Lisbon is often compared to San Francisco, referring to its hilly streets. Other times it's called southern Europe's equivalent to Berlin, because of the growing hipster tech scene. Or something. I was probably distracted, eating my weight in pastel de natas at the time. It happens when you're in Portugal.
Because if there's something I love about Lisbon, it's the food. And drinks. And the people! And also the architecture. And the weird narrow streets where I'm genuinely surprised every time I get where I intended to go.
Ok, I love Lisbon for many reasons. But this post is about food. And drinks.
There's no lack of great guides on where to eat in Lisbon, and they're all more well-researched than this post. You see, when I find a place I like I have a habit of going there every day until the staff starts saying "see you tomorrow!" and that makes it awkward and I never go back.
But whenever a friend goes there, they ask for recommendations, so I might as well gather a few of my favorites in a neat little list. All of the places here are in the center, as you can see on the shiny map at the end.
10. Time Out Market
One of the classics everyone will recommend, and for a good reason. It’s a foodcourt of the classier kind, with something for every taste and plenty of space. Perfect for casual meet ups, especially if you’re a big group or have picky eaters with you (I would know, erhm).
If I need to focus and get work done, this is my preferred choice. Fábrica is a cafe with that retro style every traveling hipster person has a thing for. Or maybe just me. Anyway, they also have decent coffee, solid internet, and the staff is nice.
Yes, it’s a cafe optimized for Instagram, and yes, you will have to share the space with well-dressed teenagers who spend more time taking pictures of their food than eating it. But as far as breakfasts go, it delivers.
I still dream about their homemade granola.
Lemon. Honey. Rosemary. It’s a match made in gelato heaven and no visit to Lisbon is complete without a stop here.
Pastel de nata
(Not from Manteigaria, because I obviously ate that one faster than shutter speed. Priorities, you know.)
The best pastel de natas, the famous Portuguese pastry, is said to be in Belém, which is slightly outside the city center and I've never managed to make it there. I have tried a bunch of other places though, and can definitely vouch for this one.
5. Cafe Tati
The coffee is not going to blow your mind, but the atmosphere is perfect for writing. Around 3 pm it will also be socially acceptable to switch over to red wine*, which will increase your creativity by at least 50%. According to empirical studies made by me.
*Just kidding, it’s always socially acceptable with wine.
4. A Tabacaria
On my latest visit to Lisbon, in May, we ended up here one night. Sitting outside for hours, sharing stories which will hopefully never make it outside of that particular circle, because you know, reputation.
The thing that makes it a new favorite of mine is that the owner doesn't do any classic cocktails. You have to tell him what flavors you like, and then he’ll make you an original. As you can see, we liked it so much we're basically family now.
The food is great, but if you're a fan of tequila in general and mezcal in particular, then you have to go here. As you can see, I got so excited by my drink I had a mental breakdown. It happens sometimes. Mostly when tequila is involved.
1. Tapa Bucho
When you get here, it will most likely be full. Because it's tiny and popular. This isn't a problem though. What you do while you wait is to hang out outside with a few beers, as you always do in Lisbon and yet another reason for loving this city. The food is incredible, and don't forget dessert. Trust me on that one.