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food / travel

Gùsto! How, What, Where Locals Eat (& Drink) In Lisbon

Two people sitting at a table in front of a window.

Two people sitting at a table in front of a window, Lisbon, Portugal.

Theodor Vasile via Unsplash

Lisbon, the capital city of Portugal, offers myriad delightful culinary experiences. Portuguese cuisine is known for its fresh ingredients, bold flavors and a rich mix of Mediterranean and Atlantic influences. From the sweet Pastéis de Nata to the savory Francesinha, local markets, neighborhood eateries or seafood restaurants will have everything you need to try!

A walk through this hilly city will definitely make your stomach growl, so take the time to stop and enjoy a savory port wine with some delicious petiscos, the Portuguese version of tapas!

Here are Worldcrunch’s recommendations to try the best of Portuguese cuisine.

Start your day with breakfast at Pastelaria Guadalupe…

Portugal is known for its sweet pastries, with the most famous being Pastéis de Nata, small tarts with a flaky pastry shell filled with a creamy egg custard and sprinkled with cinnamon and powdered sugar.

Pastelaria Guadalupe is a cheap local café, just a street away from the Atlantic Ocean, and the perfect place for breakfast. It’s a great place to try the pastele de nata, with a cup of coffee and a delicious home-made fruit juice, or have a ham and cheese toastie.

… Or choose the full brunch option at Monka Café!

Image of two slices of bread with ham, salad and eggs on it.

The café's signature dish: Monka Eggs, a tartine inspired by a Polish egg salad.

Monka Café/Instagram

Aiming for a more substantial meal? Then head to Monka Café, in the traditional neighborhood of Lapa. There, you can enjoy tartines served on sourdough bread, traditional pastries, homemade labneh and great specialty coffee from local roasters.

This café is only a 10-minute walk away from the Jardim dos Cactos park, where you can soak up the sun and take a nap after a very generous brunch.

Grab a fresh drink at Merendinha

Walking in Lisbon can be tiring. So, if you feel dehydrated, make sure to stop at Merendinha, a juice shop that serves fresh smoothies and açai bowls.

From the classic strawberry/banana combo to the more audacious avocado smoothie, this place is great to take a short break and recharge your batteries!

Sit down for a refreshing lunch at STŌ Mercearia…

Image of the inside of a restaurant in Lisbon, Portugal.

Inside STŌ Mercearia, in Lisbon, Portugal.

STŌ Mercearia/Instagram

STŌ Mercearia is one of Lisbon’s best restaurants for brunch or lunch. From cod loin or shrimp with herb butter to tuna salad, served with homemade ice tea or a local draft beer, the ingredients are all fresh and local, and served in a chilled atmosphere.

Cláudia Almeida and Jorge Abreu, the owners, aimed to recover the spirit of the old neighborhood grocery stores. "We are enthusiasts of Portuguese gastronomy and history, and Mercearia STŌ is our way of disseminating products and recipes in a single place", they told Portugese website Alivetaste.

The particularity of this place is that it has an amazing selection of products from the Azores on sale, including olive oil, jams or wine all made by local producers.

…Or go veggie at Veganeats

Looking for a cozy vegan café that serves homemade, nutritious and flavorful food? Veganeats is a great place for breakfast, brunch or lunch, with a menu that is 100% veggie with a lot of vegan options!

You can start your meal with a chickpea soup or a sweet potato quiche, and enjoy a generous avocado and lime toast with chickpea chips. They also make their own vegan chorizo, tofu and tomato quiches!

For dessert, scones, chocolate cake or banana bread will be the perfect match with a local latte (with the plant milk of your choice!).

Take an ice-cream break at Scoop 'n Dough

Image of donuts and macaroons on a table outside.

​A mix of Scoop n' Dough products, from ice-cream to doughnuts. 

Scoop n' Dough/Instagram

Step into Scoop n' Dough, and you will not be disappointed! This vegan brand was founded by two brothers, Darchite and Jimite, in 2019. Making tasty vegan ice-cream was a tricky process, but they managed to find the perfect recipe over the years.

If you’re not in the ice-cream mood, you can also try the homemade donuts, voted best vegan doughnuts in the world by the online platform Happy Cow. With generous fillings and toppings like chocolate and hazelnut or panna cotta & blueberry, there will be one for everyone!

"The daily production process of these donuts, with a soft brioche dough, lighter, with more air and less dense, takes about six to seven hours. These donuts are the result of fifty recipe attempts until reaching the final one, without the addition of milk and eggs," explains Portuguese weekly magazine Evasões on their website.

End the day with a cosy dinner at Floresta Das Escadinhas

In the mood to try local dishes? Then head to Floresta Das Escadinhas, a restaurant located in the old town where you will find traditional Portuguese recipes.

On the menu, you will be able to find grilled fish in all its forms: grilled prawns, grilled cod, grilled squid and even grilled octopus, served with salad or potatoes.

Alongside the authentic food, this restaurant also has a great local wine selection.

Have glass of wine with a picturesque view at Wine With a View

Image of two people holding a wine glass next to a river.

The river view right next to Wine With a View's truck.

Wine With a View/Instagram

Discover the hidden gem of Lisbon's vibrant wine scene at Wine With a View. Located right next to the river, this little wine truck near Belem Tower offers an unforgettable experience for wine enthusiasts.

As Lisbon' tourist office writes, "Wine With a View’s mission is simultaneously simple and unique: to provide the experience of having a glass of an exceptional Portuguese wine, while enjoying a magnificent view."

From velvety reds to crisp whites, the knowledgeable staff will guide you through a great local selection. It's a great way to end a busy day visiting attractions! Pro-tip: visit Wine With a View at sunset for an even more memorable experience!

Spotlight: Pastéis de Belém

During your stay in Lisbon, it is a must to indulge in the delights of Pastéis de Belém, an iconic pastry shop located in the heart of the capital. Steeped in history and culinary tradition, this establishment has been serving its world-renowned custard tarts since 1837.

The secret recipe, closely guarded by Pastéis de Belém, has been passed down through generations, ensuring an unparalleled culinary experience. You can enjoy your pastel de nata in the cozy interior or take a stroll along the nearby Tagus River.

According to Lisbon-based business newspaper Jornal de Negócios, Pastéis de Belém is the place in Portugal with the most Tripadvisor reviews, reaching more than 53,000 reviews. The average comment gives it a very positive rating, with an overall 4.5 stars out of 5.

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