Eating in Lisbon is a dream of seafood, indulgent desserts, and a heck of a lot of salted cod.
When you think of Portuguese cuisine, the first thing that comes to mind might be the pasteis de nata, having likely sampled the traditional egg custard tart at a local bakery. You might even think of pestiscos or conservas, small, tapas-like dishes that go hand-in-hand with gourmet canned seafood.
Yet for all of the gustatory delights that this European country has to offer, the Portuguese are obsessed with codfish! So much so that there are 365 ways of preparing bacalhau (though some claim there are over 1,000 ways of serving it), a recipe for every day of the year!
Personally, as much as I enjoyed Portugal’s national dish, I couldn’t imagine eating it every day. Pasta? Of course. Cod fish? Not so much…
Whether you love codfish enough to eat it 24/7, or you have more of a sweet tooth, there is plenty of eating to be done in Lisbon for every kind of foodie.
Eating In Lisbon For Every Foodie
- Pastéis de Belém
- Sol e Pesca
- Time Out Market Lisbon
- Dear Breakfast
- Fábrica do Pastel Feijão
- A Cevicheria
- Pizzaria Lisboa
Pastéis de Belém
Lisbon Eating for: the Traditionalist Foodie
Even if they’re not ultimately your favourite egg custard tarts that you encounter while eating in Lisbon, they will be the marker that you measure all others against.
In the early 19th century, the nuns and monks at Jerónimos Monastery would use egg whites to starch their clothes. Instead of letting the leftover yolks go to waste, they were redirected into creamy custards cradled in crisp, flaky tarts before being caramelized on top and sold to raise money to support the monastery.
The secret recipe that was developed by the monks ages ago is still used today by the current owners of Fábrica de Pastéis de Belém!
If you go early, you may be lucky enough to snag a seat inside the shop and devour your traditional pastéis de nata fresh from the oven. For the perfect pairing, order a cappuccino with a dense cloud of whipped cream to balance the sweetness of the pastry.
Sol e Pesca
Lisbon Eating for: the Sea-Foodie
It’s not hard to find Sol e Pesca, one of the restaurants in Lisbon that got the Anthony Bourdain seal of approval on No Reservations. Just follow the pink-paved road to this humble den of deliciousness in the Cais do Sondre district.
Inconspicuous and about the size of a postage stamp, this concept eatery still bears remnants of its former life as a fishing tackle shop with nets hanging from the ceilings and casting rods lining the wall. Instead of showcasing elaborate fishing lures, the glass display is stacked with colourful tins of seafood that Sol e Pesca is known for.
This is not the sad flaked tuna that you’d find in the aisles of your local grocery store. Conservas are considered a delicacy in Portugal and one of the foods that Lisbon is famous for, containing only the highest quality ingredients.
Park yourself on the rosy-hued patio with a massive jug of sangria and tuck into petiscos made of anchovy and sliced apple, mussels swimming in premium olive oil, and sardines drowning in chilli sauce.
My personal favs? You MUST sample the stuffed squids swimming in a delicately spicy tomato sauce and the bacalhau dish with soft chunks of bread and mussels in garlic olive oil!
Time Out Market Lisbon
Lisbon Eating for: the Variety-Seeking Foodie
For a taste of all that the best restaurants in Lisbon have to offer under one roof, beeline to the Time Out Market Lisbon in Cais do Sondre.
This gustatory nirvana occupies the historic Mercado da Ribeira which had hosted the city’s top vendors — meat, fish, fruit, flowers — since 1892.
Wander the expansive, high-ceilinged space filled with canteen-style seating and marvel at the masterful offerings from over two dozen eateries, bars, and speciality shops that were curated by the discerning team of editors and food writers at Time Out Portugal.
Take the edge off your hunger with a starter of meticulously crafted grilled sardine and cod nigiri from Sea Me, a tribute to Portugal’s culinary ties with Japan.
Continue your feast with bacalhau à brás from Miguel Castro e Silva. As Portugal’s national dish, bacalhau (dried and salted cod) is so beloved that the Portuguese have 365 different ways to cook it, one for every day of the year!
This particular hearty dish is composed of shredded salt cod, scrambled eggs, onions and fried potatoes, and topped with briny green olives.
Wash it down with a glass of refreshing sangria bobbing with berries at a high-top table at O Bar da Odete.
End your meal with the most quintessential Portuguese dessert — a pastéis de nata! You will not be able to resist devouring mountains of these crispy tarts filled with creamy egg custard infused with a hint of cinnamon from Manteigaria😋
Lisbon Eating for: the Breakfast Foodie
Nestled in the elegant Chiado neighbourhood, Dear Breakfast is like the hopeful beginnings of a love letter to the first meal of the day. It’s a charming spot to enjoy breakfast in Lisbon before a day spent exploring Portugal’s bustling capital.
This casual morning eatery will satisfy your eyes as much as your tastebuds with a light-filled cavernous dining room filled with towering palms, marble tabletops, and blue velvet seats.
Treat yourself to a sparkling mimosa or fresh detox smoothie made with apple, carrot, ginger and beets (depending on how the night before went) while perusing the seasonal offerings in the all-day breakfast menu.
