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Food: Lisbon

From cheap and cheerful to refined, Portugal’s capital is a foodie mecca

Food: Lisbon
Mercado da Ribeira. Image: Alamy

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Best for market munchies
The dockside Mercado da Ribeira may now be more hipster hang-out than traditional food market but it’s still a great place to find unique Portuguese eats. Food trucks and kiosks dominate this airy 19th-century market-cum-food court, with plenty of places to get cold brew coffee, hand-churned gelato, as well as little plates of petiscos, the traditional Portuguese tapas that’s now being embraced by a younger crowd. It’s open late (until 2am Thurs-Sat), so come here for a glass of tinto from the nearby Setúbal Peninsula and a plate of pungent Azeitão sheep’s cheese.

Best for wine and ‘wow’ surroundings
Pull up a table in an 18th-century former water reservoir — one of many found along Lisbon’s historic aqueducts. This one is now an enoteca, where you can sample a huge range of Portuguese wines, and small plates of Presunto de Barrancos ham, bacalhau (classic salt codfish), mussels and more. Book a table on the third-floor mezzanine to best appreciate the vaulted grandeur of the place. chafarizdovinho.com

Best for dinner and a show
Get a slice of Lisbon’s arty, boho life at Chapitô, a circus school, cafe and restaurant, with terraces and windows overlooking the red rooftops of the Alfama district, the Tagus River and its wonderful Golden Gate-mimicking suspension bridge. Come here for late-night live music and the lowdown on the latest show from the resident circus school. And marvel at the quality of dishes like garlic and lime shrimp, and tarragon-scented sea bass.

Best for unique food souvenirs
Lisbon doesn’t lack indie boutiques and quirky places to shop. From The Lisbon Walker — which stocks handcrafted men’s shoes along with a range of fine local wines (get a free bottle with every pair you buy) — to the Conserveira de Lisboa, which specialises in beautiful, retro-style tins of premium Portuguese sardines and tuna, shopping in Lisbon is characterful and wonderfully food-focused.

The Tour
Take a petiscos tour, a three-hour ‘walk and eat’ led by local food experts, calling in at delis, cafes, bars and enotecas. It’s hosted by Inspira Santa Marta Hotel, where two nights’ B&B costs £380 for two and includes the tour.

Published in the April 2016 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)