So, you’ve arrived in Lisbon. Maybe your flight had you up in the early hours of the morning; maybe your train was a little delayed; maybe you’re still buzzing with the excitement of exploring an unknown city. Either way, you are HUNGRY. But where do you start?
Cities can be overwhelming in their options. It seems that there is so much to see and do that you will never be able to pick. But never fear: this handy guide will lead you through the best of Lisbon’s Portuguese restaurants and cafes, making sure to include traditional yet delicious food. From breakfast to dinner, with snacks in between, I’m here to help you navigate the endless sea of choices in the city, and give you a true taste of life in Lisbon. Read on to get started!
Breakfast: Chiado Caffe
Rua do Loreto 45 47, 1200-471 Lisboa
Here in Portugal, pastry is almost sacred; a good cup of coffee accompanied by a Pastel de Nata is the best way to start the day. In the centre of Lisbon, the Chiado area is known for its numerous cafes and pastelarias, the smell of fresh cakes wafting from their window displays, dusted in icing sugar. The Chiado Caffe is a shining beacon amongst these breakfast spots, with its long glass cabinet, loaded with every dessert imaginable. Its elegant interior and friendly staff make it the perfect place to set yourself up for a day of adventure.
Pastel de Nata
Lunch: Pão de Canela
Praça das Flores N.ºs 25 a 29, 1200-192 Lisboa
From its picturesque setting amongst the shaded trees of one of Lisbon’s most beautiful squares, this tiny restaurant is the ideal place for a light lunch. Pão de Canela’s extensive menu is traditionally Portuguese, but with a modern twist. Perch on their wide outdoor terrace and share a selection of their petiscos – Portuguese tapas-style sharing plates. If sharing food isn’t really your thing, then their fresh fish dishes are a must, and should always be washed down with an ice-cold beer or glass of wine.
Salada de Polvo (Octopus salad)
Batata Frita com Oregãos (French fries with oregano)
Mercado do Baixa
Praça da Figueira 6D, 1100-241 Lisboa
Nestled in the heart of Lisbon’s city centre is this bustling food market, serving locally-sourced, traditional food and drink. From its plentiful jugs of fresh Sangria to its meat and cheeses, the Mercado do Baixa is a wonderful assault on the senses. If a light, traditional snack is what you’re after, then try a plate of chouriço and presunto, or a platter of local cheeses.
Rua São Cristóvão 27, 1100-001 Lisboa
If you find yourself in Lisbon’s colourful, maze-like Mouraria area in search of a snack, then look no further than Union Empanadas. This tiny, teal-fronted store, with a large street-facing window is a popular favourite among locals looking for an afternoon pick-me-up. Choose from their vast range of flavours and fillings and enjoy the world-renowned Iberian pastry snack (yes, that’s right: more pastry). With its sizeable cocktail menu and list of fresh, fruity smoothies, Union is the perfect place to give your feet a break from the hilly streets of old-town Lisbon.
Chicken curry empanada
Rua Rodrigues de Faria 103, 1300-501 Lisboa
The LX Factory is one of Lisbon’s most widely-visited spots, for good reason. An abandoned manufacturing site, it has since been transformed into a little village, teeming with boutiques, restaurants and bars. If you’re lucky enough to pass by on a Sunday, then you’ll stumble across the LX Market: a craft market for creatives and artists looking to sell their wares. Tucked away into a corner of this market is a tiny, colourful stall selling a Madeiran delicacy: iguarias. These soft sandwiches use freshly-baked caco bread from the island of Madeira and homemade garlic butter to create the perfect afternoon snack. Choose from a range of fillings and watch as the beaming, friendly woman who mans the stall cooks it in front of your eyes.
Iguaria with bacon
Dinner: Tapas n’ Friends
Cruzes da Sé 25, 1100-585 Lisboa
A Lisbon-wide restaurant group with 4 different locations around the city, Tapas n’ Friends Sé is the perfect place for a reasonably-priced, traditional Iberian dining experience. Hidden in the shade of Lisbon’s imposing cathedral, this street-side tapas bar boasts a menu filled with all things Portuguese (with a little Spanish thrown in, for good measure). With a vast menu including traditional dishes such as Francesinha, fried Morcela sausage, and arroz de pato, this relaxed restaurant is an ideal spot to end your day in the city; it’s also only a short walk away from some of the best Fado bars in the Alfama!
Choco frito com molho tártaro (Fried cuttlefish with tartar sauce)
Batatas bravas à Tapas (Tapas-style patatas bravas)
Rojões à minhota (Minhota sliced pork)
Dessert: Mú – Gelato Italiano
Campo Mártires da Pátria 50, 1150-317 Lisboa / Rua Dom Pedro V 145, 1250-094 Lisboa
Dessert is my favourite meal of the day; luckily, Mú Gelato always seems to be just around the corner to satisfy my cravings! Arguably the best ice cream in the city, this gelateria has two stores in different areas of Lisbon, each equally as delicious as the other. With a rotating menu of unusual flavours – including the likes of Avocado & Lime, and Banana & Chocolate – a stop at Mú is the perfect way to wrap up your food tour. With their vegan and dairy-free options, too, there really is something for every sweet tooth.
Salted Caramel ice cream
Small cup/cone €2,50