Posts About 'Food & Drink'

10 Spots to Dine by the Water in Lisbon

Thursday, January 24th, 2013

The image most associated with Lisbon is probably water, whether it’s that of the Atlantic beaches nearby, the history of its explorers’ ships at sea, or where the famous seafood comes from. Those visiting the city often do it with the beach in mind, but during the colder months you may also have a pleasant outdoors experience on the waterfront. In the summer or in winter, here are ten places to enjoy a meal in relaxing scenery.

River Lounge

RIVER LOUNGE
Opened in late 2012, this lounge/bar/restaurant is literally on the water. It’s inside the Vasco da Gama Tower which is now the Myriad Hotel and serves contemporary Portuguese cuisine.

Darwin's Café

DARWIN’S CAFÉ
On the opposite edge of town (Belém), this café-restaurant is inside one of the city’s newest contemporary architecture landmarks, the Champalimaud Foundation building. It’s just a short walk from Belem Tower which can be seen from the terrace. It serves meals throughout the day.

À Margem

À MARGEM
Also close to the tower and right on the river’s edge, this café in a white glass rectangle serves light meals, and although it’s best experienced when the sun is out, it’s also pleasant at night.

Nosolo Italia

NOSOLO ITALIA
With a terrace floating on water, this is a favorite of families for pizza, pastas and ice cream. The Discoveries Monument stands right outside.

Capricciosa

CAPRICCIOSA
Many of the restaurants in the docks are tourist traps but this more recent addition comes with a history and reputation as one of Lisbon’s favorite pizzerias. It was originally in a big space nearby but the new location by the marina is much more attractive.

Doca de Santo

DOCA DE SANTO
It’s the most attractive of all the restaurants at the docks but as a tourist magnet you can either have a memorable experience or one to forget. Even so, it’s worth a stop, even if just for a drink and a lighter meal in a beautiful setting.

Doca Peixe

DOCA PEIXE
With one of the most beautiful locations in the city, this restaurant doesn’t have to work very hard to attract customers. That’s reflected in the service which doesn’t always meet expectations but it’s still a nice spot for fresh fish by the water.

Bica do Sapato

BICA DO SAPATO
It’s one of the best restaurants in the city, both in food and in service, matching the wonderful riverfront location and the hype as the restaurant of a Hollywood star (John Malkovich). It has a terrace outside but you’ll also have views of the Tagus from many of the tables in the stylish interior.

Alma Lusitana

ALMA LUSITANA
In a central location by the water (Cais do Sodré), it could be a restaurant just for tourists but it’s not. It’s an unpretentious place for traditional Portuguese cuisine, mostly fish, especially grilled.

Meninos do Rio

MENINOS DO RIO
A short walk along the waterfront from Cais do Sodré is this café that’s especially popular in the summertime. Serving refreshing drinks and light meals, it’s a pleasant stop after sightseeing.

Best of 2012 in Lisbon: Year in Review

Friday, December 28th, 2012

Who’d have thought that a year of bailouts, rising unemployment and budget cuts would turn out to be so good for Lisbon? Taking a look back at the 10 main news and trends of 2012, we can only hope and expect a 2013 that will be just as good or better, at least for Lisbon in general.

Myriad Hotel, Lisbon

MYRIAD HOTEL

MAJOR NEW HOTELS
There were several hotels opening in the city, and not ordinary hotels. A couple of them are even true landmarks such as the Myriad in Vasco da Gama Tower, or the Cascais pousada outside the city in an old fortress by the sea. Another is the stylishly luxurious Fontecruz in the city’s main boulevard, while the always-buzzing Chiado district had not one, not two, but three new hotels — Mercy, Teatro and Lisboa Carmo — all featuring elegant interiors.

A NEW MAIN SQUARE
Rossio Square used to be the heart of the city, but that’s now moved closed to the river, to Comercio Square. The city’s grandest praça saw several new cafés and restaurants open under the arcades of its east wing, and this new leisure area with views of the river also has a club open on weekends (“Lust”) and a new cultural space, the Lisboa Story Centre.

