Hidden just behind the Rossio Arco is Merendinha do Arco, a restaurant where, despite the many tourists in this part of the city, you almost only encounter Lisboetas.
It is one of our favorite Tascas (Portuguese local eateries) in downtown Lisbon, it feels like a ‘secret escape’ between the many tourist restaurants in the Baixa district.
Favorite with Lisboetas since 1940
The restaurant was founded in 1940 and is currently run by David Castro (who is often found behind the bar), with his wife Fátima in the kitchen.
Merendinha do Arco is no-nonsense: simply furnished, hard working (male) service and a large part of the seats consists of three long tables that you can join. It is therefore possible that you will have your lunch next to a couple of noisy businessmen discussing their day.
The restaurant accommodates about 30 people. If you want to be sure of a spot, come a little later, between 2:30 – 3:00 p.m. Most locals will have eaten already and places will be available. It is not possible to book.
The Portuguese kitchen
The menu is typically Portuguese with dishes such as bacalhau com grao (cod with chickpeas), carne de porco Alentejana (pork with venus shells), secretos (pork), pataniscas de bacalhau (pancakes of cod) and much more.
We had bacalhau pataniscas de bacalhau e arroz de feijão and secretos. We really enjoyed the food. A good glass of house wine made our lunch complete. Including the chocolate mousse and 2 bicas for dessert we owed less than 32,- euro. And that includes the butter, bread and cheese that was put on our table beforehand.
If you really want to eat very traditional food, come on Thursday, because then they serve Cozido à Portuguesa.
Where to find Merendinha do Arco
Address: Rua dos Sapateiros 230, Baixa
Opening hours: Monday to Friday: 8 – 8 | Saturday from 8 a.m. – 3 p.m. | Sunday closed.