Espaco Lisboa

(Last updated: May 27, 2024)

Given that I literally live next door to Espaco Lisboa, I’ve been visiting it quite a bit in 2024.  The result is that I’m far more knowledgeable about their food now, especially in terms of what to avoid. For so many places in Macau, and I know this isn’t limited to just Macau, but it does seem 1000% true here, is that restaurants are only as good as what you order. And believe me, when things go wrong at Espaco Lisboa, they just don’t go sideways, they curl, bend, twist, and contort in ungodly ways, like that grievous figure from Picasso’s Old Guitarist.

To wit, their African Chicken ($162) is unlike anything I’ve ever seen in my life.  In fact, in no universe I’m aware of could it actually be called African Chicken, since they do it in their own foul, misinformed fashion.

African Chicken at Espaco Lisboa
African Chicken

It’s just this crusty, shrivelled round mound of fowl that I literally could not finish.  Zero stars, in this case, feels like too many, as it probably deserves -2.

The Pork with Clams ($178) is another abomination, a dish so poorly put together that I question everything about its existence.

Espaco Lisboa pork with clams
Pork with Clams

The huge indiscriminate chunks of pork needed to be half the size at least, then prepped in a way that they didn’t make them taste a week old. Extremely dry, they had no synergy with the clams and pretty much ruined everything. Beyond the sauce being pretty tasty, good for dipping in bread, everything else about the execution was a total fail, worthy of 0 stars.

In order to salvage the dish somewhat, I paired it with two bowls of rice, not knowing that extra rice costs a whopping $40 at Espaco Lisboa.  No, that is not a misprint.  It’s usually no more than $10 in other joints, so don’t make the same mistake I did.

The Macau Sole is another rough choice, and particularly frustrating to boot, given it’s one of the safest, most consistent fish dishes in town.  Quite straightforward to make, it should be fresh, light and super tasty, the polar opposite of Macau’s heavy oily bacalhau that will put you to sleep after three bites.

Macau Sole at Espaco Lisboa Macau
Macau Sole

For some reason, Espaco Lisboa puts a fried banana on top, which does nothing to enhance the flavour of the fish, just take it away.  Besides that, the preparation style was something akin to what you might get in a fast food restaurant, as in too charred and too deep fried, if that’s indeed how it’s done.  Regardless it was a pretty lame dish, good for 1 star.

The last two mains to disappoint, but only slightly so, are the Fish Stew ($208) and Prawn Curry ($155).

Fish Stew at Espaco Lisboa Macau
Fish Stew

A solid 3.5 star dish, the Fish Stew would probably work better with rice, but is served with potatoes instead.  Not exactly brimming with fish, the tomato sauce was a fine complement, and the various ingredients did work pretty well together.  I just thought it needed more of a foundation, which neither the thin sauce nor potatoes were able to provide.

The Prawn Curry ($155) is another decent selection, one that would probably function better as an appetizer than a main.

Espaco Lisboa Prawn Curry
Prawn Curry

Sufficiently spicy and served with rice, the prawns were super fresh and prepped well, just not very filling.  A good way to start a meal, it’s probably not the way you want one to end.

Now that we’ve gotten the low lights out of the way, it’s time to show why Espaco Lisboa still carries that shiny 4.5 star rating.  The first reason is because of the superstar wait staff, who are just as much a reason to visit the restaurant as the food itself.  A big Maven of Macau shout out to Evelyn, Jennifer, and Jennylin, three fun Filipino ladies who are masters of their craft and saints of service, always making everyone feel so welcome and at home there.  Counselling and consoling me over many a long night, they’ve been privy to all the trials and tribulations of my turbulent life: the stresses of waiting for blue cards, of cutting blue cards, of lost cats, lousy bosses, and loathsome students, of blackmail and bullying, all the while keeping the bread coming and the Bordeaux glass full.  It also doesn’t hurt that when I order half a litre of wine, it’s actually a litre, and when I say a litre, it really means a litre and a half, as they pimp that pour and make it last a lot longer that it should.  Having been banished from Macau temporarily yet again, I must say I am missing them deeply now.

The second reason Espaco Lisboa retains 4.5 stars is because their best dishes simply merit that ranking.  Their daily specials can be quite fantastic, not to mention tremendous values, often costing just $98.  Available at lunch, and served with soup and coffee, the Feijoada and Fish Fillet are both outstanding selections, with the Feijoada enough to feed two people.

Espaco Lisboa feijoada
Feijoada

Appearances can be deceiving in pictures but that is not a small bowl, and it’s pretty outrageous (or sickening) that I can finish all of that myself, along with the side of rice that comes with it, then still want more bread afterwards.

Espaco Lisboa fish fillet
Fish Fillet

The Fish Fillet packs quite the punch as well, and is so much better than the Macau Sole already mentioned above.  With two generous pieces, it’s surprisingly filling in its own right, topped off by tasty tomato rice and small salad.

Espaco Lisboa meat skewer
Meat Skewer

The Meat Skewer is not something I’d usually order, but for $98, I take the value and run. Besides that, it goes very well with their house wine, which costs $60 for a 500 ml or $95 for 1 litre. Trusted sources tell me it comes from a box, and that it can be bought in a supermarket around town, so don’t expect too much.  If you want something better than just barely adequate, order one of their bottles instead.

