While I cannot travel I have been thinking more about travel and the destinations that I love. One place that me and Mr Life London Food love is Lisbon. We have been twice now and would easily go back again. Lisbon is just relaxed, its easy and the food, oh the food. The food is amazing.
Both our visits have ended up revolving around meals and food, attempting to try as much as we can. Obviously being gluten free does put a slight cog in the works as trips always take a little bit of planning to make sure there are places for us to eat, but that is part of the fun.
Lisbon makes it super easy for the gluten free life though. There are lots of gluten free friendly places. Tapas style dining is also another option as you just pick the items without gluten. We both love seafood and Lisbon is perfect for this. Food and drink is also really well priced so you can eat really well for a lot less than in London. What is not to love.
One of the places that is highly popular with tourists is the Time Out Market. Now I know this is a tourist hot spot but its a great source of food and wine. Most people in Lisbon will tell you its too expensive and full of tourists. Yes compared to other places in Lisbon it is expensive but by London prices its pretty cheap. Our most notable visit was our first day ever in Lisbon, and our first meal. It was 2 pm and not a seat was free. Out of the corner of my eye I spotted a small set up just off to the side of the main area and two people were just leaving. This was the delicious Surf n Turf by Kiko Martins. We sat around a bar that looked onto the small but super efficient kitchen. All the food was being freshly made, one chef was cleaning and prepping a full octopus in front of us. From the small menu we picked 3 plates to try. The food was fresh, smart and oh so very delicious.
My favourite place in Lisbon is Pharmacia. We came across it purely by accident the first time. On our first trip to Lisbon we went a wandering and headed up a hill and wondered what was going on in the place with lots of people drinking on a patio. It was Pharmacia! A great restaurant located inside a Pharmacy Museum. We were lucky to get a table as it was packed. The second time we went I made sure to book a table in advance. The food is delicious. Its all about sharing plates. Its fresh, traditional food with a modern twist. This is an always must visit place for great food in a relaxed atmosphere, and amazing cocktails.
No trip to Lisbon is complete without a food tour. We always make sure we do a food tour when visiting a new city so we can get to see as much as possible and try food and places we wouldn’t normally maybe see. We went on the Secret Lisbon Food Tour which was such fun. Exploring the Mouraria neighborhood of Lisbon with our excellent guide we explored the lesser seen parts of the city. Eating at local places and traditional food, this was a great way to see bits of Lisbon you wouldn’t normally happen upon. Starting with port tasting we swiftly moved onto beer ( well coffee for us gluten free folk), onto a traditional cod lunch with chickpeas, then onto charcuterie and cheese with some fine wine in a secret spot. We finished up with Pastel de Nata. We had to miss out on this as its gluten filled delight, but that was ok. This was a fab walking tour that was a highlight and great way to spend time in Lisbon.
We did not miss out completely on Pastel de Nata, as Lisbon has a fabulous gluten free bakery that has gluten free custard tarts. Oh yes! We headed down there after the tour and got a couple… and a couple for later. This place is Zarzuela. It has gluten free bread, cakes and pastries. We always make sure we stock up on pastel de nata before we leave so we can take a little bit of Lisbon home with us – assuming they last the flight.
There are so many great places to eat to try the local produce. We happened upon a place called Grapes and Bites which is a wine bar and restaurant. The walls are lined with wine and the waiters have a great knowledge so do not be afraid to ask them for help or advice. We wanted to know more about Portuguese wine and these guys suggested some great choices with us, along side local charcuterie and cheeses. Delicious!
A great relaxed lunch or dinner spot and one that is gluten free is Bonjardim. They do a simple menu, but the main focus is piri- piri chicken and chips. We sat outside on a hot sunny day enjoying the cool shade of the umbrellas. However, we were attacked… attacked by a pigeon. The cheeky sky rat saw them put the chips on our table, he landed on them and stole a load!! Shocking!! The waiter was there straight away – obviously not his first pigeon thief. They very quickly replaced the chips for us. I have never been so startled at a restaurant table before – the cheek of that pigeon. The food was very nice, super simple but tasty.
I could keep listing amazing places that I ate at in Lisbon but that is just boring for all. What I wanted to do here was highlight the variety of amazing food that is on offer in Lisbon and how gluten free friendly it is. There are some great blog posts out there for gluten free food whilst abroad. A couple are My Gluten Free Guide and Gluten, Interrupted. I use both these websites myself when travelling to see if they have anywhere listed that I have not been before.
Lisbon is an amazing city full of great museums, fabulous architecture and those tiles! The food is the thing that sticks with me most though. Lockdown is hard but it is giving me time to reminisce and think about future travels.