As an adventure travel junkie and self-confessed fitness nut, I wasn’t too sure how to make the most of Lisbon at first. On our first day, we walked the streets of the city’s main districts within a matter of hours. Quickly, I learned that to embrace a long weekend in Lisbon was to embrace afternoon naps (locals call ‘em Siestas) and eat/ drink as much as my body could physically handle. Which means that, yes, I spent 4 days and approximately 96 hours of my life ‘researching’ the best places to eat and drink in Lisbon. From quirky cocktail bars to local eateries swarming with Lisbonites and patisseries oozing with the world’s finest custard tarts, if you’re a food and drink lover you’ll love this city. If you’re not a food and drink lover, you probably shoudn’t go to Lisbon.
Here are the best bits so you can prepare to immerse yourself in your very own gastro-venture through the heart of Lisbon…
Casa Da India
Best for: Local vibes
It’s a proper local spot with a seriously extensive menu, authentic vibes and shared table dining so you can get up-close with the locals.
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Best for: A taste of bygone Lisbon
Just be bold, put Google maps down, and get lost as you head into the intricate web of streets that make up Lisbon’s oldest district. By day, look out for the Ginjinha lady, likely to be found sat on her chair in one of the tiny alleyways squawking “Ginjinha” and have a taste of the cherry liquor. In the evening, head to a Fado and allow yourself be whisked away into bygone Lisbon with live music.
Maria Nao Deixa
Best for: Tapas style, local food
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Best for: The Best pasteis de nata you ever tasted!
You may know pastel de nata better as a Portuguese custard tart. These little cupcake-size pastries ooze with perfectly baked custard as you bite into them, while raining little flakes of pastry all over your chin… but you’re in food heaven so does anyone really care that you have pastry all over your face? No.
Widely considered better than Pasteis of Belem on the current tourist scene, you’ll find their main shop on the borders of Bairro Alto, but they also have a shop in Time Out Markets. Try for yourself and see which tasty pastries take first place for your tastebuds.
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Time Out Markets
Best for: Everything...!
Speaking of Time Out Markets… you’ll find more than just pastel de nata here! This food court style market is a must for anyone visiting Lisbon. If you can, go on a relatively empty stomach… trust me you’re going to want to eat everything in sight. Feeling overwhelmed? Why not start with meat, cheese and wine, then head for your main meal and finish it off with a sweet pastel de nata(or more wine and cheese!).
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By the Wine
Best for: Cheese, meats & wine... all at the same time
Whether you’re after a light dinner, looking for somewhere to start the evening or somewhere to finish off the evening, head here for a wide selection of good wine and delicious meat and cheese platters.
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A Cultura do Hambúrguer
Best for: Burgers
The burger joint in barrio Alto offers a menu that burger-lovers will drool over. Choose from purple and black burger buns among many combinations of patties and toppings.
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Best for: Pharmaceutical Style Dining
For a pharmaceutical inspired food and drinks vibe (because who doesn’t want that?). It’s kinda weird but also really awesome. If you’re a medical professional, chances are you’ll be so into this place. If you’re not, then you’re sure to enjoy the quirky and creative presentation skills of the menu here!
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Best for: Unique Rooftop Bar Experience
It’s a bit hard to find – because it’s literally in a car park, but Park Bar is a rooftop must-visit. Take the car park stairs all the way to the roof then sit back and sip on a cocktail. It’s worth the stress of trying to figure out if you’re actually in the right place or not…
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Chapitô à Mesa
Best for: The views
Head to Chapitô à Mesa for sunset, a restaurant set in the hills above a circus school (truth!). Order a drink and watch the city literally change colour as day turns to night.
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Best for: Cocktails & Art Deco Vibes
Art Deco style interiors, good cocktails and friendly staff… what more do you need? Then enjoy chilled out vibes and views of the city from the small park across the road which looks out over the whole of Lisbon towards Alfama.
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Best for: The Views
Located at the top of the Elevador, you can easily access this place via the Igreja do Carmo church, so it’s not necessary to take the elevator to get here. Just order a coffee and watch the world go by during the day, or head up here in the evening when there’s no-one else around for romantic vibes as you watch over city life below and into the twinkling lights of Lisbon beyond.
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Best for: The Health Fix
Don’t worry guys, we all need a bit of goodness in our bodies to balance out the meat, cheese and custard. And the good news is, there is somewhere to get your fix of smoothies and acai bowls. Located in the Baixa, head to Nicolau for a healthy breakfast, brunch or lunch.
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Have you eaten your way through Lisbon?
Where did you go? What did you try? I’d love to know!
Or if you have any questions, please feel free to ask… i might know the answer, i might not, but i’ll try to point you in the right direction.
Stay wild adventurers!
with love, L x
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