With the sunshine finally making an appearance, there’s only really one thing on everyone’s mind, where should we go next? Portugal is often at the forefront of the British mind when it comes to sunny-filled destinations – with its beautiful beaches, delicious wine, colourful architecture and green surroundings, it’s hard not to like it.
Go one step further and head to the country’s capital, which offers an amazing food scene for those who are looking to eat like a local. Lisbon’s plethora of restaurants, cafeterias, food markets and stalls offer a unique taste of the country’s beloved cuisine.
If you are only visiting for a short weekend, here’s where you should go for a delicious foodie weekend in Lisbon.
Pastel de Nata at Manteigaria
This will come as a no surprise to anyone but starting the day with a pastel de nata and a coffee is a must-do for everyone visiting Lisbon. Dating back to the 19th century, pastel de nata is a simple three-ingredient-only dessert which has become a staple for Portuguese cuisine. Served warm with a scrumptious melty custard filling, the tarts are a perfect companion to the rather strong and bitter black coffees that you’ll fine in most cafés.
Lisbon’s Manteigaria is one of the well-known spots where you can find this small and crumbly traditional dessert.
Where: Rua do Loreto 2, 1200-108 Lisboa, Portugal
Pastel de Bacalhau at Antiga Bacalhoeira
Lisbon has a lot of delicious little treats which are perfect for that bite to eat between meal times. A personal favourite has to be the Pastel de Bacalhau. This is a traditional crispy ‘skinned’ cod cake made with just potato, egg, parsley, and a drizzle of olive oil. Antiga Bacalhoeira has put its own spin on this century-long tradition by adding a taste of Portuguese sheep cheese to their cod pies, making them some of the most delicious cod cakes in town (trust me, I tried a lot of them).
Where: R. dos Arameiros 3, 1100-389 Lisboa, Portugal
A bountiful Portuguese lunch at Can the Can
For a quintessentially Portuguese lunch experience, there’s really only one place you can go. Can the Can is one of those one-of-a-kind places that you don’t forget. Its great location in the heart of the Praça do Comércio (Square of Commerce), overlooking the glaring Tagus River, can really take your mind away whilst you are soaking up the sunshine and sipping on one of their signature cocktails. A very refreshing recommendation is the You CAN punch me in the Basil, made with Lisboa Gin, lemon juice, and kaffir lime juice, of course.
The concept aims to promote the national canning industry through the use of natural ingredients, and fresh catch from the Atlantic Ocean. The menu mainly offers seafood dishes which is part of the restaurant’s Selo de Mar (sea stamp) project, which aims to study and recover techniques of fish conservation and innovate from them through delicious recipes.
A delicious recommendation would be the tasting platter which offers variety of homemade cured and smoked fish, followed by their signature tuna tartare sprinkled with their extremely flavoursome garum sauce. The garum is a fermented fish sauce which is created by a traditional oil extracting technique and is used across most dishes in the restaurant, including desserts!
Where: Terreiro do Paço, 82/83, 1100-148 Lisboa, Portugal
Ceviche at A Cevicheria
When it comes to fine dining, undoubtedly, Lisbon has a lot to offer but no one does ceviche the way that A Cevicheria does. This Peruvian-inspired restaurant offers an intimate atmosphere for those who are looking to invite their taste buds on a real adventure. The giant octopus (not real, don’t worry) hanging off the ceiling is more of a statement piece than it is an indication of the food theme.
Run by one of the most highly regarded Portuguese chefs, chef Kiko, the restaurant is nothing short of exquisite. Using typical Portugal ingredients such as cod, tuna and seafood, the creative and ever-changing recipes of chef Kiko transform the Peruvian dishes into an elegant portion of flavour.
For those unsure of where to start, A Cevicheria offers a tasting menu of five dishes of your choice. A must-try is the Ceviche de Atum e Foie Gras made with a tuna, beetroot and foie grass with a touch of citric flavour. Another winner is Ceviche ‘Português’ featuring fresh bites of cod and octopus with an eye yolk sauce.
A very important partner to all of this is A Cevicheria’s Pisco Sour, typical to south American cuisine, the Peruvian-inspired drink offers the perfect blend of sweet and sour.
Where: Príncipe Real – Rua Dom Pedro V, nº 129 1050-046 – Lisbon
Tasty tipples at Monkey Mash
Once the sun has set and the dining is done, there are many places you can head to for a drink and from fabulous rooftop bars to atmospheric techno clubs, to on-the-street drinking at the famous Baixa quarter, Lisbon really has it all. However, if there is one place that you should visit, then that is Monkey Mash.
Hidden away from the noise, Monkey Mash offers a secluded refuge for those seeking good quality cocktails in relaxed yet playful atmosphere. One of the most impressive cocktails I tastes was the Purple Sour, which was made with beetroot and carrot juice with a hint of coriander, making it taste more like a cleansing juice than a cocktail. Well, if you exclude the tequila and mezcal that are also part of the mix!
Where: Praça da Alegria 66B, 1250-004 Lisboa, Portugal
Wine tasting at Quinta da Murta
For those who have an extra day to spare and are looking to indulge in different elements of Portuguese cuisine, a wine tasting at the local winery Quinta da Murta is a must. The winery is situated in the wine region of Bucelas, and just 20-minute drive from Lisbon.
Bucelas is known for being the original white wine region, having been developed more than 2,000 years ago. It is also often referred to as the wine of Shakespeare as it is notably mentioned in some of the Shakespeare’s plays. Quinta da Murta, of course, specialises in the produce of white wine using Arinto grapes, which are originated in the local area. The carefully cultivated grapes and the limestone and marl soil, make for the perfect match for a delicious citrusy dry wine with notes of lemon, lime, apple and tropical fruit.
You can also take a guided tour across the winery and learn about the intricacy of making the wine of Shakespeare. Tours are available all week, but be sure to pre book your visit online.
Where: Quinta da Murta, Estrada Velha do Boição nº 300, 2670-632 Bucelas Portugal