8 Lisbon restaurants to discover the city’s African diaspora
The landscape of Portuguese gastronomy is not complete without a certain African touch sautéed, coated in peanuts and seasoned with love. Colorful traces of Lusophone (Portuguese) Africa – which includes Guinea-Bissau, Angola, Cape Verde, Mozambique, Equatorial Guinea and São Tomé e Príncipe – can be found across the country, as people from the former colonies migrated to Portugal. with their culinary secrets in tow. As with most diasporic traditions around the world, these immigrants have created spaces where a sense of place can be accessed through food – and they range from street food stalls to elegant restaurants, with Ankara prints in place of tablecloths, and Afrobeat and Amapiano music pours through the city streets.
But humble or extravagant, an African dining experience in Lisbon is a distinct reminder of the many African communities that call this place home. Read on to discover Lisbon’s most delicious African dishes, from Cape Verdean cachupa eaten over Creole conversations and booming morna rhythms, to Mozambican crab curry from an award-winning chef in the Mouraria neighborhood.
The perfect place to indulge in Fela Kuti-soaked evenings while leaning on a plate of something tart, Mambo is perched prettily on Green Street (Rua da Silva), one of the most picturesque lanes in Lisbon and offers modern twists on Senegalese and Angolan favourites. Although this hip restaurant is tucked away in a neighborhood with a strong history of Diaspora settlement, Mambo is one of the few African-owned restaurants in the Santos area, but owners Gil Silva, Duda and Mamadou Faty hope there will be more in the future. . Here you’ll find one of the city’s most coveted plates of mafe (a stew with peanuts and tomatoes as the main flavors, soaked up with meat or vegetables), and an enviable record collection to match. There are also gluten-free and plant-based options, making the menu fresh and exciting while staying true to its African roots.
Where to find it: Rua da Silva n8
If your artsy, pan-African grandparents opened up their living room and turned it into a restaurant, it might look like Casa Mocambo. Owner Mafalda Nunes created the space in the name of Europe’s first African neighborhood to honor the original mocambo (meaning “place of refuge” in Ubuntu). With African art all over the walls and a plethora of well-watered plants, the restaurant is easily one of the most chosen restaurants in Lisbon for a casual Sunday dinner with Luso-Fusion staples. The menu includes fried fish with black beans, vegetables and fried plantain; pork with shrimp and sweet potato; and the famous vegetarian mocambo (grilled sweet potatoes with black beans, vegetables and mouth-watering good okra). Downstairs, local African and Afro-Brazilian artists perform live samba. Consider it the perfect place to refuel after climbing the steep hill of Rua do Vale de Santo António.
Where to find it: R. do Vale de Santo António 122A
Let Sofia’s Place show you the best of Cape Verdean and Portuguese cuisine, with hints of Brazilian, Cuban and other Caribbean flavors. Located in São Bento, it is a success as much for the atmosphere as for the food. Since opening in early 2022, it has earned its place in the community as a place to eat, drink and dance. Ana Sofia Lopes’ desire to create a community where the African Diaspora feel welcome and well represented has manifested itself not only in the restaurant’s creative menu, but also on Diaspora Fridays when the tables are pushed apart to dance to their top-notch musical selection. Before hitting the dance floor, enjoy arm legumes (vegetables cooked with onions, garlic and potatoes, and held together with scrambled eggs), bife de atum grelhado (grilled tuna ) and moamba de galinha (chicken stew).