It’s one of those places that both locals and tourists go to eat, drink and be entertained. If you didn’t know it was there, you might walk right past it on your way up to Lisbon’s castle, the Castelo de S. Jorge… but that would be a mistake. Come explore Chapitô à Mesa: a hidden little gem.
First-time visitors may walk past Chapitô à Mesa thinking it’s just another cute little store in one of Lisbon’s oldest neighborhoods. The unassuming façade is actually quite deceptive. Step foot inside and you’ll see what I mean. When you walk in, you’ll find yourself in a tiny store that sells jewelry and other colorful little souvenirs. You’ll then go down some steps and be greeted with an incredible and entirely unexpected view of Lisbon. I remember taking some foreign friends there one night and the reaction was one of awe and complete surprise. The cameras were immediately out for pictures.
Keep following the path and you’ll enter the restaurant. The circus decor that began as you walked down the steps continues inside. That’s because the restaurant isn’t exactly inside… it’s actually under a circus tent! Chapitô is a “Portuguese-ized” version of the word “chapiteau”, which means circus tent. But the theme doesn’t stop there. Sometimes there will be a circus-style show, and you can watch the show as you eat (tickets cost extra).
There’s a bar with a wide selection of drinks, including many Portuguese wines and spirits for you to try. Full confession: even though I’ve been to Chapitô à Mesa on several occasions, I’ve never actually eaten there. I’ve heard the food is good though! And if you’re lucky enough to get a seat with a view, that food will be even more enjoyable. The restaurant is equally as impressive during the day as it is at night, but – as you can see here – photos will come out much better with natural lighting. Even if you don’t end up eating here, you have to stop in for a pre- or post-meal drink!
Chapitô à Mesa is a unique little location that you’ll remember as one of those hidden gems in Lisbon. I guarantee you’ll recommend it to all your friends.
Location: Costa do Castelo 7, 1149-079 Lisboa.