This is one of those restaurants that you will not stumble across on your exploration of Lisbon. It is located after Belém's main sights, hidden inside a private biomedical research foundation. Despite of this building being imposing, it has a discreet entrance and you need to know it exists.
The restaurant is all about Charles Darwin — this is a place that took its concept seriously. The room's size, the high ceilings with massive red lamps, and the wallpapers all around the room create an imposing surrounding to your meal. You will be immersed in vast illustrated fishes and bugs, bookshelves, Darwin's quotes, books and picture frames; even his name is exhibited in large physical typography — literally-right-in-the-middle-of-the-room.
The restaurant is busy at all times of the year, so it is best to book a table. If you are visiting in summer, make sure you have your meal outside.
This is the type of restaurant where you will be welcomed and sat by the manager. It is frequented by professionals and well-to-do families — some already recognized by the employees — looking for a modern and sophisticated place to have their meal.
The restaurant serves modern European food, and for risotto fans, this is the place to go — probably the best in town. Most of the time, there are special dishes on the day that are not part of the menu, which are worth the choice.
Compared with the average-portuguese-restaurant, Darwin's Café is costly — but still acceptable once compared with restaurants from some other European countries. The average price is 17€ per main dish.
Although this restaurant is one of the coolest places to eat inside, its highlight is the outdoor terrace. It has a large area right in front of the river, and sun protection to guarantee everyone eats in the shade. And if you're not visiting in summer, have at least your portuguese-expresso outside while enjoying the view.
Lobster in puff pastry with a green salad.
Duck with risotto
Duck tenderloin on a bed of orange risotto.
Any of the fish-black-risottos
Black risotto with salmon, mushrooms and coriander.
Don't miss the couvert!
Take the opportunity to explore the immediate surroundings. The Champalimaud Foundation's architecture is stunning. The waterfront promenade is a good scenery for photographers. If you need a little rest after your meal, sit on the lovely comfy benches facing the river.
Visit the restaurant's website:
(+351) 210 480 222