Yesterday, in a glitzy, red carpet ceremony at the Algarve’s NAU Salgados Palace & Congress Center, the MICHELIN Guide put on a spectacle to celebrate Portugal’s ever-evolving culinary scene. And while Portugal has hosted the Spain-Portugal joint Gala before, this year is particularly special – it’s the first time Portugal has had its own dedicated award ceremony, finally lifting Portuguese chefs out of Spain’s shadow.

Portugal’s ever-growing clutch of inventive chefs have been consistently striving for more recognition for decades, starting to earn their (well deserved) places on the World’s Best Chef lists and opening internationally acclaimed dining rooms. Yet it was around a year ago, when MICHELIN announced at a swanky event in Porto that Portugal would receive its own dedicated Gala, that tongues began wagging: was Portugal about to get its first three-starred restaurant?

Sadly, Tuesday’s event didn’t bring an elusive third star to the famed chefs such as Rui Paula or Ricardo Costa, but it did elevate plenty of other chefs into the Recommended and Bib Gourmand sections of the guide. Here’s everything you need to know about Portugal’s MICHELIN dining scene in 2024, and hopefully, this time next year, we’ll be reporting on that top-of-the-pack third star!

A dish at Rui Paula's Casa de Chá da Boa Nova which retained is Two Star designation
A dish at Rui Paula’s Casa de Chá da Boa Nova which retained is Two Star designation / Credit: Daniel James Clarke

Why is 2024 such an exciting year for Portugal’s chefs?

The MICHELIN Guide’s international team of inspectors has been stalking the country more than ever. With the launch of Portugal’s own dedicated Gala and an investment from Visit Portugal, there has never been a better time for Portugal’s chefs to shine and hopefully get themselves a place in the converted Guide. And these surprising evolutions are coming from all corners, not just big cities like Lisbon and Porto, but more and more recognition is being seen across the mainland and Madeira, although the Azores, as of yet, remain relatively unsung. 

Gwendal Poullennec, the International Director of the MICHELIN Guides, emphasized the impressive growth of the Portuguese gastronomic scene at Tuesday’s Gala award ceremony. Lauding the young local chefs who have established their own concepts and who are, in turn, reshaping Lusophone cuisine. 

Portugal's MICHELIN Gala in 2024
Portugal’s MICHELIN Gala in 2024 / Credit: Daniel James Clarke

How many new MICHELIN stars were given in 2024?

Over the two-hour-long ceremony, 30 new restaurants were added to the “Recommended” list; eight new restaurants received the Bib Gourmand award, given for high quality and fair price ratio; four new restaurants received One Star; and one restaurant was upgraded to Two Star level.

Overall, it was a resounding success for Portugal’s gastronomic scene as all current Two Star restaurants retained their titles, something that Poullennec stressed is no easy task when you’re amongst the best restaurants in the world.

The biggest win of the night was for Chef Vitor Matos and his team, who were awarded their second star at Antiqvvm in Porto. But not only did Matos gain a second star for his flagship restaurant, but he also saw success with his Lisbon opening, 2Monkeys Restaurant, receiving One Star, and the recognition of Chef Rita Magro, one of his prodigies at Porto’s Blind, receiving the MICHELIN Young Chef Award.

Other successes in the One Star category were Desarma in Funchal, Ó Balcão in Santarém, and SÁLA by João Sá in Lisbon.

MICHELIN Green Star winners

Portugal now has five restaurants awarded the MICHELIN Green Star, a special recognition for chefs and kitchens who are working hard at putting sustainability at the heart of everything they do while also being conscious leaders for the environment across the culinary scene.

The two new winners of MICHELIN Green Stars in Portugal for 2024 were Malhadinha Nova in Albernoa and Ó Balcão, which later received its first MICHELIN star.

MasterChef Portugal judge Chef Noélia Jerónimo's self-named restaurant earned Recommended status
MasterChef Portugal judge Chef Noélia Jerónimo’s self-named restaurant earned Recommended status / Credit: Daniel James Clarke

Successes in the Bib Gourmand and Recommended Categories

There are now 32 restaurants in Portugal with the Bib Gourmand, and these dining rooms are the perfect reservation for a fantastic yet affordable meal as they celebrate the best quality-to-price ratio.

The eight new Bib Gourmand winners in Portugal for 2024 were Flora in Viseu, Inato Bistrô in Braga, Norma in Guimarães, Olaias in Figueira da Foz, OMA in Baião, O Pastus in Paço de Arcos, Patio 44 in Porto and PODA in Montemor-o-Novo.

In the Recommended category of Portugal’s MICHELIN Guide, which spotlights fantastic restaurants that are mainly focused on traditional gastronomy, there are now 96 listings, including 21 new awards from 2024. Some of the most notable new listings were Blind in Porto, headed up by MICHELIN’s Young Chef of the Year, Bomfim 1896 in the Douro Valley, a partnership with legendary chef Pedro Lemos, and Restaurante Noélia in the Algarve, which is led by beloved MasterChef Portugal judge Noélia Jerónimo—who received a wild round of applause from all attending. 

Two other special awards were given to Pedro Marques of Gaia’s The Yeatman for Service and the Sommelier Award to Leonel Nunes of Madeira’s Il Gallo d’Oro, which was celebrated for its extensive Portuguese Winelist.

What can we expect from the 2025 Michelin list?

As the culinary scene in Portugal continues to evolve, the anticipation for the 2025 Michelin list is palpable. The MICHELIN Guide Portugal 2024 has already set a high standard, showcasing the country’s culinary maturity and the audacity of its chefs.

And while the third star never came in 2024, perhaps that was to be expected – restaurants must show considerably consistent quality over numerous visits before the anonymous judges award such a high level of recognition, so the hopes are high for 2025. While it hasn’t been confirmed that the Gala will again be a separate event, it’s certainly expected, given the elevated status Portuguese gastronomy now has on the world stage.

To see the full list of all restaurants, review the new MICHELIN Portugal Guide online.