On this 3-hour Lisbon Food Tour led by a local chef or food writer, we will stroll the cobblestoned streets of the Chiado and Baixa neighborhoods in order to explore the city’s culinary culture. From historic confeitarias offering the tastiest of sweets to modern restaurants with new interpretations of traditional food, our expert will weave a rich narrative of Lisbon's cuisine and how it fits into the greater culture of Portugal. We’ll meet the owners of generations-old shops, taste artisanal products, and open our senses to the culinary traditions of this magnificent tiled city.
Pastéis de Nata - Portugal’s National Treasure
We’ll start our day with pastéis de nata. One of Portugal’s best known exports, this delicate, custard-filled pastry is a staple of the mid-morning and the late-afternoon lanche, or snack. We’ll sample our pastel at one of the city’s best pastelerias, where locals are known to pop in for a quick bite and a bica (espresso). We’ll learn from our expert about the history and customs surrounding the pastry—which was first created by monks from Jerónimos Monastery in Lisbon’s Belém neighborhood—while our countertop view allows us to observe the skilled chefs as they churn out these perfectly browned delicacies. Our conversation will surely turn to the specifics of how pastéis de nata are made, and the characteristics that distinguish a good pastel from a bad one, providing a framework for inevitable tastings during the rest of our stay. As with the croissant in Paris, it’s impossible not to indulge in a daily pastel (or two) in Lisbon.
See more of Belém (and have a few more pastéis de nata) on our Belém Tour
Of Cod and Conservas
With our sweet tooth satiated (at least for the moment), we’ll turn our attention to another essential of the Portuguese diet: fish. It’s said that in Europe, only the Icelanders eat more fish than the Portuguese, and indeed, methods of preserving seafood here have been in use since the iron age. The most ubiquitous? Salt preservation, which we see most often with bacalhau, or salt cod. Stepping into a historic Lisbon market—one owned by the same family for generations—we’ll appraise the impressively large slabs of fish, and learn about the hundreds of ways in which to prepare them.
Nearby, we’ll enter a different specialty shop specializing in high quality conservas (canned goods), another prevalent method of seafood preservation in Portugal. Inexpensive and especially nutritious, this type of preservation took off in the 19th-century and remained strong through the 1980s; in its heyday, Portugal was one of the top exporters of canned fish. The Portuguese are particularly sentimental about the sardine (see: the Festival of St. Anthony), and we’ll certainly taste a few different preparations from a myriad of varieties now available, often with some pretty snazzy packaging. Our expert will shed light on the socio-economic context of conservas and the younger generation’s renewed interest in the preservation method.
Want to get out of town? Try our Sintra Tour
, a day trip to the beautiful and mysterious Sintra, just outside of Lisbon.
Wrapping Up Our Lisbon Food Tour
On subsequent stops we'll delve deeper into local specialties and Portuguese dining culture, potentially paying visits to a shop specializing in Portugal’s underrated but high-quality cheeses, a confeitaria selling sweets prepared by local nuns, or one of Lisbon's hot new restaurants where we might find a hipster take on traditional food. We may even get a chance to whet our whistles with Lisbon’s lovely local liqueur of choice, ginja, a sour cherry liqueur that is to die for.
As we progress through this Lisbon food tour our culinary expert will lead us through the best of the best—tailored to his or her particular expertise and relationships with shopkeepers. Our exact presentation and tour of shops will vary depending on the expert and group, creating a unique experience that will leave us with a well-rounded understanding of Portuguese cuisine in general and the unique food culture of Lisbon.
Please indicate any food allergies or intolerances in the Notes box when booking.
Can I participate in your small group food tours if I have food allergies? Yes. If you have any specific allergies/intolerances, please indicate these in the Travel Notes section during booking. Your expert will do his or her best to accommodate, though please note that some shops we visit do use wheat flour and nuts in the kitchen for other items. Again, please make note of any dietary issues. If you are booking privately, we can customize a route that will avoid such items, something that we cannot fully do on our small group walks.
Where do we meet? Where does it end? The walk begins in the Chiado neighborhood in central Lisbon, and stays within a concentrated area. Your confirmation email will have the exact meeting point details along with a map, and 24/7 phone number.
What if it’s raining? Tours operate rain or shine, but in the case of inclement weather, your expert will modify the tour so more time is spent indoors. It never hurts to have an umbrella on hand.
Is this seminar walking intensive, and/or wheelchair accessible? We do cover quite a bit ground on this seminar. Although we have designed it to move generally downhill, Lisbon is known for being hilly and many of the streets in the old town are cobbled. Some of the shops we visit are small and many will have a step up to access them. Please contact us with any mobility questions; we will be happy to advise if this seminar will be appropriate for you or propose modifications where necessary.
Is this tour appropriate for children? This walk is not a part of our official family program. That said, we may be able to arrange a visit with a family-friendly expert. Please contact us.