Foodies Guide Lisbon – Best food to try and places to eat at

 

When it comes to delicious local cuisine, Portugal is one of the leaders in this category on the whole continent of Europe. Unique recipes, combined with fresh products and lovely ambience – this can hardly be topped.

Are you planning a trip to the beautiful Portuguese capital? Check out my guide on how to spend the perfect 2, 3 or 4 days in Lisbon here!

If you’re wondering what are some traditional foods and drinks that need to be tried – look no further. I have gathered the perfect list for what to eat and drink in Lisbon, as well as the best places to eat at, a.k.a. – a full foodies guide to Lisbon.

Make sure you’ve eaten something before hand, or your tummy might start gurgling, and your mouth – watering. Just a friendly warning!

Foodies guide Lisbon

What to eat in Lisbon – Traditional Portuguese Food

  • Pasteis de nata

Foodies Guide Lisbon pasteis de nata

The number one thing that pops up in my mind when I think of food in Lisbon, is pasteis de nata. These delicious custard tarts are one of the most traditional Portuguese things, and they can be found everywhere around the city. In essence, pasteis de nata are egg tart pastries, usually served dusted with cinnamon.

At first I wasn’t sure whether I’d like them, since I’ve never been a fan of creamy, egg-y desserts, but.. oh my gosh… I probably ate around 20 of these tarts in just a few days in Lisbon. I even ended up buying a whole box of them so I can bring some home and give them to my friends to try!

  • Bacalhau

Cod, which is English for bacalhau,  is one of the most iconic traditional Portuguese dishes. Bacalhau more specifically means dried and salted cod, which is how locals like to prepare it. There are over 100 recipes in Portugal on how to prepare bacalhau, and some of the options you could try are bacalhau de natas, bacalhau de bras or bacalhau de molho.

  • Seafood

Foodies guide Lisbon Seafood

Apart from the popular cod dishes, the rest of the seafood in Lisbon is also excellent, to say the least. Restaurants serve fresh fish, shellfish and other delicacies, which won’t leave you unsatisfied.

Seafood restaurants in Lisbon are usually small, loud and crowded, and the tables are never left free for too long. You might get the impression that servers are being less attentive, but that’s only because restaurants are usually jam packed with people, and they do their best to serve everyone. The fresh and delicious food should be a good enough compensation though.

Try some sardines, prawns, shellfish – it’s a seafood heaven over here.

  • Bifana

One of the main sandwiches of Portugal is bifana – thinly sliced pork in a bread bun. The meat is slowly cooked in white wine and it’s seasoned with garlic and other spices. The pork is juicy and sometimes a bit greasy, which makes it a perfect snack after a night of drinking.

Locals usually pair bifana with a glass of beer on the side. Bifanas differ from region to region, and in Lisbon the sandwich is usually topped with some mustard.

Some places where you can eat  the best bifanas are Casa das Bafinas, O Trevo, As Bifanas do Afonso and Beira Gare.

  • Caldo Verde

One of the most popular soups in Portuguese cuisine, and another must-try food in Lisbon, is caldo verde – the “green broth”. Traditionally it’s being made with potatoes, collard greens, olive oil and salt, as well as garlic and onion. Some people like adding meat, such as ham hock.

Any local traditional restaurant or fado club should have caldo verde on their menu. A good place to give this soup a taste would be O Caldo Verde restaurant, as well as Restaurante A Merendinha do Arco.

  • Azeitão

If you’re a fan of cheese, this is definitely something you should add on your what to eat in Lisbon list. Azeitão is a unique Portuguese cheese, originating from the town of Azeitão, as the name implies. This cheese has been named among the 50 best gastronomic products in the world for 2014 by the Great Taste Awards.

Taste it with bread as a started, as a snack at any point throughout the day, or as a dessert with some jam. You can find this speciality in Lisbon’s best wine and cheese bars and shops.

  • Alheira

Some call it the king of Portuguese sausages – alheira is a distinguishable smoked sausage made out of numerous types of meat, like chicken, turkey, duck, rabbit etc.

Originally, alheira was a pork-free sausage created by the Jews during the inquisition. During this period Jews were easily found by the lack of hanging traditional pork sausages at their own smokehouses, so they decided to disguise themselves by creating sausages from whatever other type of meat they had at hand.

Nowadays alheira has gained popularity in the whole country, and the sausage can be made out of anything, even vegetarian. Some good places to try alheira at are Pastelaria Baixa Do Chiado in the Rossio district and Adega Bate Fundo in Graca.

 

What to drink in Lisbon

  • Green Wine

Vinho Verde, or green wine, is a traditional Portuguese wine that originated in the Minho province. What differentiates it from other wines is the fact that green wine is being released after 3-6 months after the grapes are harvested. This is why it is also being called “young wine”.

Green wines are usually light and fresh, and they can often be a slightly sparkling because of the way they are being produced. By the name of it, I firstly thought I was going to literally get a green wine, but in reality it usually looks just white wine, even though you could also get a red one or a rose as well.

You can find green white in just about every menu in Portuguese restaurants, as well as in most bars. Or just play it cheap and get a whole bottle from the supermarket.

  • Ginjinha

Ginjinha, or just Ginja, is a Portuguese liquor made out of ginja berries. It is usually served in a shot, with a cherry at the bottom. This alcoholic drink is typical for the region of Lisbon, Alcobaca and Obidos.

The most famous place to taste some Ginja, is a little walk-up shop, called A Ginjinha. The store is conveniently located in the very city centre, right next to Rossio square and Rossio rail station.

