During my time visiting Lisbon, I walked a ton and ate a ton! Discovering Portuguese food and what to eat in Lisbon became one of my main reasons for being here. And a reason I want to return.
Known for its plethora of seafood, Portugal is the world’s largest consumer of cod (Bacalhau). Portugal’s love for fish doesn’t stop with cod — Portugal is one of the top countries in the world when it comes to seafood consumption. Sausage is another Portuguese favorite in addtion to rice, breads and pastry. Portuguese cuisine takes all of these ingredients and combines them into simple yet tasty dishes. Duck into the neighborhood tascas (small, affordable restaurants) to get the real taste of Portugal (or, better yet, get invited to someone’s home or look into Mealsharing.com)!
Here are a few of my favorite places to eat in Lisbon.
What to Eat in Lisbon
Table for one?”
“Si, obrigada,” I say as the waiter escorts me to a quiet corner table at the seven-year old Terra, a vegetarian restaurant in Lisbon’s barrio Principe Real.
This is one of the best vegetarian restaurants I’ve ever been to and here it is smack dab in the middle of meat and fish happy Portugal.
I realize more and more how much of my travels, and in turn, this blog end up being about food.
This restaurant is buffet-style, but don’t let that scare you off. The foods are all in beautiful clay pots and ceramic dishes. There are sturdy wooden tables with small candles and soft music plays in the background. It’s a calm atmosphere that also allows me to feel perfectly fine dining alone. Lunch I can do alone with not a worry, but sometimes dinner does still make me feel a bit uncomfortable depending on the place and crowd.
There are no less than four different types of salads – spinach, grean leaf with sultanas (raisins) and almonds, and all manner of accompaniments: hearts of palm, peas, artichoke hearts, fava beans, olives, slaw, corn.
Dishes of cous cous, falafel, mushrooms, orzo pasta salad and a few Indian dishes all vie for my attention and find themselves on my already overflowing plate.
There is a lovely back garden, but unfortunately it’s pouring rain. The only thing to ruin the lovely vibe here, is the fact that two different diners are loudly whispering on their mobiles.
From the magazine articles proudly framed on the wall, I see that the place is a big hit with the famously outspoken Vegan, Moby, as well as, Deepak Chopra…and well, me.
Yes, it’s recommended by the Lonely Planet Guide, but for good reason. This cozy cafe has that comfy couch/eclectic tchotchkes feel. It could be anywhere in the world and the food reflects that with asian and middle-east inspired dishes plus salads and wonderful fresh juice drinks. Okay, maybe it’s not your typical Portuguese food, but it’s really good. Run by Austrians, it’s a great spot to take an afternoon breather and sink into one of their couches with a good book (which you can find there – there are plenty of books and magazines floating around for a quick read).
Cantinho da Paz
Here is a neat little place brought to you by colonization. This restaurant serves up the cuisine of the lost Portuguese colony of Goa, which the Indian government reclaimed in 1961. I was taken here by a new couchsurfing friend. While it was a bit of a dead night, the spicy curries were great and the warm cellar-feel made me feel like I was in a hidden gem….one that’s been feeding the Portuguese masses for more than 35 years.
We ducked into the lively, candy-striped place in the popular Chiado district. Santini’s has that classic 1950s candy and ice cream shop vibe complete with red and white candy-cane décor and black and white photos adorning the walls. Perhaps it’s because it first opened in 1949. It feels like an ice cream shop from Coney Island rather than Lisbon. You’ll have trouble only visiting once with flavors like Hazelnut Chocolate, Dulce de Leche, Gorgonzola with Walnuts, and Acai with Strawberry.
Spending a weekend in Lisbon? Check out these 10 cool things to do in Lisbon. If you have more time, take one of these beautiful day trips from Lisbon.
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You are such a chick!! In my world, we start with the ice cream and work our way back to the vegetables. I could make all those ice cream flavors work in one trip. And repeat it again the next day! I wasn’t going to take Moby’s word for it, and even Deepak would leave me a bit uncertain. But when Lisa recommends a joint, I’m willing to bet it’s a good place. Even if it only serves veggies. Keep this on the down low with Deepak though. You know how he gets.
Ha ha! Well, there was pasta and cous cous too!!
Oh, that looks yummy indeed. I wouldn’t mind eating less and less meat if I can have such tast vegetarian dishes.
Thanks Marlys. Every year, I love veg more and eat so much less meat. Makes me happy. 🙂
I wish every restaurants should have a separate veggie menu. It’s sad that some people don’t realize the healthy benefits of these veggie food.
It seems like menus are changing to include so many veg options you don’t even have to find a special restaurant.
Great recommendations! The food looks delicious. I dine alone often when I travel, too. Always nice when you’re in a place that makes you feel comfortable.
Thanks Cathy! I know…there’s just some places where I feel totally fine alone and others I feel like I stick out. Unless it’s lunchtime…that I don’t even feel a thing!
Mariana Calleja / TravelThirst
mmmmm get the travel taste creative and crazy! 🙂 Thanx for sharing. Definitely Portugal is one of the countries where I’ve had the best food times.
I have to admit…while the food was good..I think I like Spain and Italy better! Yikes!
Santini! Nice. I think I spent about 50euro in there. I was blown away by the Cape Verdean food. Lots of great Cape Verdean, Angolan, Mozambican spots in Lisbon. Will have to check out the other places on your list the next time I’m there 🙂
Ah…I missed all of that. I need you as a guide. Thanks Phil!
Café Pois is good choice especially after any football event in Lisbon. The cafe has that comfy couch perfect for anyone. The food is as if cooked from other countries. World-class! I like their fresh juice drinks and salads.
Thanks Mike! Yes! Their fresh-squeezed juice was the perfect healthy fix for a weary traveler!
Nice food, all dishes look so yummy? How much are the dishes there? Is it more like posh restaurant or the prices are affordable when travelling on the budget? Thanks x
Hi Agness! That’s a good question…I should’ve included the buffet price. I don’t see it on their website and I don’t remember, but I am pretty sure it was between $12-20 USD.
Zara @ Backpack ME
Terra is, hands down, one of my favorite restaurants in Lisbon (where I used to live).
As you say, it’s a much needed break from all the meaty Portuguese dishes!
I’m happy to see you ate well in my country! 😉