NEW CULTURAL ATTRACTIONS
In addition to the Lisboa Story Centre which tells the history of the city through multimedia displays and recreates Lisbon’s different historical periods and atmospheres, there was the new Casa dos Bicos, the landmark house from the 1500s that is now home to the José Saramago Foundation remembering the Portuguese author who won the Nobel Prize.
Not very far is Martim Moniz, Lisbon’s most multiethnic neighborhood which was revitalized with a new weekend market and new kiosk cafés open every day, offering foods from all over the world.

NEW RESTAURANT TRENDS
Speaking of food, Lisbon’s restaurant scene is changing. In order to survive the economic crisis it had to be more creative so it went back to what never fails — the old traditions everyone loves. That meant “petiscos”, or what is often called “tapas” for international visitors, with restaurants now specializing exclusively in those small plates of food grandma used to make. Of course many of those are recreated and readapted to modern times, like the other new trend in the city — the new “tabernas.” What used to be simple family-owned places are now stylishly-decorated spaces but with the expected laid-back atmosphere.

BACK TO TRADITION
Restaurants weren’t the only ones looking at tradition as a means to escape the crisis. The best new shops also offered the best of “Made in Portugal,” including the first of the future chain of “Nata Lisboa”. Believing that “the world needs Nata,” this new café (there are currently two of them) specializes almost exclusively in Portugal’s famous custard tarts that almost no one can resist. Then there was the new P Chiado café offering the pastry specialties of Sintra in the center of Lisbon, the new Mercado 1143 which is a grocery store/market presenting only Portuguese products, and Loja da Burel with creative and top-quality handmade products from central Portugal. Finally, Portugal’s canned foods have become gourmet delicacies at yet another spot, the Can the Can restaurant in Comercio Square.

Lisbon airport metro

LISBON AIRPORT METRO STATION

AIRPORT METRO
The best Lisbon news for travelers was the extension of the metro which finally reached the airport. And the station is quite an attraction in itself, decorated with curious cartoon images of some of Portugal’s biggest personalities and cultural icons, making it an interesting new welcome to the city.

LUXURY AVENIDA DA LIBERDADE SHOPPING
Perhaps the biggest surprise of the year was the continuous opening of international luxury shops down Avenida da Liberdade. The luxury market is the only one booming during the current crisis, so there’s a new Gucci, a new Miu Miu, Officine Panerai, Emporio Armani, Hugo Boss… and a new Cartier and others will be joining them in 2013.

Tous, Lisbon

TOUS

RENOVATED CLASSICS
Another brand to open in central Lisbon was Tous jewelers which took over the city’s most beautiful shop, the former Ourivesaria Aliança in Chiado. Other classic spaces that had a makeover but kept much of the old look were Mimosa da Lapa, the 50s-style Sapataria do Carmo shoe store, Silva & Feijó, and the Old Pharmacy which is now a wine bar.

THE BAKERY INVASION
Petiscos and tabernas were not the only trends in Lisbon in 2012. Perhaps the biggest of all was the several high-profile bakeries opening in the center of the city. First was A Padaria Portuguesa downtown and in Chiado, then came Ratton next to Rossio Station, La Boulangerie with its French-style bread, and Tartine which makes a pastry that’s already a classic, the eggy “Chiado” cake.

SPECIAL ANNIVERSARIES
Speaking of pastries, 2012 was the 175th anniversary of Pastéis de Belém, and the 90th of the city’s most beautiful café, Pastelaria Versailles. Also celebrating was one of Lisbon’s most photographed icons, the Bica funicular which turned 120!

The return of the Lisbon “Taberna”

Friday, December 14th, 2012

It had become extinct over the last couple of decades, but the Lisbon taberna is back, at least in name. Several new restaurants call themselves “taberna,” recalling the day when traditional home-style meals were served in family-owned eateries that were more than simple taverns. They were excellent value for money with no pretense, perfect for the entire family or simply for a glass of wine. After the trend of fusion cuisine and Wallpaper magazine-style interiors, Lisbon is now bringing back the taberna tradition. Here are a few places that try to do it:

1300 Taberna, Lisboa
1300 Taberna

1300 TABERNA
Rua Rodrigues de Faria, 103
Closed Sundays and Mondays

In a series of former warehouses you’ll find traditional Portuguese cuisine with a good dose of creativity, served in a spacious interior decorated with a mix of objects and styles.

TABERNA MODERNA
Rua dos Bacalhoeiros, 18
Closed Sundays and Mondays

This “modern taberna” wants you to share your meals so it serves the food in big dishes for everyone at the table to grab as they enjoy a glass of wine. Although the menu is in large part Portuguese, you’ll also find an equal number of Spanish choices.

