Seven Foodie Treats to Try in Lisbon

Seven Foodie Treats to try in LisbonFor me, trying lots of different foods and flavours is one of the joys of travel. Lisbon’s a great city for foodies of all ages whether you’re interested in wandering around the food markets, eating lots of cake and ice-cream (always a hit with my boys) or trying the local fish dishes. Here are seven of the best things to look out for when you’re in the city.

Eat bacalhau in a local restaurant

Seven Foodie Treats to try in LisbonBacalhau is the Portuguese word for cod, and salted or dried cod dishes are so popular that they’re the traditional Christmas dinner in some parts of the country. There are said to be over 1,000 recipes in Portugal alone.

One of the best places to try it is at a small, local restaurant like A Primavera do Jerónimo, which is hidden down one of the narrow streets of the Bairro Alto. You’ll find plenty of bacalhau dishes here alongside clams, squid, swordfish, ray, pork tenderloin and the wonderfully named ‘grilled secret black pig’.

The food isn’t fancy but good, traditional Portuguese fare. Service is very welcoming, especially to children and the setting is relaxed and low-key – there’s only room for a few tables and the tiles on the wall are decorated with Portuguese proverbs.

A Primavera do Jerónimo, Travessa da Espera 34.

Taste gourmet treats at the Mercado da Ribeira

The Time Out Mercado da Ribeira is the place to go if you want to try a selection of different foods from some of Lisbon’s top chefs. The gourmet food hall has only been open for two years but it’s rapidly become one of the city’s most popular places to eat. It’s a great way to taste all kinds of foodie flavours, from gourmet burgers, fish and chips and sushi to fabulous salads, steaks and cheeses.

You can order wine by the glass or have one of the fantastic fruit juices. It’s a massive area and it can get really busy at peak times so come early or be prepared to wait for a table.

Time Out Mercado da Ribeira, Avenida 24 de Julho 50.

Drink port in a palace

Port is a Portuguese fortified wine produced in the Douro Valley in northern Portugal. I’d only ever drunk the heavy, sweet red wine as an after dinner tipple before my trip to Lisbon so it was a revelation trying the delicious white port. It’s much less heavy than the red and makes the perfect before dinner drink.

The ideal place to try it is Solar do Vinho do Porto, a cavernous bar with the atmosphere of a gentlemen’s club, in an 18th-century palace with vaulted ceilings and white leather sofas. You choose your port from a 20-page menu and are served by waiters who are either very grumpy or take their port extremely seriously. For a couple of euros, you can order a glass from a selection of every kind of port, from vintage to the more everyday. You can also buy bottles to take home.

Solar do Vinho do Porto, Rua Sao Pedro de Alcântara 45.

Have an ice cream from Santini’s

Seven Foodie Treats to try in Lisbon


A holiday is a good excuse to eat ice cream every day, right? Some people consider Santini’s to be the best ice cream in the world. See if you agree by joining the queue outside the shop on Rua do Carmo in the Chiado area, one of Lisbon’s main shopping streets.




Buy the goodies for a picnic from a food market

Mixing with the locals at the food markets is one of my favourite pastimes when I’m travelling. The covered market at Campo de Ourique is a great place to browse a range of food stalls from fresh fish, hams, cheeses and breads to freshly prepared pasta, tapas and sushi.

We like to buy all the things we need for a gourmet picnic and take it to the nearest park for a feast. The nearby Jardim da Estrela is a particularly good choice but if you want to eat straightaway, there’s a lovely seating area in the middle of the market. The Campo de Ourique is a much smaller and less crowded option than the vast Mercado da Ribeira.

Indulge on pastries

You’ll find pastry shops, pastelarias, on every street corner in Lisbon but the one cake you mustn’t leave without trying is the pastel de nata, the famous puff pastry tart filled with custard cream.

These pastries were first created before the 19th century by the monks at the Jerónimos Monastery in Belém. At that time, convents and monasteries used large amounts of egg whites to starch clothes so it was quite common to use the leftover yolks to make cakes and pastries.

The monks started selling the pastries to make some money and the recipe was eventually sold to a sugar refinery who opened up the Fabrica de Pastéis de Belém in 1837. This is still the best place to buy the tarts, warm from the oven and sprinkled with cinnamon. There’s always a queue for takeaways but you can bypass the queue if you eat at one of the many tables inside.

Antiga Confeitaria de Belém, Rua Belém 84-92

Try a prego made out of fish

In Portuguese cuisine, a prego is a steak sandwich, a bit like a burger. The traditional prego has been given a delicious twist at O Prego da Peixaria, a restaurant near the university’s botanical gardens. Here you can try pregos with soft shell crab, salmon and cuttlefish, tuna steak, cod or shrimp. They’re all gorgeous and come sandwiched between a variety of unusual home-made breads like carob or black bread. Don’t miss the sweet potato skinny fries on the side.

The restaurant itself is really lively, with walls covered with potted herbs and colourful graffiti. It can get really busy so come early, particularly if you’ve got kids. Mine loved the fresh juices with their fish burgers.

O Prego da Peixaria, Rua da Escola Politécnica 40.

For more information about visiting Lisbon, take a look at the Visit Lisbon website.

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69 thoughts on “Seven Foodie Treats to Try in Lisbon

  1. We had some very strange variations on cod when we were in Porto… and lots of port! Mercado da Ribeira looks fantastic…I would definitely head there and try as many different foods as I could! Thanks for linking to #citytripping


    • It’s a brilliant place to try so many different foods – I had a goat’s cheese salad with honey ice cream on it, which sounds a bit peculiar but was actually really good. Porto is top of my list for the next time I visit Portugal – I have to see that bookshop.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I really enjoyed the food in Lisbon also – and as you know, especially the tarts! I live in an area of London with rather a lot of portuguese restaurants but sadly they can’t recreate the magic. Not sure why. It’s a shame.


    • What a shame they can’t recreate it properly in London! It’s a good thing for me that I don’t live near somewhere that sells amazing custard tarts – I would not be able to resist eating them every day!


  3. I really, really like this posts. Food is one of my travels joys too. Therefore, I can see myself following all your suggestions (what a punishment ;0) I will hit the markets first.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Mmmmmm. I love white port, which I also discovered in Lisbon, and those amazing Pasteis de Nata. I have had bacalhau… Some better than others! And I’d add vinho verde to the list #citytripping


    • I’m so cross with myself for not buying a bottle of the white stuff to bring home! The fish pregos really were delicious. All four of us tried different fish and they were all great. Thanks so much for sharing!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Your post makes me want to make food blogging my niche!!! And it makes me want to go out for dinner instead of having microwaved dinner… Everything looks so good – even the cod! How’d your boys like the bacalhau?


  6. This post is amazing Clare!! Portugal has soooo many delicious dishes, it’s incredible!
    I love Bacalhau and pastel de nata 😀 some of their dishes are also very common in Brazil. Whenever I stop by Lisbon on my way to Brazil I already feel happy trying their food!
    These tips are great, I haven’t done any of them, I have to try the Time Out Mercado next time!

    Thank you for joining #MondayEscapes


    • Thanks so much for such lovely comments, Allane. I was blown away by the deliciousness of the foodie treats in Lisbon – I developed a serious addiction to pastel de nata, and was so delighted to try so many different gourmet treats at the Time Out market – it’s a great venue.


    • They really were delicious! Me too about port in Porto. I LOVED the white port I had in Lisbon and it’s yet another reason to visit Porto – I absolutely have to see the gorgeous bookshop that surely inspired JK Rowling to create the moving staircases at Hogwarts.


  7. Pingback: Monday Escapes #37 - My Travel Monkey
  8. With you on the pastries, port and fish . . . but have to admit we were disappointed by Mercado da Ribeira, Perhaps because we were hoping for more market than foodhall, however Lisboa itself we completely fell in love and will be back 🙂


  9. I love Portugal! Can’t wait to go this September to spend some vacation time with my parents. Can you believe that at one point in my life I didn’t like the pastel de nata?! They were always around at parties and events with my family and I was too picky as a child. Now I have to stop myself from eating more than one! This post made me salivate 😀 #wanderfulwednesday

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lucky you! I really can’t believe you didn’t like pastel de nata!! My youngest became convinced it was the only possible breakfast while we were there. It’s a good thing I don’t live in Portugal – I found them extremely hard to resist. Thanks so much for your lovely comments and for sharing.


  10. Bacalhau (or bacalao as they say here) is really popular in Northern Norway too, especially in the Lofoten Islands. I’ve always wanted to try it but the boyfriend has kept me cause he thinks it’s disgusting 😀


  11. Truthfully one of my strongest memories of visiting Portugal was seeking out the ‘world’s best’ custard tart shop and eating them with abandon! I’ve never heard of bacalhau but it sounds like a dish I’d love to try, so thanks for bringing it to my attention. 🙂


  12. YAY! I LOVE Lisbon and the food there is incredible! It is so so underrated. I stuffed my face with fish, pastries and ice cream the entire time! I have to say I wasn’t the biggest fan of Port, but didn’t stop me from trying it. These are such good suggestions to get the most of the foodie scene in Lisbon! 😀


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