The last special of note is the Octopus Rice, which goes for a bit more, running $190.  I really can’t tell it apart from their normal Seafood Rice, which I waxed ecstatic about in the original review, but won’t anymore, since it costs too much now ($360).

Octopus Rice at Espaco Lisboa
Octopus Rice

Prepped in the same way, with the same soupy tomato broth, it’s an excellent example of one of Portugal’s most celebrated dishes.  Any type of seafood rice in Macau is usually pushing $300, so snap up this amazing value while you can.

Bowl of Octopus Rice at Espaco Lisboa Macau
Bowl of Octopus Rice

Espaco Lisboa has two other 5 star dishes worth trying, starting with the Barbecue Chicken for $155.  A firm favourite among regular clientele, and for good reason, it’s a moist tasty bird, done pretty much to perfection.  My only reservation is that you might want to be more adventurous with your dining selections while in Macau, instead of choosing something you can probably have anytime at home.

Espaco Lisboa Barbecue Chicken
Barbecue Chicken

Perhaps saving the best for last, allow me to present my personal favourite, the masterful Duck Rice ($162), a dish that I order regularly at Espaco Lisboa.

Duck Rice at Espaco Lisboa
Duck Rice

As you can see, it’s usually served with an egg on top, which can be removed if you ask them to.  While not the best Duck Rice in town, as that honour belongs to Vic’s Restaurant over at Fisherman’s Wharf, Espaco Lisboa’s version is still sensational, as every bite brings succulent duck and slightly moist rice together in a stirring symphony of love.  A must order, especially if you’re in a group, it’s absolutely the best thing they do.

Three appetizers also hit the mark, and I’ve yet to have a starter at Espaco Lisboa that disappoints.  While the clams and prawns described below are better, they also do nice Octopus Salad ($145), Codfish Cakes ($99), and Roasted Sausage ($88).

Octopus Salad at Espaco Lisboa
Octopus Salad
Codfish Cakes at Espaco Lisboa
Codfish Cakes
Roasted Sausage at Espaco Lisboa
Roasted Sausage

The octopus salad is the best appetizer of the bunch, and the one to choose, after only the clams and prawns described in my first visit below.

***

Espaço Lisboa is a wonderful find in Coloane Village, a charming little restaurant tucked away in a back street close to A.R Eanes Square.

Espaço Lisboa Macau

Set inside a restored two-story home, the environment inside is very warm and inviting and they even have outside seating upstairs on the second floor by way of a small balcony.

Espaço Lisboa 2nd floor balcony

The service staff is pre-dominantly Filipino and were in a bit of a bind the first afternoon I visited back in 2014.  You see, Manny Pacquiao was fighting at the Venetian that day and they had to walk the tightrope between working and following the action live over the radio near the bar.

Espaço Lisboa ground floor

I can’t say their service didn’t suffer because of it, but I definitely appreciated the updates I got between rounds, as Manny pummelled some American who had no business being in the same ring with him.

Suffice to say, that put the staff in unusually high spirits that day, and I was feeling pretty good myself, no doubt aided by the decent red we had flowing for $200 called Monte Da Pata.

Espaco Lisboa Macau painting and table

My friend and I paired that with some pretty standard Portuguese dishes: Clams with Garlic ($118), Prawns with Garlic ($118), Seafood Soup ($65), Lobster Bisque Soup ($104), Grilled Lamb Chops ($167) and Grilled Sea Bass ($181).  For dessert, we gave the sweet tooth some love with Serradura ($53) and Ice Cream with Cherry ($116).

Most of what we ordered was seafood and it was all masterful, in particular the clams, prawns and two soups.

Espaço Lisboa prawns with garlic
Prawns with Garlic
Espaço Lisboa clams with garlic
Clams with Garlic
Espaço Lisboa seafood soup
Seafood Soup

The Grilled Sea Bass was a more controversial selection – I loved it, while my friend didn’t care of the lemon butter sauce that came with it.

Espaço Lisboa grilled sea bass
Grilled Sea Bass

Besides the seafood though, everything else was disappointing.  The Grilled Lamb Chops were far too chewy and the fact that they were barbecued gave it a weird kind of taste, one I’d rather not experience again.

Espaço Lisboa grilled lamb chops
Grilled Lamb Chops

Both desserts were forgettable as well, in particular the Serradura, which tasted clumpy and dry.

Espaço Lisboa serradura
Serradura
Espaço Lisboa ice cream with cherry
Ice Cream with Cherry

In the end though, the seafood at Espaco Lisboa is just too good to pass up.  That’s why the restaurant gets 4.5 stars overall and what you should be ordering when you go there.

Espaço Lisboa seafood rice
(Soupy) Seafood Rice

I’m also a big fan of their seafood rice, which is a perfect dish for those dining in pairs.  (Far too pricey nowadays in 2024, running $380, try and get their daily special octopus rice instead, which costs half.)

Espaço Lisboa seafood rice
Seafood Rice

One of Coloane Village’s very best restaurants, I’ll certainly be returning to Espaço Lisboa often in the future.

General Information

Maven Score

Address 9 Rua dos Gaivotas
Business Hours:
12:00 pm to 3:00 pm
6:30 pm to 10:00 pm (Mon to Fri) 
12:00 pm to 10:00 pm (Sat and Sun)
*Closed on Wed
Price Range: $$
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