Say what you will, but for millions of tourists each year the highlight of any holiday abroad is experiencing firsthand the cuisine of a different culture. No matter where Britons travel on holiday, they are going to encounter a flavour palette that is drastically different in many respects from the cuisine in the UK. Some Britons might even travel overseas simply to get a taste of something out of the ordinary. Among the top destinations for any UK foodie should be Lisbon, Portugal.
Lisbon is one of the top tourist destinations in Europe, and for good reason. Serving as the capital city of Portugal, Lisbon is seventh-most-visited city in Southern Europe and has the distinction of being the oldest capital city in Western Europe ahead of other modern capitals including London, Paris, and Rome.
A visit to Lisbon is about more than spending time on the Atlantic Coast or taking in the historical riches of this ancient city. Lisbon is perhaps one of the best holiday destinations to eat your way through. Portuguese culture and cuisine are famous across the European continent and offer tourists a myriad of options to suit any palette.
Foodies Rejoice What makes the cuisine and culture of Lisbon unique to Portugal is the approach to cooking and dining. Portuguese cuisine is unique from other global cuisine in that cafes and restaurants offer simple meals with fresh ingredients, all of which are cooked with passion and infused with soul. Additionally, while reservations are a necessity at many locations you won’t find a need for them until later in the evening.
Many cafes, bistros, and restaurants are open all day, but few will be packed to the rafters with guests until 21:00 or later in the evening. Dining out in Lisbon is for the masses, and simplicity is the key. With that said, the following are some of the best places to grab a bite in Lisbon:
- Bon Jardim: Starting with the simplest offering, at Bon Jardim in the middle of Lisbon you’ll find a Portuguese favourite on the menu. Crispy piri-piri covered chicken and chips is the meal of choice for many, and leave the utensils at home for this meal. Open daily from noon to 23:30, the average two-course meal runs £15.
- Solar do Nunes: Experience traditional, earthy cuisine from Portugal’s inland regions at Solar do Nunes. The menu includes a variety of meaty stews and fresh fish meals, but the popular pick is ameijoas alentejano (clams in a wine/chili/coriander/garlic sauce with pork). Open Monday through Saturday from noon to 16:00 and 19:00 to midnight, the average two-course meal starts at £30.
- Largo: For those looking to try something new, Largo offers a taste of the new wave in Portuguese cuisine. The must-have dish is the cod marinated in port and soy sauce. Open Monday through Saturday from 20:00 to well after midnight, the average two-course meal starts at £50 and reservations are essential.
- A Travessa: Lisbon’s most popular restaurant will lure you in with the smell of freshly baked bread and keep you with the delicious taste of garlicky moules frites. Open daily from 12:30 to 15:30 and 20:00 to midnight, the average two-course meal starts at £40 and reservations are a must.
Do it all in Luxury Portugal holds plenty of gems aside from its simple yet unique cuisine, and the best way to experience all of that is by visiting Portugal in 5-star luxury, or as they refer to it at Club Med, five-trident. While the dining itself might not be tailored towards fine dining, that doesn’t mean the remainder of the vacation has to be equally simple.
Lisbon and its surrounding metro regions offer some of Europe’s finest luxury accommodations, and the easiest way to take advantage of them is by booking an all-inclusive holiday package at a top resort.
About the author: Alex Norman is now considered one of the locals in Portugal. A retired farmer, he now enjoys blogging about Portugal, and all the places to see there.