TABERNA TOSCA
Praça de São Paulo, 21
Closed on Sundays

One of the first of the modern tabernas, it has a very contemporary interior but serves the traditional petiscos that Portuguese grandmothers used to make, accompanied by glasses of wine.

TABERNA DO CHIADO
Calçada Nova de São Francisco, 2A
It’s only a “taberna” by name. It’s a very contemporary space in the trendy heart of Chiado, although it incorporates some traditions such as wine barrels and long wooden tables where a mix of Portuguese and Spanish cuisine is served.

TABERNA IDEAL
Rua da Esperança, 112
Closed Mondays and Tuesdays

It’s one of the best places for “petiscos” and it was one of the first to bring them back as full meals. The interior looks older than it actually is, decorated with old furnishings.

TABERNA VINTAGE
Rua Monte Olivete, 63
Closed Mondays

This small space in the Principe Real neighborhood presents a list of traditional petiscos that are mostly an excuse to enjoy glasses of wine from a variety of labels and at various prices.

TABERNA DA RUA DAS FLORES
Rua das Flores, 103
Closed Sundays

A chalkboard lists the dishes of the day, always based on the freshest ingredients available at the market. It’s open throughout the day from lunch to dinner, making it also a stop for a light meal in the afternoon.

TABERNA PORTUGUESA
Calçada do Combro, 115
Closed Sundays and Mondays

Not far from the landmark Bica funicular is this small restaurant with reasonably-priced food. It follows old traditions, as does some of the decorative pieces.

What’s New in Lisbon’s Restaurant Scene

Monday, November 12th, 2012

The end of the summer brought a few changes to some of Lisbon’s best-known restaurants, from new concepts and chefs to new addresses:

Meson Andaluz, Lisbon

MESON ANDALUZ
Travessa do Alecrim, 4 – Chiado
Tel: 214 600 659
For many years this was arguably Cascais’ favorite Spanish restaurant. It’s now moved to the center of the capital, down the hill from Chiado. The interior dates back to the 1700s with brick stone arches but you’ll likely prefer to sit outside on the terrace. Although the wine list includes Spanish and Portuguese wines, the food is all traditionally Spanish or what it advertises as “the best tapas in Lisbon.”

CHAPITÔ À MESA
Costa do Castelo, 7
Tel: 218 867 334
It’s one of the city’s most popular restaurants, always full of locals and tourists who are drawn to the spectacular views of Lisbon. It helps that it’s also just a short walk from the castle but the quality of the food has also kept it as a top choice in the city. Now it has a new chef (one of the most acclaimed after years at a few fine dining restaurants) and promises a more refined cuisine. That doesn’t necessarily mean more expensive, as this restaurant always had higher-than-average prices but more creative selections on the menu.

Estorias na Casa da Comida, Lisbon

ESTÓRIAS NA CASA DA COMIDA
Travessa das Amoreiras, 1
Tel: 213 860 889
It was the first restaurant in Portugal to get a Michelin star and after 35 years in service, it recently closed for a major renovation. Its three different dining areas (including a courtyard) now feature an elegant combination of classic furnishings and more contemporary design, and offer different dining experiences. You may now go just for a glass of wine and a lighter meal, or for the full menu of contemporary Portuguese cuisine.

UMAI
Rua da Misericórdia, 78 – Chiado
Rua da Cruz dos Poiais, 89 – Bairro Alto
Tel: 213 958 057
A small space hidden in a corner of Bairro Alto close to São Bento Palace quickly became known as Lisbon’s best Asian restaurant. The owner is actually Portuguese but an experienced specialist in the foods of the East, mixing the delicacies of Thailand, Vietnam, China, Japan, India… That small space still exists but now focus on just Japanese food (yes, sushi but also more than that), and a bigger space has opened in Chiado. That’s where all the Asian specialties will now be served, offering fine quality at reasonable prices.

