It’s easy to underestimate how impressive Lisbon’s culinary game is, especially with neighbours like Paris, Naples and Copenhagen, which are world-renowned for their culinary excellence. However, don’t be mistaken... this makes any gastronomic experience in Lisbon just that much better. Whether you’re a total foodie or experimenting with new cuisines, there are so many incredible local delicacies to devour, impressive street food to try and amazing restaurants in Lisbon to dine at.
In this foodie’s guide to Lisbon, you’ll discover the best restaurants in London and the must-try dishes, so keep reading to plan the best city break with the food to match!
Must-try local delicacies
Pasteis de nata
These breakfast treats are probably the most famous Portuguese delicacy. Flaky and crispy puff pastry, filled with custard and topped with cinnamon. You can find these tasty little tarts all around the world now, but the pasteis de natas from Lisbon are on another level of delicious. Keep reading to discover the best spots in town for pasteis de nata...
Great to munch on the go, the bifana is basically the world’s tastiest pork steak sandwich and is easily one of the best foods in Lisbon. The bifana is a perfect example of traditional Portuguese food - no fuss and made with minimal, simple ingredients. The preparation of the pork differs from place to place, but it’s usually seasoned with garlic, white wine and various spices such as Piri Piri and comes in a fresh, crispy bread roll. This sandwich goes perfectly with an ice-cold beer and of all the street food in Lisbon, this should not be missed (especially if you’re on a budget!)
Originating in Porto, the popularity of this overindulgent sandwich (if you can even call it that) has caused it to migrate south to Lisbon. Considered by some as a heart attack in a sandwich, this sandwich is filled with ham, sausage, pork steak (...basically all the meat you can possibly fine) and cheese slotted in between two thick slices of fluffy white bread, coated in more cheese (melted this time), often a fried egg and dripping in slightly spicy porto sauce (which can be soaked up by the chips that are often surrounding the sandwich). Yep, we told you it was overindulgent.
Must-try restaurants in Lisbon
It may look small from the inside, given that there is a small room with a sole table in front of the kitchen, but once you’ve passed by the kitchen, you are greeted by a gorgeous, atmospheric garden. The outdoor tables are dotted about the patio, around the beautiful old lemon tree centrepiece and covered in a bed of fairy lights. Even before you’ve ordered your food, the aesthetics of this place will have won you over. Let the wine pour and devour delicious food typical of Lisbon and Portugal as a whole, such as Portuguese style steak and grilled octopus. If you’re looking to be blown away, consider ordering the padron peppers, the braised tuna and “Santa Bica” prawns. Make sure you check out the conveniently located and highly popular Elevador da Bica to see a traditional Lisbon funicular in action (or even get it to the restaurant if you can’t handle the stairs!)
Open Wednesday – Sunday, 6pm – 1am. Definitely book in advance!
Estrela da Bica
Across the street from Santa Bica (if you couldn’t already tell from the name) is another phenomenal restaurant. Estrela da Bica may look like a modest and unassuming little restaurant, but it really does pack-a-punch, with its impressively creative menu. The flavours are innovative and the dishes are experimental, all the while maintaining a Portuguese flare, for example, when the chefs accompany grilled cabbage with Stilton and corn bread and of course, a generous pouring of Port. Other stand out dishes include the risotto nero, the ink of which comes from the local giant squid from Açores, the Atlantic wild tuna tataki and Pork ribs with homemade BBQ sauce. There are a few dishes for vegetarians, but the menu specifically caters to meat and seafood eaters particularly. You’ll need to act quickly and reserve your table well in advance of your visit though, as tables on the outside terrace and in the warm and cosy interior get snapped up pronto prontamente, whether it’s summer or winter!
Open every day except Sunday, 7pm-12am. Booking in advance is a must!
Time out Market
Everyone should have heard of Time Out magazine... well they’ve opened an impressive food hall in Lisbon, boasting over 50 incredible food stalls. It’s conveniently located within the stunning Mercado da Ribeira, which is where the locals buy their local produce so can eat delicious food and take in local Lisbon life at the same time! It has the perfect, eclectic mix of cuisines and bars, so you can comfortably relax here from 10am – 12am, snacking on tasty seafood from Sea Me, charcuterie from renowned Manteigaria Silva or devouring the best steak in Lisbon from Café de São Bento. If you fancy something sweet, tuck into an ice cream from Santini or a doughnut from Crush Doughnuts. If you fancy a tipple, then there are various bars serving Portuguese wine and liqueur or a refreshing cocktail. No matter where you eat and drink, you’re sure to have a real treat.
Open everyday, 10am - 12am.
Pasteis de Nata
It wouldn’t be a travel guide of the best food in Lisbon if Pasteis de Natas aren’t mentioned... These cheap and tasty breakfast treats are available from basically any café, and no matter where they’re made, the fact is that they’re delicious. However, there are certainly some places that are crafted better than others. Some of our favourite places to eat this custardy goodness are Manteigara (there are two cafes in Lisbon and one in Belem), Pastelaria Santo Antonio and Natas de Lisboa.
It should be noted that the aptly named Pasteis de Belem is a very popular café to get a Pasteis de Belem, (which are apparently different to Pasteis de Natas, although I can’t tell the difference!) While this café does in fact make delicious little custard tarts, the queue to sit-in and to take-out is extremely long and you can have a similar experience by going to the Manteigara in Belem.
While not in Lisbon itself, Ponto Final is just across the Tagus River in Almada. This great waterfront restaurant with impressive views (particularly at sunset) is well worth the 20-minute ferry ride. We suggest reserving a table and heading over about one hour before sunset. This will give you time to walk along the pier to the restaurant (don’t think it’ll be a glamourous walk though...) and be seated with a glass of wine just in time for the orange hues to take over the sky with the amazing backdrop of yachts sailing along the sea and the 25 de Abril Bridge. Order a bottle of vinho verde and enjoy the views (and the incredible food!)
Open everyday except for Tuesday. Lunch is served between 12:30–4pm and dinner is served between 7–11pm. We'd suggest booking this place!
So, there you have it, the ultimate foodie’s guide to Lisbon. No matter where you eat in Lisbon, you’re sure to find atmospheric restaurants oozing with beef and pork steak and seafood options, offering incredibly delicious dishes. If we were to talk about all the culinary masterpieces coming out of Lisbon, this guide would be very long, so use this guide but also, don’t be afraid to stray off path!
If you’re currently booking your flights to Lisbon and drooling (sorry, not sorry), then why not stay at our easyHotel Lisbon, which is located just off Lisbon’s very own Champs-Élysées, Avenida da Liberdade.