For the past few years Lisbon has been garnering a reputation as one of the best foodie capitals in Europe, and indeed the world. As a lover of food this is what initially made me interested in travelling to Lisbon. After watching several travel shows and reading numerous blogs about Lisbon I decided to try a few of my favourite recommendations during my stay.
I love going out for breakfast/brunch but I didn’t find many standout places to have my first meal of the day in Lisbon. I think the breakfast revolution may not have hit Lisbon as hard as it hit London a few years ago but there’s nothing wrong with that. Lisbon is a city which focuses on delicious lunches and dinners so most days I had fruit and yoghurt from the local supermarket for breakfast. I did, however, have a few breakfast experiences which are worth noting if you are travelling to Lisbon.
This cute little café has very friendly staff, a menu filled with some healthy yet hearty breakfast items and is very close to Rossio Square. You can dine on acai bowls or avocado toast with eggs but my favourite dish here was the B.A.R.T (bacon, avocado, rocket and tomato) sandwich. It was made from fresh, soft, slightly toasted bread with thick slices of bacon, tomato and avocado and a liberal dollop of lime mayonnaise. All the ingredients worked extremely well together. It was so good that I got it on my way to the airport when I was travelling back to London so that I could eat it whilst I was waiting for my flight to depart. Their smoothies and juices are also incredibly fresh and flavourful and come in cute Mason jars.
This brunch spot is in the Santos neighbourhood of Lisbon which seemed very sleepy and peaceful as I was walking through it to get to Heim Café. Heim Café serves a lot of dishes which you would expect to find at a brunch spot and the food was relatively affordable. I was able to get a smorgasbord of food (all the food pictured below) for around 13 euros which was really great value. I did eat this by myself as I was travelling solo but this breakfast could and probably should be shared between two people.
I came to Lisbon believing that food was going to be very cheap. Based on my experience I would say that breakfast and fast food (i.e. burgers and hot dogs) are cheap but authentic Portuguese food, especially seafood, will resemble the sort of prices you see in London. Once again, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing but just something to bear in mind when saving up for your trip.
This restaurant is just a stone’s throw from A Vida Portuguesa and is probably one of the most famous Portuguese restaurants in Lisbon. Most of the Lisbon travel shows which I watched mentioned this very popular seafood place, and with good reason. This place serves an assortment of fresh and delicious seafood such as lobster, prawns, crab, sea urchins etc. It really is a seafood lover’s paradise – the walls are decorated with murals of seafood and the restaurant is adorned with tanks containing live lobsters and crabs. As this place is extremely popular make sure you dine early. There was plenty of space when I arrived at 12.30pm for lunch and it might also be easier to find a table if you go for an early dinner (from 5-6pm). Remember to bring your wallet as well as whilst the seafood is delicious it isn’t cheap.
They brought this plate of hot buttered toast to my table after I ordered, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Giant tiger prawns – these were fresh, sweet and utterly delicious. I don’t think I had ever had prawns this tasty before coming to Ramiro.
I ordered a prego roll to finish off my meal as is customary at Ramiro. This is essentially a steak sandwich – the juicy beef was topped with sautéed garlic and served between two soft slices of bread. They also bring you some mustard to eat with it and although I do like mustard I personally thought the roll tasted even better without it. In total I paid 24 euros (this included a bottle of water and a tip as my server was particularly helpful and attentive). It was totally worth it as the food was faultless.
Taberna da Rua das Flores
This restaurant in the Chiado district serves some interesting and flavourful dishes in an intimate and somewhat rustic setting. It gets busy at dinner time so try going for an early dinner or a late lunch to beat the queues. N.B. They don’t have a paper menu for food; all the food items which are available are read to you by a waiter from a blackboard and the menu changes regularly.
I had a veal dish with charred pineapple, black beans, some greens and a sort of grainy crumble on the side. Bar the strange crumble the dish was delectable; I would say that this was my second favourite meal in Lisbon after my feast at Ramiro.
Bistrô Gato Pardo
This restaurant was in the Graça/São Vicente neighbourhood of Lisbon. It was quaint, unassuming and small, however, it served some delicious food which was much needed after I spend an entire day walking around the Calouste Gulbenkian museum. I ordered a simple dish of mashed potatoes with lamb but there were other more adventurous items on the menu to choose from.
Pastéis de nata
Pastéis de Bélem
If you tell anyone who has been to Lisbon that you are planning on visiting there is a good chance that they will tell you to try something called Pastéis de Nata (Portuguese custard tarts) at a place called Pastéis de Bélem. Whilst this is the birthplace of these delicious treats, it is by no means the best placed to get them in Lisbon in my opinion. I found the custard too eggy and stiff and the pastry a little burnt for my liking.
Opinion on which place serves the best Pastéis de Nata in Lisbon is very divided. A lot of people who have informed me that their preferred tart option is Pastéis de Belem like the custard in them as it isn’t as sweet as the custard used at my preferred custard tart vendor, which I have highlighted below.
My preferred place to get these delectable treats was Manteigaria. They have a stall in Time Out Market as well as a standalone store in the Bairro Alto neighbourhood of Lisbon. These tarts had an incredibly smooth and silky custard, just the right level of sweetness and a perfectly buttery and flaky pastry base. The other thing about these tarts which gave them an edge over Pastéis de Bélem was that they were 1 euro each as compared with Pastéis de Bélem’s 2 euro charge for each of their tarts. These tarts were so moreish that I ate three in one sitting and seriously contemplated buying even more on that same day to have after my dinner. Just writing about them now is making me crave them.
Some people will advise you to cover the custard tarts with cinnamon and icing sugar, but I preferred them without these extra ingredients. The tarts are tasty enough on their own.
My favourite place in Lisbon for gelato was Santini. This is another enterprise which has a stall in Time Out Market as well as other standalone stores. You’ll find a Santini store in the Chiado neighbourhood as well as in Bélem close to the Jéronimos Monastery. I’ve been eating sorbet more and more these days as my body does not handle dairy like it used to and so when I went to Lisbon I only ate sorbet. Santini had the most amazing passion fruit and strawberry sorbet but they also had a wide range of other delicious dairy gelato flavours as well.
Another gelateria which I tried whilst in Lisbon was Nannarella. I ventured here as it was recommended by Phil Rosenthal in the Lisbon episode of his Netflix travel series “Somebody Feed Phil”. They had a nice selection of dairy gelato but I tried their mango, raspberry and lemon sorbet flavours. The lemon flavour was delicious but unfortunately, I was disappointed by the mango sorbet. It had a somewhat stringy and grainy texture which was off-putting. Also, I thought that the raspberry flavour was OK but nothing to write home about.
That’s my round up of my favourite places to eat in Lisbon, let me know what your Lisbon food recommendations are!