Olivier Avenida, Lisbon

OLIVIER AVENIDA
Rua Júlio César Machado, 7
Tel: 213 174 105
Unashamedly pretentious, this restaurant was made to impress, both in ambiance and cuisine. Large teardrop chandeliers hang above a blingy décor that’s just had a small makeover. It’s now a combination of what it calls a mix of “French Romanticism and the New Gothic” but whatever that means it’s simply an excuse to attract those looking for a see-and-be-seen place where well-presented food is served. Late at night from Thursday to Saturday it becomes the “Avenida Cocktail Lounge” for after-dinner drinking and mingling.

10 Lisbon Restaurants for Portuguese “Petiscos”

Monday, October 22nd, 2012

Petiscos, Lisbon

What are “petiscos”? You could call them “tapas” but that would be Spanish. Petiscos are also small plates, originally served between meals, often to accompany a drink, but more recently they’ve become a trend in Lisbon’s restaurants which are turning them into full meals. Taking a note from the international success of Spanish tapas, there are now several restaurants specializing in petiscos, usually with a “everyone shares them at the table” concept. Here we present the ten places you should try:

ADEGA VICTOR HORTA
Rua Cais de Santarem, 6
Not far from the famous Casa dos Bicos is this “adega” (wine cellar) which produces its own wine and prepares petiscos in its wood oven. The kitchen opens to the rustic-style dining area, so you’ll leave smelling of smoke but it’s still one of the most recommendable dining experiences for those looking for a special night of local traditions.

TABERNA MODERNA
In addition to Portuguese petiscos you’ll also have Spanish tapas in a spacious room that also has a bar serving dozens of different gins. It’s quite a popular spot at the moment.

PHARMACIA
Rua Marechal Saldanha, 1
Facing one of the city’s viewpoints by the Pharmacy Museum, this restaurant’s décor is inspired by the pharmacies of the past. The menu lists a number of petiscos which young crowds seem to enjoy accompanied by Portuguese wines.

TABERNA TOSCA
In a neighborhood of small traditional family-run restaurants this one stands out for providing a contemporary touch to the traditional petiscos. You’ll want to avoid it if you’re vegetarian, but meat lovers will enjoy the place and the wines accompanied by cheese.

TABERNA DA RUA DAS FLORES
Rua das Flores, 103
Open throughout the day for a mid-day snack or a full meal, this space recalls the old local grocery stores and taverns. It’s a charming place for petiscos following some long-forgotten recipes.

DE CASTRO ELIAS
When one of Porto’s most successful chefs moved to Lisbon, he opened this place as his first restaurant. Located not far from the Gulbenkian Museum, it’s a good choice for a lunch of petiscos. Look for the clams with butter beans (“ameijoas com feijão manteiga”) which is a classic of the chef.

TASCA DA ESQUINA
The chef is one of the city’s most acclaimed but instead of fine dining the restaurant offers refined versions of traditional petiscos. Here the concept isn’t so much sharing but ordering them individually at surprisingly reasonable prices considering the quality.

TABERNA IDEAL
Rua da Esperança 112-114
This restaurant is packed every night by crowds sharing traditional dishes. It was the first one to revive the petiscos concept a few years ago and is still quite popular. It doesn’t take bookings so show up early.

PETISCARIA IDEAL
Rua da Esperança, 100
Almost immediately next door to Taberna Ideal, this one has the same owners and also serves a menu of petiscos which you are encouraged to share. The décor curiously mixes pages of old books, pots and pans. It also does not take bookings.

ARTIS
Rua do Diário de Notícias, 95
It’s not exactly a restaurant, it’s a wine bar, but it serves excellent restaurant-style petiscos. Although many go for the flaming chouriço (sausage), there are a few other choices to accompany the wines.

The Bifana: Portugal’s Tasty Meat Snack

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012

Bifanas de Vendas Novas

 

What comes to mind when you are asked about typical Portuguese dishes? Bacalhau (cod), and the many different ways it can be prepared? Chicken with “piri piri” spicy sauce? Soups, grilled fish or cozido à portuguesa (a stew of different meats and vegetables)? Or a desert such as the tasty custard tarts called “pastéis de Belém”?

Well, today we present to you a simple sandwich that any local you care to ask would say is typically Portuguese – the “bifana”. The bifana is so popular in Portugal that McDonalds here have even launched the McBifana in recent times. So what is it? Basically a slice of pork steak in a roll of bread, the pork having been lightly sautéed, sometimes with garlic and/or other spices, so that the meat is warm and juicy. The bread roll is usually distinctly crusty, puffy and floury, and the whole thing is often eaten as a snack for lunch, sometimes with a bowl of soup.

