Although not inexpensive at 120euros a person this full day walking tour introduces you to some of the delights of Lisbon food and local markets. The tour takes you to small back street restaurants and cafes that you would definitely miss on your own.
From fresh homemade pastries in a very local cafe with a small robust expresso, we move on to a tiny wine shop that has been selling local wine for over a Century. Wine all under 10 euros a bottle some as low as 2euros, from the Alentejo, Estremoz, Duro, Dao, Rebitejo and Lisbon areas, all wonderful.
A bit further along we settle into a small restaurant ‘Europe’ for a taste of fresh crunchy Portuguese bread still warm from the oven with accompanying olive oil and balsamic vinegar and a fruity local red wine. The smiling Chef is happy to greet us for this Portuguese bread and olive oil tasting.We would have loved to stay for more in the Cafe Europe, but were enticed to our next stop for sizzling grilled sardines in a tiny market kiosk with only 5 stools for clients. The grilled sardines were placed on hearty Portuguese bread and eaten with the bread acting as the plate, soaking up the sardine juices. At the end you eat the bread as the final treat!
Now for the next course, even though we don’t think we could possibly eat any more, we walk a few blocks to a local churrasco (grill) called Nova Xurrex on Rua Ferreira Borges 98A 1350-154 for freshly grilled spicy (or not) chicken Piri Piri . Other grills include pork, kebabs, sausages but insist on the chicken Piri Piri for the real taste of Portugal. This is a spot you would definitely walk by, (there are only two small tables outside) but the locals swear it has the best chicken Piri Piri in Lisbon. Yes, we managed to eat it all!
Another half hour walk takes to a tiny groceria where the 89 year owner has been working for 79 years. Yes, since he was ten. He serves us small tastes of local firewater, medronha and tells us stories of how the locals would come in at 8am for a drink to get them warmed up and going in the morning ( many people not having heating in their homes, especially in the earlier years).
Taking our leave we head to a club above the People’s Bread Shop. We go up a very long steep set of stairs. We sit on a rooftop terrace in front of an unusual mural of a woman’s face. Here we taste local bean stew or feijoada including pigs ears all served again with delicious Portuguese bread. At one time Bread was only made commercially for royalty and nobility, but in 1904 ‘a Panderia do Povo’ was opened for all the people who could afford some small change for bread. By this stage we could only manage a few mouthfuls of the sumptuous stew and more wine!But of course there is always room for dessert. We walked a few blocks to another cafe ending our day with the famous creamy custard tarts and a glass of Ginga, sour cherry liqueur. The custard tarts ( Tarte de Natas), made using egg yellows, were first invented by nuns in the convents for the priests. Many egg whites were used to starch the priests robes, and the left over egg yellows were used in the tarts. For over three hundred years the receipt was kept secret and only served to the Priests but with the expulsion of the Priests and Nuns from the religious orders, they commercialized the receipt so the little custard tarts became used commercially by the nuns to maintain their living.
All these wonders are only a part of what you learn on this very special day, join the tour to discover more. A very fun day.