For many decades, dining out in Lisbon meant enjoying some of the Portuguese capital’s freshest ingredients served in a no-nonsense, no-frills style. This rustic, homely approach certainly has its charms, but over the last few years Lisbon has experienced a full on international dining explosion, and can now happily call itself one of the major foodie capitals in Europe. The city has welcomed a new wave of young, inventive and ambitious chefs, many of whom have come to Portugal direct from Michelin-starred restaurants across the globe. This injection of fresh culinary blood has infused Lisbon with a food scene well worth sampling.
The Portuguese capital has many other delights to offer visitors of course, from the ancient beauty of its many crumbling facades to its endless stretches of silver-sanded beaches. If you can’t keep away from a five-star food scene however, Lisbon is a city definitely worth adding to your bucket list, and makes a perfect addition to a European gourmet itinerary. If you want to whet your appetite, check out BUCKiTDREAM to see if other fellow travelers have treated their taste buds to Lisbon’s delectable offerings, then keep that BUCKiTDREAM planner by your side as we take you on a journey of discovery through Lisbon’s burgeoning food scene.
Take a Break in the Time Out Market Lisbon’s Mercado da Ribiera is more than a hundred years old, but for the last four years it’s been known to locals and tourists alike as the Time Out Market, named after the world famous magazine, which renovated the building in 2014. It brings together the best of Lisbon dining under one glorious roof, and features a startling number of menus and options to suit all styles and tastes, including seafood, steaks, pizza, chicken, and some sumptuous traditional Portuguese classics.
Relax at the Wine Bar Do Castelo This gorgeous little rustic wine bar is one of the best in town, serving up a selection of Portuguese wines and ports. There’s not a menu as such; simply tell the friendly staff what you like best in a wine and they’ll bring you out samples so you can pick your favorite. There’s also beautiful cheese and meat boards accompanying the tastings, which really hit the spot. If you’re looking to while away a couple of hours in the warm Lisbon evening, this place is your best bet.
Stop Off at Pastelaria Santo Antonio Just down the road from the Wine Bar Do Castelo is an unassuming little pastry shop that supplies Lisbonites with the single best pastel de nata in the city. If you’ve never sampled one of these babies, you’re seriously missing out. These simple, unassuming custard tarts are a huge part of Portuguese culture, and it’s rumored that only three sole people know the true recipe. Evidently, one of these three works at Pastelaria Santo Antonio, because they are the pastels to beat.
Toast a Glass at Gin Lovers and LESS Gin is booming the world over, so it’s no surprise that Lisbon offers up a fine selection of gin-based venues. Prime among them is Gin Lovers and LESS, a restaurant-cum-bar that’s housed in a beautiful archaic building (previously an ornate department store) with high ceilings and stunning stained glass windows. The set menu is one of the best options to go for here; it features a number of interesting takes on Portuguese ingredients, and shows off the imagination and creativity of the chefs. And of course, don’t forget to raise a glass of gin or six.
Go Seafood Mad at Cervejaria Ramiro Portuguese love their seafood, and why wouldn’t they? They have access to some of the freshest, most delicious ingredients around. Ramiro has become something of a Lisbon institution, and richly deserves its moniker ‘the seafood temple’. Beloved by locals and tourists alike (which is really saying something), Ramiro is the place to come to sample the very best of the capital’s seafood obsession.
Sample the Michelin Star Brigade Of course, no foodie hotspot is complete without a dedicated slew of Michelin-starred restaurants, and Lisbon doesn’t disappoint on that front. Loco utilizes the very best in local produce to conjure up a creative menu which changes with the seasons. Feitoria features some gorgeous waterfront views, and focuses almost entirely on local seafood to serve up its delectable dishes, while Belcanto is a small cozy space (with only ten tables, so make sure to book in advance!) which offers up some amazing tasting menus.
Kick Back in Os Gazeteiros A laid back atmosphere permeates this cosy Lisbon eatery, which features a daily menu handwritten on a blackboard by French chef David Eyguesier. The set menus are first class, taking a loose, malleable form inspired by whatever Eyguesier can get his hands on at the local market. You can compliment these creative dishes with a fine natural wine, mainly of Portuguese or French variety; be warned though, they go down way too easy.
Much of Lisbon’s burgeoning food scene hinges on creativity; the chefs are successful because they’re innovative, and doing things differently from everybody else. This is why a foodie trip to the Portuguese capital can be so intoxicating; a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Make sure to include it in your European tour itinerary and share whatever new dishes and flavours you discover with your fellow BUCKiTDREAMERS!