Start light with an açaí bowl topped with fresh berries, shredded coconut and granola for a boost of energy before moving on to a classic avocado toast with a plump poached egg and tart pickled onions.
Save room for savoury pancakes piled high with fried eggs and glistening slices of bacon, generously drizzled with maple syrup. If you’re not a fan of the sweet/savoury combo, opt for the classic scrambled eggs garnished with luxe black truffle.
If the wait at Dear Breakfast is too long for your growling belly, take a stroll up the street and grab a pastry from Fauna & Flora, a lush oasis and popular spot for breakfast in Lisbon. Or swing by Hello Kristof, a chic coffee shop made for lounging, for a hit of caffeine.
Another nearby brunch spot that’s worth a visit is the Heim Café. This cozy nook serves up healthy breakfast eats with a modern twist, think quinoa fritters and the crowd-pleasing avocado toast.
Lisbon Eating for: the Plant-Obsessed Foodie
Considered to be one of the best restaurants in Lisbon, you’ll feel as if you’ve been transported to a pastoral paradise from the minute you step into Prado.
Wedged between Lisbon’s Baixa and Alfama neighbourhoods, this former preserves factory is where untamed wilderness meets Nordic simplicity.
Caramel leather seats bracket the light-filled space, framing blonde wood tables, brass fixtures and a high-ceiling laden with lush foliage.
Prado means “meadow” in Portuguese, reflecting the farm-to-table menu brimming with high quality ingredients that celebrate the best that Portugal’s land and sea has to offer.
While the offerings transition with the seasons, you’ll always find fresh, innovative dishes to dine on. When I was there, I devoured a feast of pleurotus mushrooms drenched in a red pepper sauce and sprinkled with toasted buckwheat, mussels in a delicate broth with leeks, and a meaty pork leg served with cockles, spinach and coriander.
DO NOT miss out on their flavourful sourdough bread served warm with two spreads — goat’s butter with sea lettuce and smoked salt, and whipped Iberico pork fat with garlic and pradika. Heaven.
Fábrica do Pastel Feijão
Lisbon Eating for: the Sweet Tooth Foodie
Who knew that the absolute best dessert in Lisbon would be made of cannellini beans? It’s something you’d expect to be in a hearty chilli, NOT an award-winning dessert.
Originally developed in the Torres Vedra region, Chef António Amorim reinvented the pastel de feijão from a thick-crusted bean tart into a dainty confection, a mixture of cannellini and almond sandwiched between two thin, barely-there slivers of caramelized sugar.
The recipe is so classified that he arrives at Fábrica do Pastel Feijão in the quaint Alfama district at 4am just to whip up a batch rather than divulge the secret to his staff.
Enjoy with a piping hot sip of espresso to balance and elevate the flavours this sweet treat.
Lisbon Eating for: the Sea-Foodie
Eating beneath a decorative octopus always makes food taste better, no?
Whether or not that statement is accurate, A Cevicheria in Lisbon is a nirvana for fresh fish lovers. With Chef Kiko Martins at the helm, this casual Portuguese restaurant serves up tangy ceviches and seafood with an Asian flair in the hip Principe Real neighbourhood.
Be prepared to wait for a seat as they don’t take reservations and the modest space can only accommodate 20 diners at a time. However, the minutes will fly by as you can grab an expertly concocted pisco sour or a chill beer from the bar.
Once you secure a spot, start your meal with a shockingly pink tuna ceviche with foie gras, lychees, hazelnuts and tiger milk beetroots. Move on to tiny towers of causa — Alaskan king crab, salmon roe and scallop layered atop Peruvian mashed potato with squid ink.
If you’re craving a heartier warm dish, try the roasted octopus nestled on a mound of black mashed potato with roasted onion, pepper and a salty pork rind.
Lisbon Eating for: the Homesick Foodie
You can’t write a blog post covering the best restaurants in. Lisbon without including one of many eateries from José Avillez.
View this post on Instagram
As one of the Portugal’s most renown chefs and restauranteurs, his culinary empire includes notable establishments — like the upscale Belcanto and Bairro do Avillez for hearty traditional food — that represent the finest that the country has to offer.
However, no matter how much you love Portuguese food and enjoy eating in Lisbon, sometimes the constant barrage of “new” will have you craving a taste of the familiar. Luckily Avillez also owns Pizza Lisboa because what’s more comforting and universal than a slice of pizza?
View this post on Instagram
Sip on a porto tonico while you wait for your thin crust pizza (named after a district in the city) to be delivered to the table. Make it a veritable banquet by ordering beef carpaccio with truffle shavings, cheesy risotto, and ribbons of al dente pasta coated in a sticky Bolognese sauce.
Ideally, if you’re planning your itinerary to Portugal, schedule all the eating in Lisbon would after you’ve gallivanted across the glorious beaches of Lagos…otherwise you’ll need to pack your breeziest muumuu to camouflage your jiggly bits. That’s called “strategic thinking” 😆
If you think the food was good in Lisbon, wait till you eat your way through Porto!
Keep your stalking game strong and follow me @teriaki if you aren’t already!