The Alentejo region of Portugal is well-known for the quality and variety of its gastronomy, and it is said that the bifana originated here in the town of Vendas Novas. Most locals will tell you that the best bifanas are from this area, and supposedly they are a cut above those made elsewhere.

The Bifana de Vendas Novas then, is made from select pork fillet and is marinated and then cooked in a secret sauce. The bread roll is lightly toasted which, together with the special sauce and juicy meat, makes this a truly delicious and appetizing snack.

If you want to try the famous bifana from Alentejo, it’s no longer necessary to visit Vendas Novas, you can sample this tasty sandwich right here in Lisbon. Almost any café or bar will have bifanas on the menu, but if you want to try the one from Vendas Novas, go to the Bifanas de Vendas Novas kiosk in the Colombo mall in Benfica, one of Portugal’s largest shopping centres. Here you can try the original (and supposedly the best) bifana, together with other traditional dishes and soups.

Bifanas de Vendas Novas: http://www.bifanasdevendasnovas.com

5 New Spots to Taste Lisbon

Tuesday, August 28th, 2012

P Chiado, Lisbon

P CHIADO
Rua da Horta Seca, 9
Pastries called “travesseiros” are to the town of Sintra what the famous custard tarts are to Lisbon. But now you no longer have to go outside the capital to enjoy them. In fact, they’re now in the very center of the city, just around the corner from Camões Square. This new café/pastry shop serves them together with another Sintra specialty, the cheese tarts, and a different kind of custard pastries — with chocolate added!

Taberna da Rua das Flores, Lisbon

TABERNA DA RUA DAS FLORES
Rua das Flores, 103
There was a time when Lisbon was full of these types of “tabernas”, something like a mix of tavern and deli serving homestyle food. They’ve become nearly extinct but there’s recently been a revival. Instead of just catering to neighborhood patrons, they’re attracting locals and tourists, becoming destinations for doses of traditional meals with a certain modern twist. This one is next to Camões Square and uses old recipes in a menu of “petiscos” (tapas) available throughout the day.

The Old Pharmacy, Lisbon

THE OLD PHARMACY
Rua do Diário de Notícias, 73-83
The name remembers the old function of this space in Bairro Alto, a pharmacy that was in business for decades. Instead of medications, its cabinets are now filled with wine bottles, almost all from Portugal. Accompanying the glasses of wine are local cheeses and hams.

Wine Lover, Lisbon

WINE LOVER
Rua das Gáveas, 38
Another recent wine bar in Bairro Alto, this one has a nice interior but best of all is the possibility of sitting outside people-watching. It lists a good variety of Portuguese wines, always to the sound of music.

Maria do Carmo, Lisbon

MARIA DO CARMO RESTAURANT
Rua da Oliveira ao Carmo, 1
Carmo Square is one of Lisbon’s most charming, faced by the haunting ruins of the gothic Carmo Convent. Although it’s had terrace cafés for many years, they were essentially for tourists and of the quality expected for such places. Now a new spot has opened with tables on the square, of a quality that sets it apart from the others. The menu is limited and may be disappointing at first sight, but order a plate of Portuguese cheeses and sausages and enjoy the surrounding atmosphere.

The Essential Guide to Portugal’s “Enchidos”

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

Vegetarians should read no further. This post is about meat, or more precisely what the Portuguese call “enchidos” (pronounced “en-shee-doos”) — sausages and hams. They’re a new trend in Lisbon’s recent new wave of wine bars, accompanying the glasses of wine. They’re usually presented next to cheese, and are mostly products from the north of the country.

Chouriço

CHOURIÇO
The king of all “enchidos” is smoked and made with pork. Herbs, garlic and wine is also mixed in, and it’s often served in soup or sliced before a meal. In Lisbon you can see it literally flaming hot at a few bars in Bairro Alto like “Artis” (Rua do Diário de Notícias, 95) and “Tasca do Chico” (Rua do Diário de Notícias, 39)

LINGUIÇA
This is essentially a regular “chouriço” except thinner and used in stews.

MORCELA
It’s one of Portugal’s strangest foods, but quite popular. Simply put, it’s blood sausage. The blood comes from the pig, but there is no meat and is stuffed with rice.

