Just a short flight from London results in a glorious foodie weekend in Lisbon. We give you the lowdown on how to get the most out of a short break.
We stayed at the 5* Memmo Principe Real with Smith Hotels and can confirm it was absolutely dreamy. You can read our full review over on their site but we wouldn’t have changed a thing and would def recommend staying in the Principe Real area. It’s ideally located to explore the small city and home to boutique shops, must visit restaurants, parks and bars – so no need to venture far to be right in the thick of it.
Keen to delve right into the action we dumped our bags and headed straight to Timeout Market. Yep, that’s right, Lisbon’s version of the magazine have curated this mega food hall filled to the brim with their very favourite restaurants and food traders. We wanted to keep things traditional so tucked into a warming bowl of salt cod, rice and mussels and a glass of sweet Portuguese wine. Be warned – it can take a while to nab a seat, especially if you’re in a big group.
In fact it will come as no surprise that food played a huge role in our weekend away! Our must visit restaurant recommendation has to go to A. Cevicheria. Whilst you’re waiting for a table to become available, sip on their legendary pisco sours and get chatting to the locals. The interior is pretty spesh with a giant octopus taking pride of place hanging from the middle of the ceiling. Food focuses on Peruvian favourite ceviche, but with a Portuguese twist.
There’s plenty of tapas bars lining the streets (many of which only become apparent in the evening, but we reckon one of the best snacks we ate was the humble Prego sandwich. Essentially it’s beautifully rare steak, so tender it melts, stuffed into a bun with a slick of mustard. Restaurante Gambrinus is the place to eat it. Pretty old-school, you’ll want to sit at the wooden bar and wash it down with a ‘tulipa Gambrinus’ – a mix of light and dark beers. They’ll know by looking at you what you’ll be ordering, it’s on the tourist trail for good reason!
Of course you can’t come to Lisbon without trying the infamous custard tarts. Head to Manteigaria and wait for the bell to ring – this will alert you to the fact a fresh batch is about to come out of the oven. If there’s one thing more delicious than a custard tart, it’s a warm custard tart – YUM!
If culture is more your thing, take a day out to visit the MAAT Museums before heading over to the LX Factory. The disused factory area has been transformed into a gorgeous collection of design shops and restaurants. Have lunch at Cantina, peruse the incredible bookshop (seriously, don’t miss it!) and get a slice of cheesecake (and another glass of wine) for dessert. By this point you can’t fail to have noticed the trams – take one up to the beautiful castle and take in the view of the whole city spread out below you.
Reward yourself with the so-decadent-we’re-not-sure-it’s-legal dark chocolate ice cream at Mu Gelato and pick up a few cans of tinned sardines to take home and you’re done – the perfect weekend in Lisbon!