As Lisbon is as seductive on the eye as it is the taste buds, it seemed only fair to separate the food and drink from the rest of the FOCUS to give it the attention it deserves. However, should you want a quick reference to the city, then check over there for the rest of the details. Otherwise, pull up a pew, because we’re about to dine.
The amount of fruits, vegetables, breads and baked goods available in Lisbon is truly abundant. Dotted all over the central areas, there’s a healthy selection of high quality grocers. The fruits and vegetables are high quality and fresh, most notably the oranges — and they are typically stocked alongside a selection of nuts, breads and meats, ensuring all the snacking can be had.
Another thing Lisboa was so impressive for was gelato. The creaming and cooling dollop of pistachio goodness, perched on a crispy wafer cone, provided a perfect 4 o’clock indulgence. Unfortunately I didn’t note the name down, though I am sure it had a very appropriate name, something like ‘The Artisan Gelateria’, and that was by the castle. So helpful. Anyway, eateries…
Kas Ta | Rua de Hera
This tapas place was situated right at the end of our street. Just away from the bustle of the main street, this tiny street kitchen threw out some surprises. Their fresh and constantly changing menu featured very traditional Portuguese foods — giant prawns, salads, fresh breads — with delicious cocktails, standards beers and lovely people. The bar had a very authentic style to it, the kitchen was completely open and it just felt very intimate.
Povo | Rua Nova do Carvalho 32-36, 1200-292
Luckily, we stumbled upon this gem after a couple of caipirinha’s, and what a myriad of treats they unveiled to us. Greeted by one of the sweetest waiting staff in the city, we were quickly shown to our table, given the menu and offered a drink — yes, another caipirinha it had to be. Browsing the fairly succinct menu was comforting and there were items that definitely stood out: deep fried green beans jumped out at me, baked eggplant and the homemade tapenade with bread. The portions were suited to two sharing, allowing you to indulge in as many different bites as you wished. The food was quite oil heavy, with a lot of it served fried, but it was worth it as a treat; and after a sugary, fresh cocktail everything was more than easy to nibble down.
La Puttana | Rua Nova do Carvalho, 70
For me, pizza is always something that’s welcomed. It’s carbohydrate heavy, you can eat it with your fingers, and you can top it with almost anything you desire. So, to find a pizzeria as edgy and tasty as La Puttana was a treat. The very cool and industrial aesthetic may put certain people off, but don’t be fooled by their open plan eating area and bright red night light, the thin base and freshly topped pizza distracts you from everything — and I mean that in a good way.
Esperanca | Rua do Norte 95, Bairro Alto
Follow pizza… with pizza? Okay, I know: in Lisbon — the place that’s famed for its tapas — and I am eating Italian. Nestled in the central streets of the Bairro Alto, this minimalist Italian restaurant provided everything we wanted that night and more; a dark cave-like atmosphere, candle lit, delicious red wine and very fine and fresh pizza, the real Italian way. Another thing that I particularly loved was drinking red wine from a tumbler. Dessert: lemoniest pie ever.
Manteigaria | Rua do Loreto, Lisboa
You simply cannot visit Lisbon without indulging in the queen of the patisserie — the tarte de nata, of course. Whether it’s a cheeky stop off for a breakfast tart or an afternoon pick me up, this place seemed to be above the rest — and yes, we tested. Deliciously fresh and ridiculously satisfying, this tart was something else — but you’re likely to hit a queue, so be prepared for that.
Pensao Amor | Rua do Alecrim, 19
With such a cornucopia of elegant alcohol filled delights (yes, cocktails) it didn’t take long to realise why this place was so notorious amongst locals and travellers. The lavish interior was fascinating, with each piece battling a little for your attention. Serving staff would drift around the bar area almost unnoticed, which, most probably, was due to the fact it was also one of the most comfortable haunts in Lisbon. Boasting such an attractive display of old fashion arm chairs, sofas and even a chaise longue somewhere, meant everybody looked comfortable — or was that just due to the forever beguiling combination of strong liquor and a suitably cushioned bottom? Whichever it was, it worked. A definite affect of Pensao Amor was that the whole environment made you feel a little like you should be wearing a fur coat and sitting stroking a white puppy. But whatever, this place is an absolute must if you’re in Lisbon.
Words: Paris Bielby | Images: Paris Bielby