So its been a little while since I have posted. Its just been one of those things really, the start of this year was incredibly hectic for me. I spent all of my time doing Pupillage applications, having interviews and then finally after 2 years of trying, 3 application cycles, I made it! Now I have time to re-focus on the things in life that I love doing. Often you don’t realise when life gets so busy and the practical boring stuff takes over, that you have neglected the things that used to inspire you or get the creative juices flowing. Those things start to feel like chores, as you have to fit them into your week and you are too tired to even enjoy the process. So over the past few weeks I have jumped at the chance to do some baking, I made an Elderflower and Lemon cake for the Royal Wedding, I made a Salted Caramel Chocolate Torte for a dinner party. I have even got back into reading books obsessively…But most importantly when I went to Lisbon (which is actually the focus of this post), with a group of my oldest and closest friends I couldn’t wait to get my camera out and get a bit snap happy.
I thought I would do a bit of a round -up of places that we went to and places that would be on my hit list for the next time I visit!
Park Bar – A great place for drinks later in the evening, we arrived about 10 and left around 1am – the party was still going. Good cocktails and great music. They have an indoor and outside space.
Insolito – We didn’t manage to go here as it was fully booked up, but I have heard good things and the view of the Castle is supposed to be amazing.
Noobai – A great spot close to the Mirador Santa Catarina, it juts in to the egde of the hill and the terraces are across several floors. It rained when we went but they have cover! Try the White Port Spritz!
Farmacia – Close to Noobai, a great outdoor area with fake grass, which I imagine would be very popular when the sun is shining. Also does good food…
We went to a lot of local Taberna’s which serve up lots of traditional small plates, basically tapas.
Taberna Rua de Flores – very small and traditional, not many covers, the menu is read out to you from a large blackboard, you won’t be able to remember them all, so don’t feel shy to ask again – food was great.
Taberna Portuguesa – a really lively atmosphere, very well priced and right next to Park Bar.
Time Out Market – this is definitely worth visiting, there is so much choice which can be a bit overwhelming. It is also extremely busy, if you are in a large group you might be walking round for awhile before you get a seat but it is definitely worth it (photos below)
Prado – we didn’t go to this one, but I would definitely go on my return – it was tucked away down a quiet street, expect more seasonal fine dining dishes – a nice change from traditional tapas.
Jose Avillez’s Restaurants – Pateo – this chef has restaurants all across Lisbon, we didn’t make it to any of them, but Pateo looked brilliant with a huge courtyard area full of greenery, but would be more expensive than Taberna’s!
Belem is an area just outside of the City, but only really 10 mins drive (in an Uber) or you can get the Metro. Just to warn you it will be very busy, lots and lots of tourists. We wanted to go into the Jeronimos Monastery, but the queues were huge. There are some cafes and restaurants in the area, but they tended to be chains and equally busy. There is also a famous and archaic patisserie there serving traditional pasteis de nata, although aptly named pasteis de Belem. The queue was madness, we managed to skip it and get some to takeaway. Apparently if you want to eat them inside, it is easier to get seated pretty quickly. However – if pasteis de nata is what you are after try the ones from Manteigaria in Barrio Alto and Time Out market – after several taste tests, those are the best!
We also went to the Botanical Gardens in Belem (Jardim Botanico Tropical), which was nice to walk around, lots of wild geese, ducks and peacocks. We happened upon a Museum towards the back of the gardens, which had these hammocks outside, of course we got in them and swung along to some rather weird music.
Walk from there along the waterfront to the new MAAT Art Gallery – a really innovative space hosting new contemporary exhibitions!
Other areas to go to:
LX Factory – on Saturday’s they have an amazing market, this is the perfect place to stroll through quirky bookshops, interior shops, get some local produce from the market and have an Aperol Spritz in one of the cool bars.
Castelo de Sao Jorge – although again expect queues and you have to pay to see the view….
We would have liked to go to the National Tile Museum as well – but it is closed on Mondays!
The best thing to do, is make sure you are wearing comfy shoes and explore the alleyways, you will find great architecture, cafes, bars and shops along the way! This should also keep you off the beaten track and away from all the touristy places!