In Lisbon alone, I think I added an inch to my waistline with all the delicious food we ate during our 2 week trip in Portugal. There was no shortage of wonderful places to try. Although we didn’t quite to make it to all of them during our 4 day stay in Lisbon, we certainly tried to hit them all!
Below are 7 culinary highlights to experience while traveling in Lisbon, Portugal.
Housed above the entrance of the Timeout Market (more about that below), is Pap’Acorda, a modern restaurant serving up classic Portuguese fare. Greeted by a delicious couvert (Portuguese welcome plate) of house made bread, lemon marinated olives and tuna savouries (empanadas), I was excited about what was to come. Sam went with grouper fillets served in a lemony butter caper sauce, while I opted for the house specialty: the Acorda. I’ve never had a dish like this before, but it is essentially a savory bread pudding served with seafood and a raw egg. They bring out the cast iron pot to the table and then stir it all together, and the heat from the bread pudding flash cooks the raw egg. It is rich, gooey, and hearty and incredibly satisfying!
Ribeira (TimeOut) Market
This is the best place to go if you want to try some of Lisbon’s best cuisine — all in one spot! The market was recently purchased and refurbished by TimeOut, turning it into a naturally lit, airy market space right near the waterfront. All of the vendors have other stand-alone restaurants or shops around the city, and are annually curated by TimeOut to bring Ribeira customers the best selection of modern Portuguese cuisine.
From the minute you walk in, you’ll be bombarded with a delicious array of aromas and sounds! It is touristy, but also popular with locals so you’ll see a big mix of people. Honestly, I don’t think you could go wrong at any of the stalls, and you can easily create a full meal by purchasing different items from different vendors. If you go during the day, it feels like a big cafeteria, where you can pick from the best of the best. If you go at night (especially on the weekend) this will feel a lot more like a night club, with young people and live music fueled by craft cocktails.
Feitoria Restaurante & Bar
This was our first (yes, first) Michelin star restaurant of the trip, and what a creative adventure it was! It’s near the Belem neighborhood so a little outside the main downtown, but is well worth stop for the adventurous foodie. We opted for a 5-course tasting menu which took us on a culinary journey around Portugal, utilizing ingredients like spot prawns, sheep’s milk cheese and Algarve olive oil. Of all the Michelin restaurants we went to on our trip, this was by far the most creative in its combinations of flavors and techniques. Some of the dishes were misses for me, but some were also incredibly memorable. I’ll be doing a more thorough write-up of our Michelin experiences shortly, but the highlight dish from Feitoria was our black pork chops with smoked endive and a roasted garlic jus.
Barrio de Avillez
Part butcher shop, part tavern, part patio, Barrio de Avillez is a progressive culinary experience created by one of Portugal’s most prominent chefs — Jose Avillez. He owns nearby 2 Michelin star Belcanto but Barrio serves as a more approachable and laid-back ambiance. We ate in the patio for lunch, soaking in the smells and sounds of the open floor plan and kitchen. This space is seriously amazing.
A wise eater would start the meal with one of Barrio’s amazing cocktails. I, the non-drinker, had 3 of them! Sufficiently boozed up, we moved onto our food starting with the best charcuterie board we had all trip. Decked out with 3 different house cured meats (speck, prosciutto and dried chorizo) and 3 regional cheeses made with different types of milk (sheep, cow & goat), this alone could have filled us. But that wouldn’t be the prudent foodie thing to do, there was far too much else to try! I ordered a baked codfish rice stew which Sam got a grilled pork tenderloin. Served in a traditional copper crock pot, my stew was simple — shredded codfish over olives, onions and basmati rice — but it was just done damn well. The cocktails are spectacular; I, the non-drinker, had three of them! We finished off with a berry pavlova, a light and airy but sugary dessert that cleaned up our palates. We left Barrio floating on a cloud of booze, sugar and full bellies!
Lisbon’s downtown has a beautiful waterfront! You can walk for a few miles enjoying the scenery, people watching and traffic on the water. There are pocket parks all along the water front, filled with little food and drink vendors! During our walk, we stopped at the adorable Pitcher Cocktails cart, which serves adult beverages right along the water. They’ve got 3 different choices, and we opted for the spiked lemonade and the mojito. Served in an adorable mason jar, these drinks are just the right amount of sweet & refreshing!
Artisan gelato (or ice cream of any kind really…) has a special place in my heart. In my mind, there is just nothing more refreshing than gelato after a long day of walking around! Gelato Davvero is one of the newest shops on the Lisbon scene and it is located in the biggest up-and-coming neighborhood in the city. Be prepared for a wait at all hours of the day — sometimes the line goes around the block! Their flavors change regularly, but they are always seasonal and produced with local ingredients. I opted for two flavors, a super creamy pistachio and a light & refreshing mixed melon. You can also top if off with fresh made whipped cream, which I definitely recommend! There is a little plaza out front where you can sit and enjoy your sweet treat 🙂
Pasteis de Belem
If you’ve heard about any bakery in Lisbon prior to coming, it’s this one. In business for over 100 years, this is the birthplace of Lisbon’s most famous sweet treat — pasties de Nata. Visitors flock to this spot to taste the city’s best sweet custard tart with flaky carmelized crust and cinnamon topping. And for only 1 euro, it’s easy to eat 3 (or 4 or 5) of them in a sitting.. Since it’s famous, there is nearly always a line but thankfully, years of experience have made the operation pretty streamlined. We ordered up 6 of them and savored the warm gooey treats on a nearby park bench. Well worth a visit!
This post was originally published in November 2016 and updated in January 2020.
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