Outside of East Asia, this is probably my favourite country that I have been to for food. I’m craving everything as I type this! Except for Pasteis de Nata, almost everything I had involved seafood and boy was it delicious. In London it’s hard to get a decent seafood meal unless you are willing to pay a lot and even then the food isn’t always fresh. In Lisbon you will find an abundance of seafood varieties that are fresh, juicy & flavourful. As I mentioned in my previous post, I just wanted more and I didn’t crave home food as I normally would when abroad.
Starting with the icon of Portugal: Pasteis de Nata. This was my first time trying these so I don’t have much experience but I can definitely say that they are amazing. My aim was to try as many as I could so every time I saw it I was practically thinking *take my money*. You can’t go too wrong when they come out fresh and hot. Have it the traditional way with some icing sugar and cinnamon on top – trust me it’s so good. My favourite were Manteigaria and Pasteis de Belem – actually not overrated! Crispy thin tart with creamy creamy filling *drools*. I think the only one that I didn’t enjoy so much was Tartine (though I read lots of good reviews). It was cold and maybe because of that the pastry was chewy rather than crisp. 😦
Highlight from my trip: Time Out Market! Everything about this – YES YES YES! I can’t even express how much I loved this, partially because Manteigaria and Sea Me were both there and both places that I had on my list to go to. Aside from that, there are so many choices. There are many food markets in London these days but what’s different is that Time Out Market is concentrated on restaurant style – so actual dishes that are meals rather than just street food bites or snacks. Having said that I really liked the octopus hotdog from Sea Me and Octopus rice from Chefe Miguel Castro e Silva, but the Piri Piri chicken from Miguel Laffan was not so good. It tasted like a roast chicken with Piri dust sprinkled over it and sitting in a bed of olive oil. My Nandos upgrade dreams shattered right there. But there’s a really good vibe in here and it’s quite lively all day long but around dinner time be prepared to hunt for seats!
Ze da Mouraria – I have to dedicate a paragraph to this place. This place housed the best and most memorable dish of my trip. Chocos com batatas (cuttlefish with potatoes). This is a small restaurant only open for lunch times and visited by locals (so you know it is authentic). Tucked away and slightly hard to find but well worth it. I have read that the menu is all delicious and I wish I went earlier in the trip so I could do return trips and try the rest. Unfortunately I only visited this on my last day and with the portion being SO BIG, I only had the cuttlefish but I have no complaints whatsoever. It was delicious, the portion was super generous, this one dish filled the two of us so much that we were struggling to walk after and all for just €16.50! Plus, get some bread to mop up the olive oil! AH-MAY-ZINGGG! P.S. You should see a little sign saying Ze da Mouraria on the top left of a green gate door, the door for the restaurant is the door to the left of this! We stood outside the wrong entrance haha.
If you have time, visit LX Factory. (In my head I thought this would be a building with mutliple stories with shops but it wasn’t – not sure why I had this thought haha) But this is a little area, like a mini Carnaby St, with lots of food shops/cafes and boutique shops – the feeling was a bit like Shoreditch. I personally loved the coffee shops and the shop selling cork made goods which were really pretty. In terms of food – I went to Burger Factory and had the Fried Octopus burger because after SeaMe, I had an obsession with Octopus, but it didn’t taste like octopus? The texture and taste was fish-like, like a slightly chewier fish-finger burger. There was also no sauce with the burger which made it quite dry and tasteless… After a disappointing meal I had dessert from Landeau Chocolate – the chocolate cake which is to die for. It was so light with the mousse on top and the flavour of the chocolate was rich but just perfectly so, not too much. A perfect slice size and with an earl grey on the side, enough to make me forget about Burger Factory! P.S. We walked here from Belem which was surprisingly easy – only took about half an hour and was relatively straight roads.
Sintra – The home of Pena Palace. A beautifully colourful palace with some breathtaking views! If you manage to visit here, make sure you go to Casa Piriquita for their Travesseiro. It is a flaky pastry filled with an egg and almon cream which is *amazing*. I wish I bought more! Also tried the Queijadas and the Pasteis de Cruz Alta which were both nice but if you must try one thing only, try the Travesseiro!! P.S. When you enter the shop, on the right near the entrance is a ticket machine. You need to grab a ticket and wait for your number to be called to be served – I think I waited about 20 mins which seems to be the norm.
In terms of drinks, port and wine is so cheap so if you can drink alcohol, you’re in for a treat. Personally I’m not a big drinker but I had to try Ginjinha (Ginja) which I read about everywhere. The first one I came across was from Manteigaria which was quite strong for me so I had to take little sips. Try ones that come in chocolate cups, they make a sweeter treat. The best in my opinion was from A Ginjinha – one of the most famous places for this cherry liquor and was my favourite as it was slightly sweeter than the rest.
SO, seafood. I was super excited about eating seafood in Lisbon as it’s not as fresh/great in London. I went to Cervejaria Ramiro which I had received suggestions about and there was a queue so I thought it must be good. I got clams on garlic €10.85 which were really nice and perfect with some bread to soak up the sauce. We also got tiger prawns which were really juicy and needed just a squeeze of lemon to bring out the flavours but this came up to €66. The majority of the menu is displayed with prices by weight which for me is quite hard to judge. This is definitely not the place to go if you’re on a budget as I’ve been told there are many other places with similar, if not better quality and nothing near those prices! Needless to say that I was surprised by the bill and we even had to get a couple next to us to exchange some £ to € for us as we short (I am forever grateful and wishing you good karma as you were lifesavers – I will also try my best to help anyone who ever comes across such a situation!) But lesson learnt – I left my card at the hotel so if I’m ever going somewhere that displays prices by weight, I shall not go unless I’m willing to splash on my card!
After the previous paragraph, it’s definitely safe to say that I had lots of memorable moments in Lisbon. Despite this, Lisbon still remains as one of my favourite places for food and I can’t wait to go back and try more places/revisit some faves.
Let me know if you have any faves from Lisbon or if you have any questions about places I’ve mentioned. To check out all my Lisbon posts on instagram, search the hashtag #LFAinLisbon. Enjoy! ♥