The landscape of Portuguese gastronomy isn’t complete without a certain sautéed, peanut-coated, and lovingly seasoned African touch. Colorful traces of Lusophone (Portuguese-speaking) 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 have 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 home could be accessed through food—and they range from street-food stands to stylish restaurants, with Ankara print in the place of table cloths, and Afrobeat and Amapiano music spilling out onto the city streets.
A Lisbon African dining experience, whether modest or extravagant in nature, is a reminder of the diverse African communities that call Lisbon home. Find out the best African food in Lisbon. From Cape Verdean cachupa, eaten with Creole conversation and loud morna rhythms to a Mozambican Crab Curry from an award-winning Mouraria chef.
Mambo, a trendy eatery in a neighborhood with a long history of diaspora settlements in Santos, is one of only a few African-owned restaurants in the area. Though this trendy eatery is tucked 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, and 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 key flavors, absorbed by meat or vegetables), and an enviable record collection to match. You can also choose from gluten-free or plant-based dishes, keeping the menu exciting and true to its African roots.
You can find it on Rua da Silva no8
If your artsy, pan-African grandparents opened up their living room and turned it into a restaurant, it might look something like Casa Mocambo. Owner Mafalda Nunes created the space in the name of the first African neighborhood in Europe 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 Lisbon’s most choice eateries for a laidback Sunday dinner with Luso-Fusion staples. The menu features fried shrimp with sweet potato and sweet potato, fried black bean with vegetables, as well as fried sweet potato. There is also the famous vegetarian Mocambo (grilled sweet potatoes with black beans and vegetables). Live samba is played by local Afro-Brazilian and African artists in the basement. Consider this the ideal place to fill up 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’s a hit for the atmosphere as much as it is for the food. Since its opening at the beginning of 2022, the restaurant has established itself as a community favorite for eating, drinking, and dancing. Ana Sofia Lopes’ desire to create a community where the African diaspora felt welcomed and well-represented manifested not only in the restaurant’s creative menu, but also on Diaspora Fridays when tables are moved aside for dancing to their top-tier music selection. Before hitting the dance floor, tuck into legumes à brás (vegatables cooked with a base of onions, garlic, and potatoes, and held together with scrambled eggs), bife de atum grelhado (grilled tuna), and the classically adored moamba de galinha (chicken stew).