EATING THROUGH LISBON

Flight and travel delays do come with perks.

I didn't think this was true...ever! Having lost a whole day in our very short trip to Portugal, actually allowed us to truly soak in what we could in a shorter amount of time. Technically, we only had 2 days of exploring since one day was a write off for a wedding. 

Originally, we would have arrived by 9am and had a scheduled tour at noon. Since we didn't actually get into the city until 7pm, we gladly gave my parents the tour. They were also attending the wedding and had left for Portugal 2 days ahead of us.

We figured there were only so much you could do on a Thursday night in Lisbon. 

The very first and most important visit was clearly to.....

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Trying to decide which to try first!

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Pastéis de Belém

Lisbon, October 2019

Pastéis de Belém is a staple and the most popular spot to devour melt-in-your-mouth custard tarts (pastéis de nata) -their history goes way back to 1837 and it is worth every bite. Upon doing research before our trip, the recurring comment were the long lineups. Luckily for us, we went around 8:30pm and it was EMPTY! When we got there it looked closed, but I checked their operating hours before heading out and it stated they were open until 11:00pm! (serving your late-night cravings).

They had many opened doors, so we chose one that led us into the seating area. The walls were covered in white and blue tiles; chairs and tables were ordinary. It felt homey while being historic - seeing as they've been open for over a century. Don't expect to be walking into an "instagrammable" interior - you are strictly there for their pastries. 

We ordered coffees and half a dozen pastéis. Obviously, our cameras ate first. 

I can think of multiple synonyms for the word 'delicious', but none of them do justice to describe that first bite.

The crust, ever-so flaky. 

The filling, ever-so luscious. 

Evidently, we ordered a dozen to take back to my parents and brother who were at a function. 6 for the three of them to share and 6 for us - necessary provisions as we explore the neighbourhood of Belem.

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Pastéis de Belém

Lisbon, October 2019

Although Portugal is littered with shops selling pastriesPastéis de Belém received its popularity from visitors who came to see Mosteiro dos Jerónimos, which is located next door. It is said the tarts were originally made by the monks of the monastery. As the saying goes, "location, location, location!" 

As they are a true tourist destination, they are constantly busy. Take it from us - go later during the day. They're still serving until late, so why wait in lineups that literally extend down the street and wrap around the corner? Use your time wandering the city rather than waiting in lines!

Seeing as we were exploring in the evening, we walked over to the monastery and were only able to admire from its exterior since they were closed. Across the street, there was a garden - Jardim da Praça do Império, translated to Garden of the Empire Square. From there you're able to see the Tagus River and the Belém Tower.

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Pastéis de Belém

Mosteiro dos Jerónimos

Jardim da Praça do Império

Seeing as we only had the tarts as our first official bite into Portuguese cuisine, we were actually hungry for a proper meal. 

It was time we took an Uber to Time Out Market. 

Gavin's cousin, Stephanie, actually recommended the visit to this market. It is literally an overwhelming warehouse of food options! We did about 3 rounds until we heard our stomachs roar at us. We had to narrow down our options...quickly! I went scouting for a table, while Gavin placed our order. It's essentially a vast canteen; seating is in the middle, while the food vendors are at the perimeter. 

 

Without fail, our cameras ate first (as always). You don't realize how hungry you are until you begin to eat; we practically ate our meal in silence. Portugal is popular for their seafood, so we picked grilled octopus and bacalhau (Portuguese word for cod). Needless to say, it was as if we've never had seafood before! Everything until the last bite was delectable. 

Unfortunately, we didn't take note of which vendor we ordered from. Regardless of where you choose to order, I highly doubt they will disappoint! Time Out Market is also open until 2:00am! You have options if you're out partying and are in need of sustenances to absorb your alcoholic intake.

With full bellies and the clock striking (way) past midnight, we were ready for slumber. 

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Overwhelming amount of decisions!

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Should have brought an extra suitcase

Bacalhau (Portuguese for cod)

Grilled octopus on a bed of crispy potatoes