We, however, got a taste of this delicious cherry liquor during the free walking tour we took. One of the stops was at a local man’s house, who sells ginja shots from his own window for 1 euro. I am not the biggest fan of the taste of alcohol in general, but I have to admit this liquor was delicious! And strong..

 

Where to eat in Lisbon

  • Pasteis De Belem

Foodies Guide Lisbon Pasteis de Belem

You already know you need to try the traditional pastel de nata, which can be found all around Lisbon. However, there is a special and unique type of pastel de nata, called pastel de Belem, which can only be bought in one single place in all of Portugal – Pasteis de Belem. This place is a cafe, bakery and factory all at once and it’s where these famous Portugese tarts are made according to a secret recipe, which no one else knows.

Pasteis de Belem is located right next to the Monastery of Jeronimos, and the queues in front of it are endless. If you have time on your hands and you want to enjoy the tasty tarts over a coffee, I strongly advise you to sit inside instead of waiting in line. The queues outside are only for take-away and can take more than half an hour, depending on how many people there are. However, there are over 400 seats inside, where you will be served immediately, which makes the whole experience a lot more pleasurable.

I personally tried both normal pastel de nata and the special pastel de Belem, and it’s safe to say that the latter one wins. In my opinion the taste of pasteis de Belem was more subtle and more balanced, while the ordinary ones had a way more egg-y flavour.

  • Cafe Boutik

Foodies guide Lisbon

I accidentally walked past this cafe one morning, and as I caught a glimpse of it, I slowly walked backwards to take one more look, then confidently decided to walk in. Best decision ever.

Cafe Boutik serves as a small boutique as well, offering interesting handmade things and more vintage-looking clothing. They also have surf boards, longboards, and all sorts of cool stuff.

The interior is very earthy and chill, and the menu offers some of the yummiest and healthiest meals around. On top of that the staff is exceptionally nice.

I hadn’t read about this place anywhere previously, so stumbling across it was pure luck. I tried their acai bowl and pancakes, as well as a fresh juice, and everything was very delicious. Highly recommended!

  • LX Factory

Once you enter the LX Factory, it feels like its a whole world on its own. It’s filled with cafes and restaurants for any taste. The atmosphere of the place is what makes it a unique experience – every shop or restaurant has its own special vibes, interesting interior and creative decor.

There are plenty of coffee shops and restaurants to choose from, so just go for the one that seems most appealing to your personal taste. Amongst the top restaurants, based on TripAdvisor reviews, are 1300 Taberna, Burger Factory, O Bolo da Marta. For a gorgeous view head over to Rio Maravilha.

  • Time Out Market

lisbon foodies guide time out market

Time Out Market is an absolute food mecca, offering everything from pasteis de nata and all sorts of deserts, to delicious local seafood, as well as foreign cuisine. In other words, there is something for everyone, and you won’t leave this place hungry. The market in itself is not that big, so you can plan an hour or two (max) to spend here and enjoy some yummy food.

  • Ground Burger

Foodies Guide Lisbon Burger

I had seen this exact place in some food guides for Lisbon before, but I had no idea it’s located in Time Out Market itself. When I got there, I saw so many people having these great looking burgers, so I had to get one. Later on, I checked my travel journal just to find out that I had Ground Burger written down as the place with the best burgers in all of Lisbon. And it was legit such a tasty burger!

  • Castinho Lusitano

Castinho Lusitano  serves hands down the most delicious food I have ever had in my life. It was so incredibly good, that we had to go back for a second dinner there during our short stay in Lisbon. The dishes they serve bring absolute pleasure to your taste buds and offer flavours you have surely not tasted before.

Like other Portuguese restaurants, the way this place works is that you order a few small dishes to share. If you are two people, it is recommended you get between 3 and 4 dishes. This is more than perfect because it gives you an opportunity to try as much from the menu as possible. My personal favourite things were the goat cheese in honey, as well as the “Pica Pau” beef with sweet potato fries.

If I had to rate it, I would give it 11 out of 10 points – great service, incredible food and fair pricing. I would undoubtedly go back there if I ever visit Lisbon again.

Be sure to make a reservation beforehand if you want to get a table, as there are only around 10 tables in the whole restaurant and it gets full very quickly.

  • Taberna da Rua das Flores

This exact restaurant had some of the best reviews and highest rates on TripAdvisor, hence why I decided to put it in this guide. If you decide to try it out, you need to know that they don’t accept reservations – lines of people form every single evening so they can be put on the ‘waiting’ list for this particular night. As most typical Portuguese restaurants, they have very few tables, so it is close to impossible to get a free spot right away.

We showed up at 6pm and were told we had to wait around an hour to be seated, which I was more than willing to do as I was determined to eat at this place.  Average waiting time is 1-2 hours, so you can take the time to wander around the streets or just get a drink at a different place until it’s time to go back.

The menu works the same way as the previous restaurant I mentioned – you order a few dishes, which you share with the rest of the table. The experience in itself is quite interesting – they don’t have printed menus, as the choice of dishes changes daily, sometimes even within the day. A server would come to you with a huge black board where the menu is listed, and will explain everything to help you decide what to get.

The service was very professional, and they had many interesting dishes to choose from, which is probably why people enjoy this place so much. But if I have to be honest, I was not impressed when it comes to their food. I didn’t find it nearly as good as Castinho Lusitano, and it was way overpriced. We paid double as much, and the food was much worse.

I know so many tourists want to go to this restaurant, and you can do so if you feel like it, but to me this was a loss of time and money, for something that is overrated.

 

You might also enjoy: How to spend the perfect 2, 3 or 4 days in Lisbon

 

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Foodies guide Lisbon

 

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