As beautiful and delicious Lisbon was, the stairs and steps were almost unbearable. This was definitely because I was extremely out of shape. Props to locals who can climb those steps everyday!
We arrived in Lisbon at 11am Thursday, July 11th. As you could imagine after an overnight flight, we were starving. We heard amazing things about the Time Out Market. This market was like a cafeteria of restaurants. I tried my first Portuguese croquette and custard otherwise known as pastel de nata. I think the Time Out Market was a great place to start. It is a touristy spot so the prices are higher than usual, but it’s a great place to meet some locals and other people too.
For dinner, we went to Ramiro. If you watched my YouTube video, it’s a great visual to how the food looks and how busy the restaurant was. I believe it was Anthony Bourdain who introduced us to this restaurant. We were on a budget, so we didn’t order the steak and shellfish. We ended up ordering garlic clams and shrimp – it was unbelievably delicious. One thing you do have to try, if not at this restaurant but in this country is: Azeitao cheese. It is one of the creamiest hard cheeses we’ve tasted, and it originated in Portugal!
After our long hike to Castel de S. Jorge, a quick lunch at an Iberian ham shop, we explored Barrio Alto and Alfama. One of my favourite meals that day was from Frangasqueira Nacional. If you saw the video, you know that I took quite the tumble down the steps on our way here and man, it was worth it. The restaurant is a little difficult to find and we were told to come early due to the demand. No kidding, the shop opened at 6pm and there were already 4 people in front of us.
This was one of my favourite cheap eats discovery this whole trip
We order the juiciest chicken, garlic rice, and breakfast sausages. We ended the day off by taking our food to a park near the restaurant and pigging out on a bench. The restaurant had very limited seating.
One thing I really wanted to try in Portugal is the traditional Bifanas. Bifanas is a Lisbon-style Pork sandwich. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I have an obsession with trying traditional dishes from their origin and it’s been said many times that Lisbonians have the best bifanas. We went to a restaurant called Tendinha do Rossio. We ordered bifana grelhada, rissole de camarao, and 2 shots of ginja. The sandwich (bifana grelhada) is so juicy, so delicious and so filled with flavour. I highly recommend stopping here for a sandwich. It’ll still leave you room to try new things elsewhere, while also having a delicious snack!
For dinner, we stumbled upon a restaurant that was attached to Lojas das Conservas (sardine chain store) in Rua do Arsenal. We grabbed some Portuguese petiscos. A petiscos is like the cousin of Spanish Tapas, think a variety of small dishes. We ordered the cod fritters (bacalhau), grilled sardines, and rice tomato stew. This was our last dinner in this city and we were not disappointed.
If you’re wondering what you should order if you don’t visit the following restaurants, your safest bet is seafood, specifically bacalhau. Balcalhau is the Portuguese word for cod. This ingredient is found most common in Portugal. I highly recommend trying any dishes that have Balcalhau in it if you want to have an authentic Portuguese experience.
What I gather from eating in Lisbon for 3 days is how fresh the ingredients are. I have never left a restaurant feeling bloated or overly stuffed. The seafood is very light and even with the fried croquettes, I never felt greasy or gross. I don’t think I have to reiterate this but Pastel de natas from Portugal are to DIE for. Do I have a favourite bakery I get them from? Probably, but we ate so many in between lunch and dinner that I cannot recall the bakery shops names. Be sure to watch my Lisbon, Portugal travel diaries on YouTube to hear more about our wonderful adventures!
Highly Recommended dishes
- Pastel de nata
- Portuguese cod croquettes
- Azeitao cheese
- Portuguese BBQ chicken and garlic rice
Highly Recommended restaurants
- Time Out Market (try any restaurant in there, a great place to explore)
- Frangasqueira Nacional
- Restaurant attached to Lojas das Conservas (sardine chain store) in Rua do Arsenal