A Nova Pombalina
The brunch culture, slow to arrive to Lisbon, has taken over quickly. But the bustling Nova Pombalina, a five-minute walk from Lisbon’s main square, Terreiro do Paço, sticks instead to a traditional Portuguese breakfast. Here you can grab old-fashioned sandes de leitão, suckling pig sandwiches, at the counter and eat them with what some Lisboans consider the best fruit juices in town — and a pastel de nata, of course.
BTW: Grab your sandwich and eat it on the marble steps of the Cais das Colunas pier, which used to serve as the city’s grand entrance.
A Nova Pombalina, Rua do Comércio 2, 1100-321 Lisbon, Portugal
Not too long ago, it was hard to find places that served hearty vegetarian, vegan or raw meals in Lisbon, especially for breakfast. Yet Naked’s flexitarian approach (some fish options, no meat) succeeds in making patrons both full and healthy. The vegetable empada at Naked is lighter than the juicy pork variety you’ll find at Nova, but it’s likewise delicious.
BTW: Be sure to grab one of the house-made pastries. They don’t follow Portugal’s tradition of very sugary sweets.
Naked , R. da Escola Politécnica 85-87, 1200-279 Lisbon, Portugal
Mercado de Campo de Ourique
The market of Campo de Ourique has served as the heart of the quietest neighborhood in Lisbon since its opening in 1934. In 2013, the market was refurbished to resemble the San Miguel Market in Madrid, targeting urban and modern customers wanting more upscale cuisine, while keeping its fruit and vegetable stalls. Head to Atalho do Mercado, where the steaks are juicy and perfectly grilled. This market is less crowded than the more famous Mercado da Ribeira, in Cais do Sodré.
BTW: Opt for a glass of Portuguese wine at the Vinhos do Mercado stand.
Mercado de Campo de Ourique, Rua Coelho da Rocha 104, 1350-075 Lisbon, Portugal
Lisboans love to grab pastéis de massa tenra, minced meat patties, for lunch at Frutalmeidas, an iconic cafe and grocery store where the fruit juices compete with the ones served at Nova Pombalina. For some Lisboans, Frutalmeidas was the place where their grandparents took them for an after-school snack, and where they now take their own children. Their strawberry cake is a staple at many kids’ birthday parties. A local favorite, it isn’t a spot where you’ll find many tourists.
BTW: Order a soup of the day before your pastel de massa tenra, and you’ll fit right in.
Frutalmeidas, Av. Roma 45, 1700-342, Lisbon, Portugal
Casa da Índia
A traditional bustling-but-cozy “tasca,” this is the type of place where Lisboans feel most at home. The staff charmingly yells your order over the counter and, despite the restaurant’s size and constant flow of patrons, always manages to find everyone a seat. Don’t be shy about ordering a lot of fritters or a lot of beer: This is one of the best values around.
BTW: The cooks grill chicken and cuttlefish right at the storefront window. It’s worth a picture.
Casa da Índia, Rua do Loreto 45, 1200-086 Lisbon, Portugal
During the colonial war, Portuguese soldiers fighting in Angola found an unaccompanied 2-year-old, took care of her and brought her to Portugal, where she was raised. The story made the cover of a news magazine — a copy of which Isabel Manuel Jacinto, now a grown woman, proudly displays on a wall of her small but exceedingly popular restaurant in the Lapa neighborhood. Jacinto, nicknamed “Batata Doce,” or “Sweet Potato,” serves authentic and tasty Portuguese dishes with African influences.
BTW: If they’re serving moqueca, a fish stew with coconut milk, you will not want to miss it.
Batata Doce, Rua São João da Mata 56, 1200-734 Lisbon, Portugal
Lisboans like partying till dawn, but there aren’t many places serving food in the wee hours. That’s why Merendeira, in Cais do Sodré, is practically an institution in Lisbon. Go for the pão com chouriço, a traditional chorizo sandwich, and caldo verde, a Portuguese soup made with potatoes, collard greens, olive oil and thinly sliced sausage. That might add up to a lot of chorizo, but in Lisbon, it’s the fuel you’ll need to continue a long night of dancing.
BTW: Order the arroz doce, Portuguese rice pudding sprinkled with cinnamon. Locals always do.
A Merendeira, Av. 24 de Julho 54, 1200-868 Lisbon, Portugal
Open until 3 a.m., this Saldanha neighborhood spot is where locals go after a movie to eat a prego (a beef sandwich) or a croquette (a small, bread-crumb-coated, fried roll filled with meat). Divided up by its winding counter, it’s the closest thing you’ll find in Lisbon to an American diner.
BTW: Order french fries and esparregado (spinach mousse), a combination that seems to make the most sense at 2 a.m.
Galeto, Av. República 14, 1050-191 Lisbon, Portugal