We are looking for suggestions for dinner while we are on this trip. We have nights on our own in both Lisbon and Madrid and would appreciate your thoughts.
I'm sorry no one has responded to your post. I presume your 2020 Douro tour has been canceled or will be soon. Hopefully, you have rebooked for 2021. I have been to Lisbon twice and to Madrid three times. Both are very vibrant cites rich in history, culture and cuisine. I prefer not to make specific restaurant recommendations since I do not know your preferences. I have had the best fish, particularly grilled octopus, in Lisbon. Most restaurants there do not open for supper until 1900 (7:00 PM), so you might wish to eat your main meal in the afternoon. There are many fine restaurants and cafes in the old quarter. I have also had nice meals at the Four Seasons Ritz located adjacent to the Intercontinental (the chosen Tauck hotel for this tour). I have not eaten there.
The Spaniards eat their main meal in the afternoon and enjoy their tapas as a snack in the evening. Subsequently, restaurants open for main dining from noon to 1500. They will not open again until 2200 (10 PM). I would suggest going to Plaza Mayor which is an easy walk from the Tauck hotel. Yes, it is a favorite spot for tourists, but you will find many outside cafes where you can have a meal and "people watch" for hours. Very close to the Plaza is Mercado de San Miguel, a small but delightful closed-in market where you will find an array of tapas, sandwiches and pastries. Also close to the Plaza is Restaurante Sobrino de Botin which opened in 1725 and was a favorite of Ernest Hemingway, so much so that he made reference to their signature dish, roast suckling pig, in his novel, The Sun Also Rises. This restaurant does have extended afternoon dining hours but reservations are imperative since it is extremely popular with the locals. Finally, the hotel has a lovely rotunda and bar where you can have very nice meals.
I hope I have not bored you. Other than my original homeland, the Iberian Peninsula is my favorite place to visit. Stay safe and well and happy travels!
Since this discussion has been revived I will toss in a restaurant in Lisbon that is close to the Four Seasons Ritz hotel. The restaurant is Forno d'Oro. Really lovely Italian restaurant, with some nice desserts as well.
I wonder how many restaurants will close for good around the world.
Thanks to all. Our 2020 Douro trip was cancelled. We already have two trips on the books in 2021 so we may not get on this one until 2022. It will be interesting to see just how many restaurants will survive the pandemic.