COimbra travel guide

Where to eat in Coimbra

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At the centre of Central Portugal lies Coimbra, an ancient city with a young student heart. The food scene in Coimbra covers it all, from fine dining and chic restaurants to rooftop bars and late-night kebab shops. There are half a dozen must-try regional sweets, plus hearty local specialities like chanfana (rich goat stew) and Bairrada-style leitão (roast suckling pig).

Here’s my pick of restaurants and where to eat and drink in Coimbra.

Where to eat in Coimbra

Zé Manel dos Ossos

Ossos. Bones. The specialty of the house. When you order this dish you receive a small silver tray loaded high with the spine bones of a pig that have been simmered and stewed in a peppery broth. Delicious? Absolutely. But that’s just to start. At this tiny six-table true tasca it’s also essential to order wild boar. Ask for a half dose of the feijoada de javali (bean stew with boar) or oven-baked boar and a jug of white or red wine. This place isn’t a secret and has very few tables, so arrive early and be nice to Mario, your host. Be early or be prepared to wait for the next sitting – like we had to. Cash only.

Refeitro da Baixa €€

The best date night restaurant in Coimbra must be Refeitro da Baixa. Slightly more upmarket, this gorgeous little restaurant shares the space with the last ceramic factory in Coimbra (which has apparently been open since 1824). Our table was next to a roaring fireplace and beneath the giant flue of the former kiln. We could see right into the workshop through big glass windows. Finally, a restaurant that combines my two loves – artisanal ceramics and food! Food-wise, the tuna ceviche might be the best and most interesting I’ve tried in Portugal, and the confit bacalhau (salted cod) was a perfect modern take on bacalhau com o grão-de-bico (salted cod with chickpeas). Pair with a local wine from Bairrada, of course.

A Cozinha da Maria €€

The best chanfana (goat stew) I’ve ever eaten is at this small restaurant in downtown Coimbra. The waiter ran over with huge oven mitts grasping a bubbling terracotta pot loaded with our dark, rich goat stew. Once we stuffed ourselves silly on the generous portion of meat, we wanted to bottle up the remaining broth and flavour our lives with it. The alheira (smoked brid sausage) croquettes and vegetarian mushroom risotto were also great, and the staff were super kind.

Read next: 36 hours in Coimbra

Doppo

Doppo is a double threat, peddling both the best specialty coffee AND artisan Italian gelato in Coimbra. We stopped for a great (and cheap, compared to Lisbon) flat white and returned later in the afternoon to try classic and fun gelato flavours. I had the chocolate, fig and almond gelato, and Jorge tried the banoffee rum. Excellent texture and consistency.

More top restaurants, tascas and bars to try in Coimbra

I can’t eat everywhere, but it’s on my list. Here’s where else I’d love to eat at in Coimbra:

Where to drink with a view in Coimbra

Loggia

For brilliant views over Coimbra as the sun sets, venture to this little cafe for a beer or drink. Loggia is set on an ultra-modern terrace within the former Bishop’s Palace and the Machado de Castro Museum. Alternatively, grab a takeaway beer from a small bar and join the students at the miradouro viewpoint next door.

Passaporte

Another killer spot for drinks with a view in Coimbra, Passaporte’s location is unbeatable. This very cool ‘lounge bar” is set in a historic manor where sunset drinks can turn into a special dinner date.

Related Blog: Tile of the day: Step inside Capela de São Miguel in Coimbra

Sweets and desserts in Coimbra

Every single town in Portugal seems to have a local sweet and they always relate back to the church. Coimbra is filled with ancient convents and monasteries, and – surprise, surprise – there are half a dozen traditional confections to try, some whose recipes date back hundreds of years.

  • Pastéis de Santa Clara 
  • Arrufadas
  • Pudim das Clarissas
  • Crúzios
  • Bolo de Santo António
  • Biscoitos Académicos

In the city you can also find pastries from the greater Coimbra egion, including:

  • Pastéis and queijadas from Tentúgal
  • Nevadas de Penacova
  • Queijadas de Pereira

Cafe Santa Cruz

Legend has it that this cafe, located next to the namesake monastery, opened in 1530 as the “church of the poor” so patrons didn’t bother the monks or aristocracy. After the 1822 revolution, the smaller building wasn’t needed and so it became a cafe. This all said, Café Santa Cruz only officially opened in 1923 and has since been a meeting point for writers, journalists and literary types. The space feels distinctly medieval inside with vaulted ceilings and dark wood features. Drop by for a bica (espresso) inside or on the terrace, and return for Fado later on. Here you can try Crúzios.

Pasteleria Briosa

Where to eat local sweets in Coimbra? Briosa! This bakery has served the population of Coimbra since 1955. Order a Pastel Tentúgal, Queijada Coimbra, Pastel de Santa Clara or Suspiro Briosa to taste some of the award-winning sweets.

That’s my guide on where to eat and drink in Coimbra. If you have more suggestions, leave me a comment below… 

And… if you want that late-night kebab you’ll find half-a-dozen spots along Avenida Sá da Bandeira.

More Coimbra: 36 hours in Coimbra and inside Capela de São Miguel

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Daniela Sunde-Brown

Daniela Sunde-Brown

I'm an Australian travel and food writer who has called Lisbon home since 2018. To help others explore Portugal, I write deep stories about Portuguese traditions, regional dishes, local artisans, and sustainable fashion and ceramics
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Headshot of Daniela Sunde-Brown in a tiled dress with a straw hat on

Olá, I'm Daniela

I’m an Australian travel and food writer who has called Lisbon home since 2018. To help others explore Portugal, I write deep stories about Portuguese traditions, regional dishes, local artisans, and sustainable fashion and ceramics 🙂

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