One month in Lisbon. That’s some 90 meals. Quite a few I prepared at home. What is remarkable is how cheap fruit, vegetables, meat and fish are in Lisbon compared with Australia. Peppers and onions are sweet and cost pennies.
Tuna and Swordfish are about €12-€13 a kilo. It’s a shock to the system.
With cheaper ingredients, property and labour costs it is understandable that Portugal has plenty of quite cheap eats. I say quite cheap as Lisbon isn’t as cheap as you’d expect.
It’s partly that tax is high – 23% compared to Australia’s 10%. And partly that in the inner suburbs around the old town venues are mainly catering to tourists.
Restaurante Ponto Final
R. Ginjal 72, 2800 Almada
I’d rate this as one of the most essential Lisbon experiences together with its rooftop bars. I was recommended it by my old blogging friend Gill. And boy was it good, rustic, generous local dishes in a superb location.
We went for deep fried fish (of some sardine variation), a big bowl of beans with a fishcake -one pot could feed at least two – and a variety of other snacks and wine.
It’s a short ferry hop from Cais do Sodré to Cacilhas and then a 1km walk along a mostly abandoned and graffitied wharf to the restaurant. My only regret is that we didn’t return here.
Time Out Mercado da Ribeira
Open daily 10am-12am
Av. 24 de Julho 49, Portugal
Mainly catering to tourists, the Time Out Market is open all day every day and is worth visiting on Sunday and Monday nights in particular when many other restaurants are closed. It has a curated section of high profile local chefs with some stalls doing great value menu do dia.
You can try traditional local dishes such as prego rolls (steak sandwiches, braised ox cheek, bacaloa, pulvo (octopus) and croquetas at the various stalls. You can buy the amazing local Portuguese cheeses, ham, tinned goods, custard tarts and pastries. There’s also sushi, pizza, ice cream.
Seating probably 1,000 people it is a huge space with a really lively buzz. If you can’t decide what to eat, Time Out market will be no help because it will present you with so many choices.
There is a market next door with greengrocers, fish mongers and butchers.
Mercado de Campo de Ourique
Mon – Thu 10:00 – 23:00, Fri – Sun 10:00 – 01:00
106, R. Coelho da Rocha 104, Lisboa
This mercado is the Prahran Market of Lisbon though the focus is more about eating than shopping. It’s got plenty of steak and burger bars. In addition to others doing fish, ceviche and more. It’s a bit more pricy than the Time Out market and has less choice. It’s still fun though.
Biological Market at the Principe Real
Jardim do Príncipe Real
This is the local farmers market. You can buy wine, sensational cheese, ham and fruit and veg. I bought an amazing local bread, heavy enough to sink a blogger. There are also a selection of food stalls where you can eat. It’s worth a Saturday morning stroll here and a coffee at the local kiosk.
R. Dom Pedro V 129, 1250-096 Lisboa
I’ve already said it’s worth stopping for a large G&T or a pisco sour here. It’s also one of the hottest restaurants in town with terrific local variations on ceviche. Arrive early or make a booking.
NB: Don’t order the NZ sauvignon blanc!
R. António Maria Cardoso 58, 1200-330 Lisboa
At first I thought I’d jumped back a decade at Mini Bar as a Ferran Adria Spherified Olive (2004) was delivered. But perhaps that was just my food nerdiness. The food and drink is good and is a diversion from the traditional rustic fare. The menu took us through an excellent selection of curated wines and tapas-style dishes with Japanese influences. There was tiny ice cream cone with sashimi; a single ceviche of prawn served on a lime that you bite into; chicken skin tapas; tuna tataki. Overall this was one of the best dining experiences in Lisbon. Owner José Avillez – a local has other Lisbon restaurants all nearby – Belcanto, Cantinho do Avillez, Café Lisboa, and Pizzaria Lisboa.
R. Duques de Bragança 5, Lisboa
The crust is thin…really thin on these pricy pizzas.
Rua de O Século 242, Lisboa
Recommended by our Airbnb host, Tascardo is very local and great value. I had the steak in a garlic sauce with a fried egg on top. Pam was surprised that the squid came complete with innards and beak. It’s tasty and rustic – as is most Portuguese food.
R. Nova do Almada 95, 1200-288 Lisboa
Eventually you will crave vegetables. I mean back home do you only eat meat, fish and potatoes? No. This place, off Lisbon’s main shopping strip, does healthy salads. Top up on vegetables here.
Fábrica Coffee Roasters
Portugal, R. das Portas de Santo Antão 136, 1150-265 Lisboa
A grungy cafe doing Australian-style coffee and food. Worth a diversion.
Bengal Tandoori Lisboa
Rua da Alegria 23, Lisbon 1250-005
Curry in Lisbon? Why not. After all the Portuguese introduced chillis to India and led to the invention of vindaloo, a sour, hot curry containing pork. From savoury (and sweet for dessert) samosas to vindaloo this is a serious curry shop. You’ll need to navigate windy narrow back streets past a few rowdy African bars.
R. Rodrigues de Faria 103, 1300 Lisboa
Mainly burger joints and interesting reclaimed industrial buildings with various boutiques.
Also published on Medium.