In my opinion, this is the food and drink you need to try in Lisbon and here are some of the places you need to go!
This is my favourite Portuguese pastry and they really, really know their pastries here.
The best two I’ve had are:
At Manteigaria – note that they have their own central shop but that they are also in the Time Out Market.
For me, the tastiest custard tarts are hot from the oven, definitely have cinnamon and icing sugar added (you add them yourself) and are crisp and flaky on the outside and creamy and rich in the middle. Oh, and you should definitely have them with a Portuguese-style coffee.
There are so many amazing pastries to try and if you go to different parts of Portugal there are lots of regional specialties. Just find a place like this in Lisbon and you will be able to try them for a fair price with a nice cup of coffee or glass of freshly-squeezed orange juice.
Fish and shellfish
This is one of my favourite things about eating in Portugal- the fish is of amazing quality and the prices are great- see for example this restaurant, one of the most famous in Lisbon where I had one of the best meals of my life.
A steak roll- hammered flat (one of the theories is that this is how it got it’s name, which means ‘nail’ in Portuguese) with garlic, in a fresh roll with some mustard for a little bite. I really liked the ones here but they are widely available.
The only Portuguese sandwich I like more than the prego, this is pork stewed in white white and garlic. Many people say that the best are found here but personally I think the ones here are an order of magnitude better.
Many people would say that you should only eat this enormous ‘sandwich’ in Porto and they are probably right, but I found the one here delicious.
Menu of the Day
In lots of Portuguese restaurants they have a menu of the day- you often have a bit of choice. Read here how I had a starter, a main, a dessert, wine and coffee for a brilliant price- right in my neighbourhood.
Typical Portuguese restaurants
Try to get off the tourist trail and try typical Portuguese restaurants like this one I took my Dad to when he visited.
A more modern food experience
Portugal isn’t the best place for vegetarians. While the vegetables here are pretty good- we especially love the garlic- in most traditional restaurants the choice is pretty limited.
The Portuguese way of serving coffee is my favourite of any country I’ve been to. In my experience it is similar to the Italian way- lots of people drink a short coffee fast, standing up- but the coffee culture here- teamed with the brilliant pastries, is unbeatable.
There are some great places worth trying but to be honest even the most local or chain places seem to serve proper coffee in proper cups. Our local supermarket for example (in the Pingo Doce chain) has a small cafe with great coffee for the cheapest price I’ve found in Lisbon.
Portuguese wine is phenomenal and amazing value. The prices in the supermarket are sensational (especially when they have deals) and I haven’t found a wine style here I haven’t enjoyed. Lisbon has some particularly cool places to enjoy a glass or two.
A cherry liqueur you have to try. In Lisbon there are a number of shops which specialise only in that. A couple of the main ones are both central and right across from each other. We liked this one a lot more than this one.
There isn’t lots to say about Portuguese beer. The market is completely dominated by two mass-produced beers- Sagres (which I like if it is ice cold on a hot day) and Super Bock (which I really can’t stand). Most people here don’t seem to mind which one they drink- to the extent that they switched my order without telling me in a bar and were surprised when I expressed a preference.
However, there are a few places that serve craft beers, including Portuguese craft beers (I was particularly impressed with the brewery Mean Sardine, here). Plus there are some lovely locations to enjoy a drink- either with views over the city or places like here on the outskirts of town.
Finally, an amazing way to combine eating, drinking and Portuguese culture is to go to an evening of Fado music, which we enjoyed at Povo (there are so many alternatives, just try to find one that isn’t too touristy).
Plus the current number one rated Lisbon restaurant on Trip Advisor is Estamine, which is in our neighbourhood. The food was nice but it was the experience- just a couple of tables and really friendly people- that made it stand out. The couple who run it gave us so many recommendations of brilliant things to try in and around Lisbon.