ALHEIRA
This sausage dates all the way back to the 1500s, when Portuguese Jews were forced to convert to Christianity. Instead of pork it’s made of poultry and has a garlicky taste and a light color.

Farinheira

FARINHEIRA
You’ll rarely see it served at a wine bar, but it’s often on a plate in the interior regions of the country. Made from pork fat, flour, spices, garlic and wine, it has an orange-brown color.

FIAMBRE
Lisbon’s brunches almost always include “fiambre” which is simply boiled or roast ham.

Presunto

PRESUNTO
This dry smoked ham is served thinly sliced and is mostly made of pork, although it’s occasionally wild boar. It’s produced all over the country and often accompanies a slice of melon.

SALPICÃO
This is yet another “chouriço” with a different name because it’s smaller, although thick. It’s made from pork tenderloin and is marinated in white wine, paprika and garlic. In some places around Portugal it’s also known as “paio.”

10 Lisbon Restaurants for Food from Portugal’s Former Colonies

Monday, August 6th, 2012

When visiting Lisbon you’re reminded that Portugal created the first global empire so why not go on your own voyage around the world through food? Whether you’re heading west to Brazil or east to India and Macau passing through the coast of Africa, here are the places to discover:

BABETE GASTROBAR
The latest Brazilian restaurant in town recreates the colorful and informal ambiance of the typical Brazilian “butecos,” neighborhood restaurants serving good doses of traditional food. It opens for dinner earlier than most other restaurants in the city, inviting you for “happy hour” drinks and stays open until late for late-night eating and drinking.

CANTINHO DA PAZ
Rua da Paz, 4
A native from Goa arrived in Lisbon in 1964, three years after that former colony was annexed by India. His first job was washing dishes at a Goan restaurant but he soon became the owner. He’s now been serving the food from his homeland for decades, and you can be sure to have the best shrimp curry in town at this place not far from São Bento Palace.

CASA DA MORNA
Rua Rodrigues Faria, 21
Here you can taste and hear a little of Cape Verde. Owned by musician Tito Paris who often performs live, you can discover what are “muquecas” and “cachupas” together with other traditional dishes from the western African archipelago.

COMIDA DE SANTO
It was one of Portugal’s first Brazilian restaurants and has survived the decades. If you’re looking for a typical “feijoada” washed down by a “cairinha”, this is the place to go, and you’ll also have the chance to discover the food of northeastern Brazil which mixes influences from Portugal and Africa.

Ibo Restaurant, Lisbon

IBO

IBO
The food is inspired by Mozambique and the riverfront location inspires you to make new discoveries. Find out what the food from the southeastern African country is all about, in an attractive contemporary dining room or at the tables outside.

TENTAÇÕES DE GOA
Rua São Pedro Mártir, 23
Located right in the middle of Lisbon’s most ethnic neighborhood, this restaurant presents authentic Indian cuisine from the former Portuguese colony of Goa. The dining room is decorated in hot colors and the potions of the dishes are quite generous.

UAI!
It’s officially a Brazilian restaurant but don’t expect the expected food from the typical Brazilian restaurant. This one concentrates on just one region, Minas Gerais, the home state of the current Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff and one of the most “Portuguese” regions of Brazil. Everything is served in a buffett so you can try a variety of dishes.

YUM CHA GARDEN
It seems hard to believe that Macau was Portuguese as recently as 1999 before in was transformed into the “Asian Las Vegas” that it is today. But Portuguese influences (particularly in the architecture) still survive in that Chinese territory and at this restaurant you can sample a little of Macau in Lisbon. It also mixes food from Hong Kong accompanied by cups of tea.

ZAAFRAN
Indian cuisine mixes with the flavors of Mozambique at this restaurant owned by an Indian family who lived in that former Portuguese colony in Africa before moving to Lisbon. The interior is not decorated in the typically “ethnic” style, but rather in a contemporary elegance seen through the large windows facing a statue of Neptune in the center of the square.

Zambeze Restaurant, Lisbon

ZAMBEZE

ZAMBEZE
This is one of the most recent spots in the city, a rooftop terrace café and restaurant with one of the most spectacular city views. The name is that of Africa’s fourth-largest river that passes through Angola and Mozambique, two former Portuguese colonies. That’s an indication of what’s on the menu, although it also serves traditional Portuguese dishes.

