Lisbon has depth. Although I spent nearly three weeks in the city in two neighborhoods, I only have half an impression of this beautiful and culturally rich city. I feel like I made enough effort to patronize a wide range of restaurants and eat delicious food in Lisbon. But I also felt like I was only scratching the surface of good eats and restaurants in Lisbon. You see, the food choices in the city are overwhelming, especially as you explore the touristy areas. I hope this Lisbon breakfast, lunch, and dinner itinerary helps guide you at least for a day of eating in Lisbon!
Maybe this is what Lisbon is meant to be - enclaves of considerable diversity waiting to be discovered over a lifetime. One half of the trip was spent near Cais do Sodré and another half in Avenida da Liberdade. Cais do Sodré lived up to its hype as a trendy, upbeat neighborhood. At the same time, Avenida da Liberdade boasted high-end shops in an idyllic tree-lined avenue. This post covers the food areas near and around Avenida da Liberdade in Lisbon.
Breakfast at Balcão do Marquês
We had breakfast with some sweets at Balcão do Marquês, located near the largest park in Lisbon. The employees at this corner pastelaria will greet you with a warm smile and invite you to order at the counter. We were instructed to sit at one of the available tables following our order. As soon as we sat down, they served our abatanados (Americano), pastel de natas (egg tarts), along with a shaker of the cinnamon topping.
The pastelaria had a very casual atmosphere. It was a nice change compared to our other visits to Cafe do Belem and Confeitaria do Bolhao. Those experiences left me with the impression that breakfast at pastelarias are just hectic places, especially in Lisbon. I felt like we were finally experiencing the famous Portuguese attitude of relaxation. We visited Balcão do Marquês a few more times during our stay.
Where to Go After Breakfast
Walk towards Eduard VII Park and stroll through one of its wide walkways. Visit the park and trails on the east side for some shaded and easy hiking. You will come across azulejos (blue artwork tiles) at the Carlos Lopes Pavilion. On the other side of the park is a massive greenhouse with three gardens inside called Estufa Fria. I highly recommend visiting this place for some interesting plants and local history. We easily spent a few hours in this giant greenhouse.
Lunch at Linha d'Água
After all that walking, we were ready to sit down for a while. We walked up to the other end of Eduard VII Park and discovered Linha d'Água. A visage among the fronds, the park was set up to have explorers come across a platform with a view of a fountain and the restaurant. It's a cafeteria and self-help style, where you take a tray and line up facing a glass case. This Lisbon restaurant features different types of hot and cold food that change daily, so what end up eating may be different. You tell the servers what kind of plate lunch you want, and they give you a plate with a main and two sides. We opted for two plate lunches, two desserts, and two spritzes.
Linha d'Água showcases an alfresco seating area that faces the fountain. It had been raining in Lisbon until that day, and I thought this restaurant was the perfect setting for a sunny outdoor lunch. If you arrive early enough, you can sit at one of their lounge chairs facing the water. Since we had nearly three trays worth of food, we decided on a table.
The plate lunch was solid but a basic food fare. I had ordered the chicken parmigiana with a side salad and vegetables, which were average in taste, but filling. I found the drinks to be refreshing and surprisingly strong. So if you are looking for scrumptious lunch food in Lisbon, this place won't be it. But I recommend you go for drinks instead, it's a place worth visiting for its solitude and soothing atmosphere.
Visit a Historical Aqueduct
After lunch, go west to another park flanked by the famous gigantic aqueduct of Lisbon. On the park's north side, take pictures of Arco Triunfal das Amoreiras, a commemorative arch built to celebrate the aqueducts that brought water to Lisbon in the 1700s. You can also visit Reservatório da Mãe d'Água das Amoreiras, the mother reservoir and museum. We missed the opportunity to visit the museum since we were there during their break time. Instead, we spent the rest of our late afternoon ambling through the neighborhood until dinner time.
Dinner at A Valenciana
Ten minutes north of Amoreiras Garden is where you will find A Valenciana. It's a Lisbon restaurant famous for frango no churrasco (grilled chicken) and other grilled food options.
I recommend making a reservation before coming for dinner at this popular Lisbon establishment. The lines spilled out at take-out, and eat-in entrances spoke to its popularity. The deep indoor dining room had tables set only inches apart. And yes, these tables were all full of people. Service is professional, albeit brusque, but I don't blame the servers. This famous Lisbon restaurant was bustling during dinner service. Despite having many employees, I could roughly estimate that around two hundred customers needed attention.
We successfully placed our order in one go, minus our dessert, which we ordered from a separate menu at the end of the meal. Between the two of us, we ordered a half portion of chicken and roasted cod fried rice when we were stopped by the waiter who insisted the dishes were enough for the two of us. The chicken was grilled to perfection. We even scooped up the juices collected at the bottom of the tin plate to use as topping for our rice. Do not forget to ask for the piri-piri sauce!
We ordered quindim de amêndoa (almond quindim) and a cup of arroz doce (sweet rice pudding) for dessert. But apparently, the dessert to order is pudim Abade de Priscos, an extra-rich creme caramel made with bacon and port wine. But that day, they sold out of them quickly, so we missed out.
Overall, it was a satisfying dinner, and I was able to cross off frango no churrasco (grilled chicken) on my Lisbon food list!
Although this day didn't turn out exactly as planned, we were able to spend a significant amount of time walking the streets and getting to know Lisbon. We discovered a calm neighborhood just outside the touristy area and enjoyed a quieter part of the city.
Do not miss these restaurants just because they are far from Baixa and tourist areas. They are worth going out of the way for, and you will get some respite from the busyness of Lisbon!
Where to Eat in Lisbon, Portugal Food Guide
Breakfast: Balcão do Marquês
- Abatanados (Americanos)
- Pastel de Nata (egg custard tart)
Lunch: Linha d'Água
- Daily Plate Lunch Menu
Dinner: A Valenciana
- Bacalhau à Brás (codfish with potatos)
- Frango no Churrasco (grilled chicken)
- Pudim Abade de Priscos (The Abbot of Priscos Pudding)
- Quindim de Amêndoa (almond quindim)
- Arroz Doce (sweet rice pudding)
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