The Lisboa Recap | 2022
I was going to start this out by saying that I didn’t even do a blog post when I was last in Lisbon in 2017! But after a quick search, I realized I did. Having spent a month there (and also having a bit more money than I did then), I definitely saw a different side of Lisbon (a deeper side?). The city itself has definitely changed, there’s way more Aussie cafe-like brunch spots than there were then (I feel like Nicolau was one of the handful that existed then), and I had the opportunity to also share meals and experiences with friends that visited, which is always lovely! I also posted a few vlogs of my time in Lisbon 🙂
Food: the last time I was here I really focused on eating at traditional Portuguese places and having had done that, I didn’t feel as obligated to do so this time around, but still a few on the list below! From what I observed, Lisbon has a big reservation culture (you’ll need for the nicer casual + nice places mentioned below for sure). For most restaurants you can call same day in the morning to make a booking for dinner, some (like O Velho Eurico, Prado), you do need to book in advance.
Categories below are more to describe atmosphere (I don’t think you need to really dress up for any of them, to be clear) and also slightly cluster price-point wise. Casual ($10-15ish), nicer casual ($20-30ish), nice ($60+).
- Jhol Mo:mo: hole-in-the-wall Nepalese spot, get the Jhol momo soup — the soup has this deep nutty flavor with loads of coriander, and I’ve never had anything quite like it. I also had jhol momo at a fewer other spots but this one was my fave version! If you have a ton of Nepalese restaurants that offer this in your hometown, probably skippable, but this was a first for me.
- Curva: I love this cafe because it was close to where I’m staying and I got the veggie wrap bowl multiple times as a ‘stomach reset’ when I was craving something fresh. Cute spot with a little shop in the back. Neighbourhood was also good for similar Aussie cafe vibes with a solid amount of savory options.
- Panda Cantina: Sichuan-ish ramen that was really good! Cold tea with green tea + aloe vera is also something I will be recreating at home. Probably not something you need for a short trip but good if you’re craving noodle soup (or have asian parents that crave asian food every time they’re gone for more than a week).
- Egg tarts: The two big spots are Pastéis de Belem and Manteigaria.. I personally like Manteigaria a little better for its crust.
- O Velho Eurico: traditional Portuguese tapas, make a reservation via Instagram. I actually made my second reservation while at lunch for my first reservation haha. The menu rotates but I think they have some constants. I loved the squid in orange-butter, the beef sando in gravy (drooling thinking about it, also pictured above), and the braised tuna. (Personally felt the octopus was a little tough but might have just been a one-off).
- Damas: great for groups, a mix of traditional Portuguese tapas and also non-Portuguese tapas. We loved the pica pau, pork with sweet potatoes, and the garlic shrimp. Make sure you go for dinner because the lunch menu is just a set menu of the day (still lovely food!).
- Patuá: Macanese-ish food. Restaurant is influenced by the chef’s Macanese roots but an eclectic mix of other Asian flavors as well. Everything I tried was super yummy, flavorful, and homey. Loved Tio Gege’s shrimp and the sweet potato dessert. If you go, say hi to Daniela for me!
- Prado: Wow this spot just blew my mind. The restaurant is stunning and the food is so nicely done and delightful. It feels a little more ‘refined’ than the previous spots I’ve mentioned. Flavors, textures, everything, yum. Also the bread is so good???? I usually try not to waste my stomach space on bread but 1) we needed it for the sauces that were divine and 2) wow the bread 3) the pig fat spread unf.
- Plano: Similar to Prado, the food here was incredible! Tasting menu style — you can choose 5 or 9 course. We did the 9 and in hindsight I lowkey wish I did the 5 because on course 9 I just… died.
- Ramiro: I mean… you should probably go to Ramiro because everyone (even locals) tells me it’s the best seafood in town. However, I went last time and felt ripped off due to my un-strategic ordering (I had an expat friend tell me she felt ripped off the first two times she went and has since gotten better at the ordering haha). Definitely a good one for 1+ person. You’re going to want to do things like order 1 tiger shrimp to split (they cut them in half) instead of order 2 tiger shrimps for just yourself.
