How to spend a weekend full of new culinary experiences

On the Tejo estuary the Portuguese capital converts markets and former factories into spaces for culture and gastronomy.

The river Tejo has written the history of Lisbon. Just follow the estuary that meets the Atlantic with a perfect path, to understand why the capital has achieved an incredible double at the “World Travel Awards 2019”: the title of best urban destination and best city break in the world, while the Portugal took home, for the second consecutive year, the one of the best tourist destination.


Street art and bacalhau

You tone up with a pastel de nata, puff pastry with egg custard, in the Pastéis de Belém pastry shop (a fundamental stop between places to eat in Lisbon), which since 1837 has been offering the town the dessert created by the monks of the nearby Jerónimos monastery, and go up the river on foot in search of novelties and remarkable places. Like the Maat, the museum of art, architecture and technology opened at the end of 2016 in a power plant of the early twentieth century. The project is signed by the British Amanda Levete, also author of the renewed Victoria & Albert Museum in London. Its the idea of an external covering in the traditional ceramic calçada to reflect the vibrations of the river and the sun.

The culture factory

Continuing the ascent, here is a surprising series of versatile and always open places. At the Ponte 25 de Abril, the Lx Factory is a former factory, today a cultural center with spaces for music (from the popular Portuguese to electronics), galleries, cafes. And restaurants that from the opening, in 2008, continue to increase. what abiut the fish? It ranges from the traditional battered bacalhau of the Cantina, inspired by the old port premises, to the exotic one of Malaca, which pays tribute to the ancient Portuguese empire in Southeast Asia. A few steps on the riverfront and here, behind a tram depot, the Village Underground, a phantasmagorical startup site open 24 hours a day. In practice, a container castle decorated by street artist, with two buses suspended and connected by walkways. You can drink a beer or a smoothie and listen to the music chosen by DJs from all over the world.

Bistros and markets: where to eat in Lisbon

At the height of the Cais (pier) do Sodré, the international magazine Time Out bought the neoclassical Mercado da Ribeira in 2014, to make its animated Time Out Market, divided in  two areas. In the first, fruit and vegetable stands, butchers, fishmongers and wine banks. The second hosts the best of Lusitanian and non-Portuguese cuisine, among the low-cost bistros of famous Portuguese chefs such as Alexandre Silva, stalls of street food, wine bars and breweries. The seafood cuisine takes many different forms in this place: at least try the shellfish sandwiches from Sea Me, but it’s nice to get lost even among the boxed wonders of the Conserveira de Lisboa.

Along the poet’s river

For those who want to visit Lisbon in Spring, it is worth moving away from the Tagus and aiming for Pavilhão Carlos Lopes for Peixe em Lisboa. There are ten days dedicated to fish and seafood, including tastings, show cooking with local and non-local chefs, course competitions, markets. In any other period the fish tour continues along the “ancestral and silent” river of the great Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa. Just north of the city center, excellent cod, but also oysters and fries or seafood soups, are the pride of the Bica Do Sapato lounge bar, with a large terrace overlooking the water. Around, relaxing music, photography exhibitions, vintage furnishings. Among the owners, also the actor John Malkovich.

An air of rebirth

HCB – Hub Criativo Beato is instead the most ambitious urban regeneration work ever seen in Portugal: a former military complex of 40 thousand square meters where concert halls, companies, shared work areas and apartments, cinemas are finding a home galleries and shops, an academy for sports and a street food route. The optimistic symbol of a country in clear recovery after the crisis of 2011-12, with GDP growing by two percent and unemployment falling below seven percent, according to February data from the Portuguese government.

Marvila, the fashion district

The Hub is also the gateway to Marvila, the neighborhood of the moment, full of galleries and restaurants. Here you can focus on the thousand events of the Fàbrica de Armas Braço de Prata, a former war material industry now occupied by galleries, bookstores and music schools. As an alternative you can return to the slopes of the hill on whose summit stands the castle of San Giorgio. About halfway up the hill was the historic Mercado do Chão, now transformed into a parking lot which, having each floor frescoed by a different muralist, has become an unusual museum of street art.

Terrace on the Atlantic

At the last level, Zambeze is a restaurant that elegantly revisits the Mozambican cuisine and looks up to the Atlantic from an immense terrace, under those sunsets that, together with the fiscal policy friendly to foreigners, have led in recent years to live in this Country now over 50 thousand Europeans. 

You can easily understand them.



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