A Non-Touristy Food Journey through Lisbon

Thu, 9 August 2018

There is an endless list of wonderful places to eat in Lisbon; you’ll find something to devour on almost every street corner in this sunny city. But you don’t need us to tell you about celebrity chefs or the restaurants that are booked up until next year – you can get that information anywhere online. Instead, we’ve picked out the specific local plates you need to get your teeth into and exactly where to find them at their best. Enough pasteis de nata (well, never enough, but you know what we mean), these are the morsels that will make your mouth water at the mere memory. Of course, there are many (many) more, but these are our firm favourites.

Este Oeste

Located in the Culture Centre of Belém, the menu here is divided into “west” (featuring European dishes with an emphasis on Italy) “east” (largely focusing on Japan) and “fusion”, an imaginative global combining. But it’s the padella este oeste – sea soup with udon noodles cooked in a wood-fired oven – that really stands out as here. Simply incredible.

Azenhas do Mar

Okay, so this one is in rather a lot of guidebooks – but with good reason. It does divine fish and has a beautiful view, but most importantly, they serve a delight that roughly translates as “seafood in bread soup with garlic”. You need to order it to understand.

Salsa e Coentros

In the neighbourhood of Alvalade are some of the most typical Portuguese restaurants and patisseries that are well worth a look-in. But what brings us to Salsa e Coentros time and time again is the partridge empanada with turnip rice. While you wait, order the fava beans with coriander.

Sem Palavras

Also in Alvalade is this informal taverna touting fresh seafood and a beef-loin sandwich (“prego do lombo”) that we’d leave the house for no matter how big a storm was raging outside. Get the best of both worlds and order prawn and the octopus salad to start – and probably an extra sandwich to take away with you.

Tasquinha do Lagarto

Whipping up traditional childhood dishes, eating here will leave you feeling like you’ve just been fed by the Portuguese grandmother you (probably) never had. Everything is homemade; we recommend “cozido à Portuguesa” (Portuguese stew) and grouper rice.


We love the space, we love the view of Sta Catarina and we love the entire menu. But what really makes our heart sing at Pharmacia is the razor-clam rice – hands down the best in Lisbon. One of those dishes that lingers in the mind far longer than the stomach (we’re talking several years), we know a certain someone who ate it three times in one weekend.


Farmers’ markets sprouting up in almost every neighbourhood means fresh produce is the order of the day in Lisbon. Weather permitting (the capital enjoys over 300 days of sunshine a year), you can’t leave without having a good old picnic on the beach. Head to your local market and pick up some requeijão (a Portuguese cheese made with goat’s milk), black olives, morcela de arroz (smoked meat and rice in the shape of a chorizo), alheira de Mirandela (a Jewish sausage) and a selection of canned fish – unlike the lacklustre tuna variety you may be used to, expect colourful tins packed with the likes of sardines, horse mackerel, anchovies, octopus and eel.

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City Guide: Lisbon

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