Scoping out the best restaurants and local delicacies used to be one of the highest priorities on my list when travelling. But due to the exciteable toddler who now accompanies me on all my adventures, I don’t often get the luxury of eating out at nice places as much anymore. My main criteria now seems to be restaurants that cater to small children, where no one would blink an eye at a bit of noise or a toddler going for a wander around the tables or crayons being thrown all over the floor. And bonus points if the restaurant has a play area! Ah the joys of travelling with children.
It wasn’t until we returned home from Lisbon that I realised just how many amazing places we’d eaten at in the few days we were there. So many in fact that the food needed a whole post of its own! All of these places come highly recommended by a local (which was the only reason we ate so well because I did absolutely no research myself), some of which are family favourites. So they have been tried and tested by both locals and tourists (aka me) too. None of these are specifically child friendly but they all catered very well to children, so whether you’re travelling with kids or without, these are some of the best places to eat in Lisbon.
Copenhagen Coffee Lab
Starting with the best coffee and pastries in town for breakfast, this bakery has several locations around Lisbon but the one we frequented was just down the street from our accommodation. Not only are the coffee, pastries and cakes all very well presented (extremely important for that Instagram shot) but they taste just as good too. We found our way here each morning, where Evie could have a run around in the little playground outside while we got our coffee fix. The perfect start to a day of exploring.
After a trip to the aquarium, if you’re not put off and fancy eating some fish, nearby Senhor Peixe is the place to go. A casual restaurant in Parque das Nacoes with a large open space and pretty garden area for the kids to run around in. I would only recommend eating here if you enjoy fresh fish and seafood of which a huge variety is served by the kilogram. We tried the popular Portuguese dishes of sardinhas (grilled sardines) which were tasty but had a few too many bones for my liking, along with bacalhau (salted cod) which was really good served up with fried potatoes and onions all swimming in a buttery oil.
The best gelato in town! Santini has several ice cream parlours across Lisbon – we stopped at the one in the pretty beach town of Cascais. The queue was out of the door which shows how popular a place it is but we found a table inside to enjoy our gelato in the cool. The range of flavours are huge, extremely varied and exotic – some of our favourites being coconut, mango and coffee. They even have stripey Santini paper bibs so that Evie didn’t end up with her clothes covered in gelato.
In a beautiful location along the waterfront in Belém, the contemporary nature themed décor inside Darwin’s is just as stunning as the view from the outside terrace. The large round tables are perfect for big groups, plus a great wine list and a range of delicious pastas and risottos.
Pasteis de Belem
You absolutely cannot visit Portugal without eating at least one pastel de nata (small custard pastry tarts) and Pasteis de Belem serve up some of the best, if not THE best. The long queues prove its popularity but you can always sit down inside at the back of the bakery and enjoy one (or a pack of 6 – or 50!) of these delicious Portuguese sweet treats. Just look at the complete joy all over Evie’s face as she bites into one…
This restaurant is across the river so is a little out of the way unless you plan on taking a ferry ride but the food and the setting is well worth the trip. The fish was to die for and the sharing portions huge. They even put together a plate with a selection of desserts with a sparkler in for my grandad’s 82nd birthday. There are lovely views looking out over the water back towards the city and a little private beach where we played in the sand after our meal.
Time Out Market
I included this spot on my sightseeing guide to Lisbon as, whether you’re eating here or not, it’s still a great place to visit just to soak up the buzzing atmosphere. The large open market style food court serves up a huge selection of delicacies from some of Portugal’s top chefs. Take your pick from the kiosks and then take a seat at the long communal tables to enjoy.
Furnas do Guincho
A wonderful place to stop for lunch if you’re on a day trip visiting Cascais and Sintra. They serve up the freshest fish and seafood in a beautiful setting. Evie was fascinated watching the giant lobsters swimming about in the tank – but I avoided telling her where the lobsters would end up! The views looking out over the Atlantic Ocean are absolutely stunning and it gets very busy over lunchtime so try to book a table on the terrace in advance.
A traditional café in the heart of Chiado, where you can sit at a table on the outside pavement terrace and do some people watching while devouring the amazing chocolate croissants, served warm with chocolate oozing out and a Portuguese bica (espresso). As you can see I have the same delighted expression on my face as Evie when eating sweet treats. How can we help it when the food tastes this good?!
If you’re staying in the Estrela neighbourhood like we were at The Explorer’s Home, this fairly new little restaurant is right around the corner – perfect for an authentic Italian meal just a short walk from home. If you’re travelling with children you can always get the babysitters in, as dining by candlelight on the pretty decked terrace, and sharing the chef’s choice of daily appetisers, makes for a rather romantic evening.
Is food an important part of travel for you? Where else would you add to my list of places to eat in Lisbon? Let me know in the comments below or at: