomfim 1896, Douro Valley

Interior of dining room with river in background at bomfim 1896 restaurant

Photo credit: @bomfim1896 on Instagram

To the east of the northern city of Porto lies the Douro Valley, an undulating, emerald patch of terraced vineyards and glinting riverside. It’s becoming as much of a food hub for Portugal as Lisbon or Porto, a distinction encompassed beautifully by this 2023 opening, from the Symington family (the owners of Cockburn’s Port). Set alongside the river, with dazzling verdant views, its chef, Pedro Lemos, delivers a rustic-luxe menu of oysters, Algarve shrimp, and seafood stew. Many dishes are focused on wood-fired oven cooking: try the grilled violet prawns or roasted turbot with cassava mash.

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Casa de Chá da Boa Nova, Porto

A stunningly presented seafood tart with red and orange fruit and flower garnish served on a white plate

Photo credit: @casachaboanova on Instagram

A grand design by the sea, this listed national monument of a building sits above Praia da Boa Nova, just outside Porto. As a two-Michelin-star restaurant with the waves crashing on the rocks below, it feels fitting that seafood fine dining is the star of the show here: think tuna bao with wasabi, sardine escabeche macarons and scarlet shrimp in a wild mushroom broth. Chef Rui Paula took inspiration from a verse from a famous Portuguese poem, The Lusiads – “hitherto unchartered waters” – to create this innovative and cutting-edge experience.

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Ocean, Alporchinhos, Algarve

A couple dine overlooking he blue ocean, shown in black shilouette

Photo credit: @oceanrestaurant on Instagram

This high-end dining spot takes inspiration from Portugal’s history of global exploration and voyaging, with influences from Goa to Cape Verde, as well as making the most of the local fish and shellfish. Part of the five-star Vila Vita Parc resort, in Alporchinhos, this small, intimate dining room seating 35 has sea-view windows echoed by azure walls and corals displayed on high shelves. Chef Hanz Neuner has created an exquisite menu featuring Portuguese carabinero (scarlet prawn), Rio de Formosa oysters with samphire, champagne and caviar, and turbot with mushrooms and fermented banana. With two Michelin stars, this is one to make a detour for.

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