Food + Drink in Lisbon

Note to self: never listen to French people when discussing the cuisines of other countries. Everyone I spoke to before going to Portugal told me the food was bland, that it was a meat-centric cuisine and that they were incapable of cooking it nicely. This made me worried for Ottilia (vegetarian). But we were surprised and delighted by the number of vegetarian restaurants we saw while strolling around. Sometimes it felt like we were in San Francisco, not Portugal! Many places seemed to be very French-influenced or otherwise global.

While exploring one day, we took note of one place, Planeta Bio, that looked nicer, and returned there on our last night in Lisbon. At 8pm, we were the only diners! (Later on, we walked by and noticed that it was packed and there was now a wait. It’s such a late-night city!) There were only 4 options on the menu, and you chose small or big and 2 or 3 dishes. That’s it.

Planeta Bio

Planeta Bio

Between the two of us we tried everything! There was moussaka, leek lasagna, leek gratin, and seitan korma. It came with a delicious, fresh salad and a choice of couscous or brown rice. Our only complaint was that it was not spicy enough. I suppose we could have asked for some sauce or something…anyways, it’s so nice to get healthy food like this while on vacation!

IMG_1160

One day we did a walking tour to learn a little bit about Lisbon, and afterwards we strolled around the winding cobblestone streets in the older part of town. I saw a sign for 1€ wine so of course I had to stop. We ended up stopping for a small glass of the green wine typical of Portugal and fell in love with the charming, cave-like bar. The woman who worked there was so nice, and there were plenty of lovely local liqueurs, sardines, honey, etc. that would make great gifts.

food and drink in lisbon

Yummy things to buy

ceiling of Enoteca Chafariz do Vinho

The ceiling

Another unique experience was checking out Enoteca Chafariz do Vinho, a nice little wine bar in a converted well-head/fountain space. It was a calm and romantic space, with sort of slow service but very nice people working. I have so much respect for waiters who have to walk up and down stairs, especially with tall bottles and delicate glasses! Anyways, I just really wanted to try some porto and they had several different types. We also got a chocolate mousse to share – it was more of a pot de crème or pudding than a mousse, but whatever the name it was chocolate-y and rich. Come here for very nice wine and a relaxing, chill ambiance – if I went back I would love to do the tasting menu!

wine bar in Lisbon

Looking down from the upper level

Switching gears to a more simple dining experience – we went to the modern area near the airport on the recommendation of someone from our hostel. This area was updated for the Expo ’98 and it looks quite different from all the cobblestone streets and tiled buildings found elsewhere in Lisbon. We rode the Telecabine and had a fun time checking out the view of the water, and when we got hungry we found an unassuming little restaurant that ended up being a great find!

Good views in Lisbon

View of the modern side of Lisbon from the skycrawler

roast chicken at waterfront Lisbon restaurant

Rice, fries, and a little salad were included with more than one meal we had – a strange but oddly satisfying trend in Lisbon

Unlike most other places we’d been to, not much English was spoken but we got by with hand gestures and saying a mix of Spanish and French words. Ottilia’s omelette was 4€ and my roast chicken was fabulous. Nearby diners were eating lots of different fish dishes that looked good for someone who loves seafood. I would 100% eat there again! I can’t find the name of the restaurant, but from some sleuthing on Google maps I believe the address is 103 on the street parallel to Rua Bojador and the waterfront, right around the corner from the north entrance of the Telecabine.

yummy portuguese restaurant

Planeta Bio
R. Francisco Sanches 39,
1170-141 Lisboa, Portugal

O Cantinho da Rute
R. Sao Miguel, 79
Lisboa, Portugal

Enoteca Chafariz do Vinho
Praça da Alegria
1250-000 Lisboa, Portugal

Other Lisbon posts:

Hostel
Cheese shop

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Chez Gladines

Last weekend my friend Kat had a visitor from the US and it was her last night, so a group of us went out to dinner. We made reservations at Chez Gladines, a Basque restaurant popular with young (read: broke) people (but probably also with other ages too). I was excited because I rarely eat out and I’d heard great things. It didn’t disappoint!

We reserved a table but because we decided to have an apéro chez Kat beforehand we were a bit late. We ended up waiting two hours and we were seated at 11pm. If we hadn’t had an apéro (cheese and wine) and if there wasn’t a bar across the street (beer, and champagne to celebrate the friend leaving) I would be super pissed. But I had an alcohol-fueled breezy attitude – eating at midnight didn’t seem to matter at all. So if you aren’t planning to drink a ton, make sure you arrive before your reservation.

snails

snails hidden in butter

The others decided we needed to get escargots – something I’ve avoided tasting the entire 2.5 years I’ve lived here. I probably would have had to eat them my first Christmas here, but I was uninvited from the Christmas dinner with my French family so I avoided that one! It could have been the booze helping me, but I was pleasantly surprised at how much I liked them. We got the traditional preparation with parsley, garlic and butter, and another kind with Roquefort and cream. Both were great and the heavy butter and cream masked the slightly squishy texture. If you pay too much attention to the interaction of snail and tooth, you are in an experience not unlike the chewing of oysters – for me, pas agréable. The French guy sitting across from me missed my first taste, so he made me eat another one while he watched (weirdo), expecting me to be grossed out. I gladly ate a few more of the Roquefort ones – any excuse to eat blue cheese I will happily employ!

impressive

impressive

Our waiter was so nice despite having to navigate through a packed restaurant with millions of glasses, bottles, and huge plates. The food is good for the price – it’s not 5-star, but there are generous portions, fun and nice service (not found everywhere in Paris), and a great ambiance. I spent 20€ for a duck dish, the snails, and a few glasses wine and a coffee. So worth it!

My recovery time after a night out drinking is longer and longer each time…troubling. I’m getting old! :/

Chez Gladines
several locations but I was at the Butte aux Cailles one:
30 rue des 5 Diamants
75013 Paris