Stitch and Bear

A long-running Irish blog with reviews of the best restaurants in Dublin and throughout Ireland. Some wine and cocktails thrown in for good measure!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

[Travel] Eat Drink Walk Petiscos Tour in Lisbon

Everyone likes a different kind of holiday. Some people like sunshine, some people like food and some people like activity. However, we found a way to combine them. Rather than spending a lot of effort to find the best Lisbon food and drink, we decided to take a short cut by booking ourselves onto a guided walking tour of Lisbon, offered by Eat Drink Walk. And so we found ourselves outside the Mercado da Ribeira in the bright sunshine, waiting for our guide Celia Pedroso, and our introduction to the petiscos of Lisbon.

As it was a Monday, the fresh produce sections of the market were regrettably quiet, while the fish market was closed altogether. Entire sections of the market are sectioned off behind plastic curtains and construction sounds echo around the halls. The whole market is undergoing modernisation, starting with the opening of the TimeOut food hall. This wide open space is filled with communal tables in heavy blond wood and lined with a selection of Lisbon's finest restaurants and food outlets. 
Stitch & Bear - Eat Drink Walk Petiscos Lisbon - Time Out food market
The Timeout food hall at the Mercado da Ribeira
We started our eating tour with a very fine selection of cheeses (sheep and goat) from Manteigaria Silva along with plenty of crusty corn bread, ham-wrapped figs, all accompanied by some crisp, refreshing glasses of Vila Santa Loios white wine, made in the Alentejo region. 
Stitch & Bear - Eat Drink Walk Petiscos Lisbon - Cheese platter
Cheese platter from Manteigaria Silva 
Stitch & Bear - Eat Drink Walk Petiscos Lisbon - Cheese and meat platter
Ham-wrapped figs and cheese from Manteigaria Silva
Then it was time to leave the Mercado and start walking the streets of Lisbon in search of the tastiest snacks and drinks. As we walked, Celia pointed out historic buildings and interesting sights, including a  bakery with wonderful animal creations and a food shop where slabs of dried salted cod were stacked high.
Stitch & Bear - Eat Drink Walk Petiscos Lisbon - Bread animals
Bread animals in a shop window
Stitch & Bear - Eat Drink Walk Petiscos Lisbon - Salt cod
Stacks of dried salted cod
Then it was time to visit Restaurante Nova Pombalina for some leitão - or suckling pig sandwich. The cafe assembles sandwiches on freshly baked bread in lightning fast time, accompanied by a delicious selection of fresh juices and potato chips. The rolls are filled with a mixture of crackling and meat, with a hot piri-piri oil available for those who like to spice it up. Rissois de camerao, or crispy prawn pancakes, had a tasty cream filling balanced by fresh herbs. Several glasses of fresh pineapple juice with ginger or mint worked their refreshing magic before we headed back out into the sunshine. 
Stitch & Bear - Eat Drink Walk Petiscos Lisbon - Rissois de camaro
Rissois de camarao - or crispy prawn pies
Stitch & Bear - Eat Drink Walk Petiscos Lisbon - Pineapple and mint juice
Refreshing fresh pineapple and mint juice
Stitch & Bear - Eat Drink Walk Petiscos Lisbon - Roast suckling pig rolls
Roasted suckling pig rolls with potato chips
The tinned fish industry is very important in Portugal where they have elevated it to an art-form. There are many shops dedicated to the sale of tinned fish, with shelves stocked neatly in a rainbow cacophony  of tins. Sardines, mackerel, octopus, mussels, tuna… if the Portuguese can't tin it, then it probably isn't worth eating. Conserveira da Lisboa on Rua dos Bacalhoeiros is a beautiful old-style shop with tins stacked behind the serving counter.
Stitch & Bear - Eat Drink Walk Petiscos Lisbon - Conserveira de Lisboa
Conserveira de Lisboa
Stitch & Bear - Eat Drink Walk Petiscos Lisbon - tinned fish
The first mountain of tinned fish
It was time to taste port, courtesy of the Garrafeira Nacional on Rua de Santa Justa. The entire shop is lined with bottles but especial focus is given to port and sherry. Bottles of different vintages and sizes are everywhere, and it was fun for our party to see who had the most expensive port vintage birth year. (I only clocked in at €200).

We got to taste a wide selection including white, ruby, tawny and aged ports, with colours ranging from light to dark deep red. The final bottle was a sample of the local Moscatel de Setúbal, a delicious sweet wine suitable for aperitifs.
Stitch & Bear - Eat Drink Walk Petiscos Lisbon - Vintage ports
Vintage ports at the Garrafeira Nacional 
Stitch & Bear - Eat Drink Walk Petiscos Lisbon - Port and muscatel tasting
Our port and Moscatel tasting at Garrafeira Nacional
Stitch & Bear - Eat Drink Walk Petiscos Lisbon - Muscatel du Setubal
Presenting Moscatel de Setúbal
At this stage we had walked well away from the Mercado and it was time to start turning back. But not before we stopped at a little food store specialising in food from the Portuguese Azores islands. Here we nibbled on cheese, spicy chorizo and fresh pineapple marinated in the sweet liqueurs produced on the islands. It seemed that every type of fruit was bottled on the shelves, even going to so far to produce a creamy Bailey's-like drink from rice. 
Stitch & Bear - Eat Drink Walk Petiscos Lisbon - Liqueur and cheese tasting
Cheese, spicy chorizo and liquer tasting
Stitch & Bear - Eat Drink Walk Petiscos Lisbon - More tinned fish
Yet more tinned fish
Yet more tinned fish, this time at the modern and sleek Loja das Conservas, which is more like a modern art gallery than a tinned fish shop. Tins from different canneries are arranged artfully underneath mini-histories of the cannery. Even the purchases are beautifully packaged, with tins carefully laid into cardboard boxes or even wooden boxes.
Stitch & Bear - Eat Drink Walk Petiscos Lisbon - Even more tinned fish
And even more tinned fish
Lisbon even has a tapas restaurant, Sol e Pesca, that specialises in decanting tinned fish, housed in a former fishing tackle shop. You simply pick your choice of tinned piscine delight and the staff will deliver them, in their oils or sauces, to your table. Simplicity is the key here, with fresh bread and carafes of crisp white wine to wash it all down. 
Stitch & Bear - Eat Drink Walk Petiscos Lisbon - Tinned fish tapas at Sol e Pesca
Tinned fish tapas at Sol e Pesca
Stitch & Bear - Eat Drink Walk Petiscos Lisbon - Sol e Pesca
And more tinned fish tapas at Sol e Pesca
By now our legs were feeling the effects of spending 4 hours walking in the Lisbon sunshine. Our final stretch took us back to the market for a Portuguese treat. Ginjinha is a local liqueur made from sour cherries and the little bar from Mariquinhas Óbidos serves it in a little chocolate cup for added sweetness. Careful handing is required in the heat, but to be honest, the little cup doesn't tend to last long.
Stitch & Bear - Eat Drink Walk Petiscos Lisbon - Ginjinha and chocolate
Tasting ginjinha - with a shot in a chocolate cup
Our little group of Irish, English and Americans had great fun wandering around Lisbon in the company of Celia and Eat Drink Walk. Sometimes having a local food writer show you around is the best way to find those little gems. Our tour lasted about 4 hours and cost €60 per head including all eating and drinking. Other tour options are available, just contact Eat Drink Walk for details.

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