Top 10 food experiences in Lisbon
oktober 25, 2018

The Portuguese capital might not be one which instantly springs to mind when thinking of a foodie break, but there's a thriving restaurant scene here and many mouthwatering local dishes. Take your pick from Michelin starred restaurants or a simple meal of freshly-caught fish served in a traditional eatery. Step away from the ubiquitous international cuisine of burgers and pizza - instead, try some Portuguese dishes and eat like a local.

Pastel de Nata

These little Portuguese custard tarts are a Lisbon breakfast staple. Any of the cafés on Rua da Prata or the parallel streets will have Pastel de Nata luring you in from the window. They're best served with a strong Portuguese espresso-style coffee - what better way to start your day than by biting into sweet, buttery pastry, topped with thick vanilla custard? Pick up a box to take home, but be warned, they're so tasty that there's a high probability you'll eat the lot before leaving the hotel.

Mercado da Ribeira

Even if you're not buying, the Mercardo da Ribeira is worth a visit. Fresh produce is sold between 6am and 2pm at this traditional food market, and you can expect to find the very best fruit and vegetables, freshly baked bread and fish so recently-caught that it's practically still gasping for breath. Don't worry if you can't speak Portuguese - stall holders are friendly and you can get along by pointing and knowing that "Obrigada" means thank you.

Food Court at Mercado da Ribeira

Separate to the produce market is the Food Court, a 21st-century reinvention of the traditional market concept. Around the massive hall you'll find all manner of little pop-up restaurants serving cuisine from around the world. This is where some of Lisbon's best chefs have cut their teeth so take a seat at one of the market's central tables, pick a few dishes and enjoy some innovative Portuguese cooking.


Portuguese salt cod, or Bacalhau, is one of Lisbon's traditional classics. Salting to preserve then reconstituting in liquid is an age-old technique, and the cod is served in a variety of sauces. Particularly worth trying is "bacalhau a bras", made with salted cod, scrambled egg, fried potato and black olives - it's hearty, filling and absolutely delicious.

Bifana Lisboa

On the face of it, the Bifana Lisboa is basic street food - a few slices of pork in a white bread roll. But the Portuguese have elevated this simple concept to a real delicacy. The pork is cooked slowly in garlic, the bread has been specially chosen to soak up the pork juices and the addition of mustard and chilli oil provides an added kick. It's the perfect light lunch or meal on the go as you dash from one Lisbon sight to another.


Lisbon's best restaurant is undoubtedly Belcanto, which first opened in the 1950s and has two highly-prized Michelin Stars. Helmed by superstar Portuguese chef José Avillez, Belcanto is the place to eat, so you'll have to book well in advance to secure a table. Try the tasting menus which showcase the skills of the chef, or opt for a la carte classics such as suckling pig or red mullet. It's a dining experience you'll remember for a long time.


Sardines are incredibly popular in Lisbon – wander through the streets of the new town and you'll see windows packed with colourful tins of the fish. If you prefer your sardines freshly cooked then the Alfama district is where to go. Follow your nose to the smells of cooking coming from tiny eateries in the narrow streets around the cathedral. Don't expect fancy plating or a huge choice of sauces, just fresh sardines, expertly grilled and served with an ice cold beer.

Frango no Churrasco

In other parts of the world we call it piri-piri chicken, but in Lisbon it's just grilled chicken. Take a seat at one of the many specialist restaurants in town, and feast on succulent, freshly-cooked chicken, smothered in spicy sauce and served with French fries, salad and a glass of dry white wine. It's not the most sophisticated Lisbon meal, but perhaps the tastiest.

Cozido à Portuguesa

If you're visiting in the colder months, then a bowl of Portuguese stew, or Cozido, will warm you up. It's made with whatever meat and vegetables the chef has to hand, and usually includes pork, potatoes, beans and carrots. This unbeatable comfort food typically comes with a chunk of crusty bread for soaking up the juices.

Farmers' Market at Principe Real

Every Saturday morning, organic farmers from around Lisbon bring olive oil, bread and other foods to the market at the Principe Real gardens. It's the perfect place for browsing, sampling, and buying some great-tasting souvenirs to enjoy at home.

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