Hello you beautiful eyes! I write you, stomach rumbling as I relive these bites in Lisbon, from my tiny desk in Florence after being away since end of June.  The sun has just set on this balmy summer evening. I’m glad I missed out on the sauna that was July 2022 in Italy!

I just returned from a 4 day trip eating & drinking my way through Lisbon and I thought to actually keep my promise FIRST of sharing my picks and finds on the blog BEFORE doing the usual of: making an IG post and then promising one day to put them on the blog. This post has a handy google map (scroll/read for it) with all the places I saved in case you wanted to know where I’d eat & drink in Lisbon, or where other trusted palates recommended!

Did you know you can carry-on something like 20 tins (weight permitting) if your flight from Portugal goes direct to your final destination?
In San Francisco, The Spanish Table is a total gem to get imported specialties from Spain and Portugal and they carry this line of tinned fish

I’ll explain what took me to Lisbon first. If you read the blog, you know I split my time in SF and in Florence, Italy. I was planning to be back in the Fall for food tours and writing but flights back were the highest $$$$ I ever saw. So I spent an afternoon (in the Spring- I should have purchased in the winter) tinkering with alternatives, and found there were stinking cheap deals with flying into Lisbon via SFO. I’d basically be staying in Lisbon for an extended 4 day layover. Although the difference I was saving went to sleeps and eats, it was to me (at the time) more of a value to use that difference to see (and eat through) a new city.

Where I stayed: Casa do Principe (e-mail me for more sleep recs!;)

The only problem was getting a one way to Florence from Lisbon was EXPENSIVE since August and I had to fly into Pisa (which I will NEVER do again!). Please don’t fly travel within Europe during August if you can avoid it and especially avoid Pisa if you’re going straight to Florence. It had been a while and I could have double checked, but there used to be buses  that went straight from Pisa airport to Florence and now those are all but almost gone.

Now the only option is to take a tram from the airport to train station, then a 75min regional train (which sometimes are packed) or the ONE bus left that runs infrequently- and it drops off at a random tramline stop near the Florence airport. Could always be worse, and thankfully there are public transport options- but thought I’d pass on my mistakes so you won’t make. them!

Lesson is I need to start prioritizing my own vacation because travel professionals like myself are their own worst planners since they are busy planning everyone else’s!

Long and irritating update aside, I’m still glad I made it to Lisbon. Although in hindsight I wish I had gone intently vs for a cheap flight workaround/solo “winging it” layover trip. But I was able to get some delicious recommendations from friends and fellow travel professionals. Shout-out to my dear Rani at Cheema’s Travel and Lonely Planet writer Kevin Raub.

grilled sardines
barnacles, shrimp and lupini at the kind of places I wanted to eat: cervejarias
there’s a rare and tender steak hiding under this eggie (in a cream sauce destined to give my heart a run for its money) as one the best meals I’ve had in recent memory
stay pumping, my dear heart (at Cafe’ de Sao Bento)
I’m usually not into brownies but this was a winner @ Bettina Corallo Chocolate Cafe
This could have been any small plates place in SF but one I don’t regret blowing calories on (Prado) The sardine and lardo on toast bite was memorable.
in my top for favorite meals in Lisbon- Sol e Pesca on Pink Street
this sardine on a port cracker was unreal (Sol e Pesca)

I decided to make a map of all my saved places. Here you go! These were places I saved that I either went to or wish I had, so if they are on there- they came recommended from either a local guide, friends whose palates I trust or fellow friends in the food travel business. It includes a few tinned fish snack bars, shops, craft coffee, natural wine bars, cervejarias and more.

Save/bookmark my places on googlemaps! And to see more specifics on where I did visit, visit my saved Lisboa highlight on my Instagram page: https://www.instagram.com/curiousappetite/

My general baby first impression is that the food & drink scene is varied and impressive. However, it’s rather gentrified, which leaves a conflicting taste in my mouth. Locals don’t make a lot of money as average salaries are low, rents are astronomical thanks to herds of “expat” people (you can assume I despise in a Daria-like attitude) driving up the cost of living with their remote work visas on huge salaries. Yet, they are partly to attribute for creating a demand for a competitive, dynamic dining scene. I will say I regret not eating non-Portuguese food from one of their former colonies, but that is on the list for you to do for me!

More photos/highlights from the trip!

Earned my pasteis in hill walking
Try with dusted cinnamon! From Manteigaria Fábrica
Breakfast pastries in Lisboa- since egg whites were used in Portuguese convents for starching their habits, leftover yolks were applied to pastry practices!
sour plums and pomegranates at the daily market
Always traveling with my pomegranate ring from Shiraz

This was an eye-opening trip for numerous reasons and one of them was for putting me in the traveler’s shoe. I showed up direct via San Francisco jet-lagged and groggy, hitting the pavement running (actually tip toeing because I am a grumpy clumsy girl and the tiled sidewalks are slick even when dry). Not to mention ill-prepared with zilch handle on the Portuguese language except what I tried to cram in on the plane. Cramming in a whirlwind city trip is usually not my thing, and I learned the humiliating lesson to take my own advice. HA!

It gave me some ideas for new blog posts for Florence. I do hope you stay tuned (and subscribe to my newsletter for future posts!)

In your grateful-for-not-having-an-egg-allergy trust,

Curious Appetite

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