10 Refreshing Things to Do in Lisbon This Summer

Wednesday, July 4th, 2012

If you’ll be in Lisbon this summer (that means until October) and are looking to cool off and relax, here is what you should do:

DIVE INTO A ROOFTOP POOL
Find yourself walking in the heat in the middle of the city and wish to dive into the ocean or pool? Head to the NH Liberdade Hotel right on Avenida da Liberdade and you’ll have a rooftop pool available to cool off. It charges 20 euros and in addition to the pleasure of the refreshing waters you have a wonderful city view. You may also order a salad or sandwich for a light poolside meal.

Nata Lisboa

HAVE A CUSTARD TART AT A NEW BACKYARD CAFÉ
Although the originals still made using a secret recipe are found in Belém, Lisbon’s famous custard tarts can be sampled at any café or pastry shop in the city. And there’s a brand new one specializing in just that — the custard tarts. It’s found on a wonderful backyard of a gallery and bookshop in the Principe Real district, it’s called “Nata Lisboa” and in addition to the tarts it serves refreshing drinks as you sit in the sun or shade on the grass.

HAVE A PICNIC AT A RESTAURANT
You can have a picnic at any of the city’s parks and gardens, but you’ll have to pack the food yourself. So if you want to lay on the grass for a full worry-free meal, head to Cantina da Estrela, a restaurant not far from Estrela Basilica (on Rua Saraiva de Carvalho, 35). Every day (except Sundays and Mondays) it’s offering picnic lunches for 17.50 per person, which includes a basket filled with foods that are easy to eat with your hands but not exactly the typical finger food. Only the drinks are not included in the price.

HAVE A “LUXINI”
Although Lux is Lisbon’s coolest club at any time of the year, it’s even better in the summer because of its terrace. This year it’s offering something new and special, the “Luxini” cocktail. It uses ice cream of the beloved local Santini brand and makes interesting blends of flavors with Grey Goose vodka. Choose your favorites at 10 euros each and enjoy them on the moonlit terrace as others crowd the dancefloor below.

Sea Turtles, Lisbon

JOIN THE SEA TURTLES
The big sea creatures have been living in Lisbon’s Oceanarium since 1998, but only recently have the fascinating sea turtles arrived, in a new annexed building. Not only is this a memorable learning experience it’s also cooling and relaxing as you escape into the underwater world.

STAND ON TOP OF THE CITY
Silk is Lisbon’s most exclusive club and you’ll understand why if you can actually make it inside. It has one of the most fantastic city views, and this summer it’s opening at 6PM and offering light meals in addition to the usual drinks. But if you can’t it make there, you’ll make it elsewhere, at the more recent Rooftop Bar of the Mundial Hotel. Relax as you watch the afternoon glow turn into night over Lisbon.

GET SOME “LIQUID”
Lisbon’s favorite lemonade is found at the tiny hole-in-the-wall “Liquid” but you’ll want to go for something extra special this summer. Grab a refreshing all-natural drink of exotic fruits and other healthy ingredients and take it with you as you walk up through the trendy shops of Chiado.

STEP INTO THE GREENHOUSE
One of Lisbon’s most underrated, often-forgotten attractions is Edward VII Park right in the center of the city. You’ll be surprised by how peaceful and uncrowded it is, even in the summer, and will be captivated by the wonderful greenhouse which will invite you to stay longer than you anticipated, cooling off in this little-known oasis.

VISIT BUTTERFLIES IN THE BOTANICAL GARDEN
If the greenhouse is a little-known oasis, the botanical garden is a secret forest. You’ll never guess from the entrance gate how big it is, and this summer it’s presenting new pavements and cleaned-up tracks, although it retains its charmingly wild somewhat-neglected feel. Best of all is its small butterfly greenhouse, the only one in Europe open to the public where you can step into a habitat of the colorful insects growing and spreading their wings around.

TRAVEL THE WORLD THROUGH ICE CREAM
The Fragoleto ice cream shop downtown (on number 61 of Rua da Prata) is offering special flavors this summer, using traditions and ingredients from around the world. There’s a dozen of them, ranging from Morroccan tea to American lemon cheesecake to Italian cappuccino. But since you’re in Portugal, why not go for the Portuguese rice pudding (“Arroz Doce”) flavor? But hurry because they’re only available in July.