- Mini Bar: this was a really fun, molecular gastronomy experience from José Avillez (well-known Portuguese chef with a couple of Lisbon restaurants). You can order bites or do a set menu (we did set). Cool vibes inside, but IMO def more pretentious and delicious and way too much truffle oil usage.
- Sol e Pesca: this one is good if you’re interested in exploring tinned fish more, you can order a variety of tins and try them all in one spot as a snack.
Places people recommend that I would pass on: Taberna da Rua das Flores, d’as Beatas
Drink: I’m not sure these are like *the best* spots to drink as they are largely influenced where I was staying further up east but I love them nonetheless and took friends to many of them!
- Onda Cocktail Room: took everyone here. Yummy and creative drinks. Also have non-alcohol cocktails
- o Pif: Portuguese wine bar, a little more pricy than your local wine bar but very cute
- Ladidadi: natural wine shop and bar! Just a few doors down from Onda Cocktail Room. On the same strip you also have Pharmacia Musica that does live music 1-2 nights a week
- Comida Independente: came recommended to me by multiple locals. You can sample a variety of wines and order by the glass. You can also order meats and cheese by weight to snack on.
- On the list – Foxtrot
To Do: These were the things I thought were fun and enjoyable. You could go to LX factory on Sunday (they have a few restaurants and a maker’s mart) but I thought it was small and just not really the kinda crafts I was looking to buy.
Spend half a day/more at:
- Belém: Still! my! top! Jeronimos Monastery is so beautiful and breathtaking every time. You can easily hit up the monastery, the tower, and Pastéis de Belém in one afternoon.
- Sintra: It’s a town that has a lot of palaces and castles. And I finally made it to Pena Palace!!!!!! (the colorful red and yellow one you see in a lot of photos) Wheeeeee. We were only there for a little over an hour (which felt like plenty). And we also did Park and Palace of Monserrate. Took the train into Sintra, got lunch, and then called ubers/bused to the two spots we had picked out. With a tour you’ll see more things but I appreciated the leisurely-ish pace we got (I say leisurely-ish because we had to rush back for a dinner res).
Spend an hour or two at:
- Tile Museum: fun, beautiful, worth going.
- Feira da Ladra: love!! Tuesdays and Saturdays there’s this big flea market (like really big) that has everything from vintage homeware to clothing, to a stand for vintage furs, tiles. It’s great and there’s also a cool high-up view of the water. The other one that gets branded as ‘the biggest flea market in Lisbon’ is Feira da Relogio… that one sucks, it’s more knockoff goods and tiger balm than anything else.
- Ceramicas na Linha: Ceramic store that sells imperfects from ceramic factories in Portugal in part of the store that are priced per kilo. The other part of the store is nicer pieces that are priced individually. Basically every Lisbon restaurant gets their wares from here.
- A Vida Portuguesa: store with tchotchkis and things made in Portugal. I mainly went for the tinned fish selection. They have a few locations. I believe one is inside Mercado da Ribiera/TimeOut Market.
- Comida Indepedente farmer’s market: Hi, so, I don’t think anyone needs to go to a farmer’s market during a vacation. But.. idk I think it’s fun to see what’s available if you’re in the area and also what local makers are selling.
- Mercado da Ribeira: meeehhh, half of this is the old traditional mercado (you’ll need to go in the morning to see this) and the other half is the new TimeOut Market which you can go for a variety of food stalls but it’s not really my thing. It’s nice to see once but personally would just stroll through.
I’m not sure if anyone needs a workout reco but I loved taking outdoor TRX classes with Bex in the park. The garden (Jardim da Estrela) itself is also stunningly beautiful. Also worth checking out fado if you have time, don’t think it’s a *must* but it’s a London-specific music genre and fun to experience. We went to Canto da Atalaia, you’ll need a reservation.
I *think* that covers everything! It’s a gorgeous city, your calves will love/hate you, try not to fall, and have fun!!