Lisbon is a paradise for everybody who loves fish and seafood. Sardines can be found on every corner, same goes for Portuguese bacalhau cod, shrimps, lobsters – plenty to choose from! On the other hand, Lisbon, as any other city which is attractive for tourists is full of culinary traps which often attract visitors who are tired of sightseeing and high temperature and in need of a place for lunch or dinner. But as usual it is worth searching for some culinary gems – sometimes far from the most popular tourist routes, a bit off the beaten track, sometimes right in the city centre.
In June we spent three really delicious days in Lisbon. Some places were so amazing that we have to tell you more about them. Some of them were completely new to us, while we remembered some other from the previous trip to Lisbon in December 2010 when I first tried their cheese and Łukasz have eaten the best and biggest lobsters in his whole life.
Our list covers 6 PLACES FOR LUNCH, DINNER, DESSERT OR A DRINK!
LISBON – WHERE TO EAT?
Tasca da Esquina is the top of the top for me. We got there after a very long day filled with sightseeing. It’s not on the tourist route so inside you will mostly find the Portuguese who dropped by for a dinner for two, with friends or kids. Just a few tables so if you want to go think about booking. A casual vibe – if a place like this was in Warsaw it would be my tapas and wine spot for evenings with friends.
In Tasca da Esquina we try some starters and the tasting menu consisting of small portions of various dishes (you can choose the number of dishes depending on how hungry you are). Most of them are typical Portuguese meals or meals linked to traditional cuisine served in a more modern way. Even their website advertises the place with ‘Sabores de Portugal’ (Flavours of Portugal). We start with cheese of course, here served with olives and ‘croquetas’. This time it’s queijo ovelha (sheep’s cheese) and it’s so creamy you can eat it by spoons or spread it on a piece of bread. After that we get a whole lot of delicacies with shrimps and ‘croquetas’ with cod and a great trio of desserts. I’d be happy to return any moment!
You cannot leave Lisbon without going to Solar dos Presuntos. It’s a place we fell in love with in December 2010 and we wanted to check out if it’s still as good as it was. Our previous stay in Lisbon was special – I just passed my 14th month of pregnancy and could fly the plane once again. Imagine how big was my urge to go to Lisbon!!! How eager I was to eat fish and Portuguese cheese. For the last 5 years Łukasz kept saying that that’s the place for biggest and best lobsters. Before you eat, you choose the specimen you want from a huge aquarium filled with lobsters.
Even though his love for lobsters have faded away and he wasn’t’ as stunned as back then, he repeated his choice from our last visit and the lobster was impressive once again. I went for a Spanish meal rather than Portuguese and ordered an octopus similar to pulpo a la gallega. It was great! Spider crab soup is yet another thing you have to try. This time even Maks loved it.
Solar dos Presuntos has been around since 1974 and hosted plenty of famous guests. It’s one of the Lisbon’s classic – it’s full even in lunch time so be sure to book a table in advance!
Cervejaria da Esquina is pretty much the same cup of tea as Tasca da Esquina and initially we didn’t plan on going there at all but we gave it go since Sunday was rainy and plenty of restaurants in Lisbon were closed (remember to ALWAYS check if the restaurant of your choice is open. Try their website or call the place!!!). Cervejaria was quite crowded and it was hard to get a table but it was open. And thank God, the food was amazing! Maks loved shrimp bisque, Łukasz enjoyed great navajas (razor mussels) and then a filling cataplana with cod while I had a simple yet delicious penne with shrimps.
Cervejaria changed its profile with the beginning of August and now it’s called Peixaria da Esquina – a place specialising in fish. Regardless of the name, it’s WORTH visiting even though it’s quite far from the city centre. Our best shot in Lisbon.
4) SEA ME
Sea Me calls itself a Peixaria Moderna – a modern fish restaurant. You’ll find the place in Chiado, one of Lisbon’s wealthiest districts. It’s modern, crowded and you can see plenty of fish and seafood right from the start – oysters, mussels, crabs, lobsters, shrimps and weird stuff like percebes which we know from Spain (goose barnacle in English). Sea Me menu is very varied and not traditional at all. Plenty of clever combinations such as scallops with mango or an eel with sweet potato and onion. Apart from that you can choose what ends on your plate from the counter with fresh seafood. We also liked the idea of serving sushi – Maks loved it. Łukasz went for shrimps, oysters and his favourite type of mussels which he always eats in Spain – navajas (razor mussels).
It’s not our number one but Sea Me is surely worth visiting if you happen to be walking around Chiado.
Pasteis de Belem is one of the symbols of Lisbon. Tiny buns with custard, usually served hot and sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon. It’s the most popular Portuguese dessert and it comes from Lisbon.
The best way to eat them is by combining a trip to the confectionery with a visit to Belem and Mosteiro dos Jeronimos. The most famous buns can be found near the monastery. Fabrica de Pasteis de Belem confectionery has been around since 1837 and there’s always a queue! I already wrote what you should see in the neighbourhood and what to do apart from eating pasteis HERE.
6) A GINJINHA
Drinking cherry infused vodka is an obligatory thing in Lisbon! Ginja or ginjinha is about 19% vol. and you either drink it as shots or in a sweet manner – from a chocolate glass. The most popular, yet very tiny bar with ginjinha can be found near Rossio. You will recognise it after you see big and small groups of locals and tourists drinking the sweet beverage. Tastes best if you’re visiting Lisbon in winter. But if you come in summer, be sure to drop by too!
These places made our short stay in Lisbon really tasty! If you come for longer you’ll surely find other places for food that are worth visiting! 🙂 Remember that Lisbon is a great destination in summer but also in autumn and winter! A perfect destination to prolong your holidays and stop worrying about coming autumn!
PS. Hints regarding where to eat in Lisbon come mostly from Kuba Pieniążek from Fish Lovers who lived in Lisbon for a several years, knows every corner of the city and now imports fresh fish and seafood to Poland. Thank you! Or rather OBRIGADA🙂
* you can get to LISBON using Wizzair – two flights a week with one way ticket prices starting at PLN 369 .
* We visited Lisbon thanks to an invitation from Turismo de Lisboa