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calling local knowledge

Holywood, United...
Level Contributor
18 posts
2 reviews
calling local knowledge

6 off us spending 3 nights in Lisbon late November looking for advice on the following ( staying in the old town ).Best place to eat local custard tarts, interesting tram line, off the tourist trail restaurants, places of interest that you wont get a me to anywhere else

3 replies to this topic
Lisbon, Portugal
Level Contributor
2,918 posts
16 reviews
1. Re: calling local knowledge

You will find pasteis nata in any of the very large number of pastelarias scattered throughout the city. They are all local. They are nicest fresh, indeed still warm from the oven. To get them like that is a matter of luck or else by going to the Fabrica Pasteis de Belem which is near Jeronimos Church and Monastery in Belem. Also at Monteigaria, Rua do Loreta 2, in Chiado

As to trams you may be under the misapprehension that there are lots of routes, there are not. The No.28 is iconic partly because the trams are very old and quaint and partly because of the route followed. The No.15 is a modern tram and well used because it connects the central part of the town with Belem. By the way "old town" is another misconception. There is no old town here, Alfama and Mouraria have some buildings that are a bit older than the rest of the city because they survived the earthquake in 1755 but otherwise the whole of the city is neither particularly old (as such things are measured in Europe) nor (except for Parque das Nacoes) particularly young. Glass and steel construction has largely passed the city by.

There is a very recently restored tram route which runs from Praca Luis Camoes in Chiado to a residential area of the city, Campolide. You might try that one but, having lived in Campolide for a couple of years, I do not recommend it to a tourist such as yourself. That said you would be able to find there one attraction which, while it gets a mention in guide books sometimes, does not attract crowds. It is the walk across the Aquaduto das Aguas Livres


For off the tourist trail restaurants simply walk down any street. Particularly at lunch time they will be full of Lisboetas. The areas to avoid where you would be dining with your fellow tourists are the Baixa, the side streets around the squares near Rossio, Praca da Comercio and the string of restaurants lying on the road from the main cruise dock towards Comercio. They are primarily outdoor restaurants. I will add that if you did take lunch or dinner at any of them it would not be a mistake as far as the food offered or the price paid (well, except for the very central road in the Baixa and Comercio) but you would be dining with your fellow tourists.

If you will take a tip from me you will abandon your idea that avoiding your fellow visitors is a good idea. Visitors find and visit the best places.

There is a hidden gem here, it is the street life of the city. The way to discover that is: to take things easy: don't crowd things in to every day: walk everywhere: pick restaurants by the ones which catch your eye: and avoid preconceptions. If you open yourself up to the city like that you will discover its charm.

I hope you enjoy your visit.

Portalegre, Portugal
Level Contributor
1,584 posts
103 reviews
2. Re: calling local knowledge

"If you will take a tip from me you will abandon your idea that avoiding your fellow visitors is a good idea. Visitors find and visit the best places."

Well, I have to respectfully disagree with that, and for 2 reasons...

1) Visitors are, as a general rule, a pretty conservative bunch - they do research and they target the "sights" and the "attractions" that other visitors point them towards. And within "attractions" I include restaurants - how many times does one see a review from someone in Lisbon for 3 days exclaiming at how "authentic" the food at XYZ was? How can they possibly tell what is "authentic" and what isn't? And it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy - more people go, more ratings, higher up the list, more people go.....

2) Visitors often do find the "good" (I hesitate to say best) places, and, very often, those places then change - there are a number of restaurants I no longer frequent - the food isn't so good, the prices certainly aren't, and where's the fun in visiting a foreign city in a foreign country and being surrounded by people speaking your own language?

If you really want "...off the tourist trail restaurants" that really isn't hard - take the metro out to the suburbs - anywhere north of Campo Grande on the yellow line - anywhere beyond Sete Rios on the blue line - Moscavide even. Check the TA reviews (or Zomato) - what you're looking for are places with none, or very few, reviews in a language other than Portuguese. Better even than that is to find somewhere NOT on either review site. Trust me, there are some fine restaurants out there that are not on the "tourist trail" (yet).

Portsmouth, United...
Destination Expert
for Portsmouth
Level Contributor
5,802 posts
2,304 reviews
3. Re: calling local knowledge

We will be in Lisbon next week for a few days and therefore, with apologies, we are jumping in on these forum posts. Excellent information, thank you both.

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