Eating Through Portugal, Part 3
My food story — the series finale
Day 3 of our jaunt in Portugal was more of a lazy day. We did not have a tour planned, we slept in a bit, and we were a bit exhausted from the first couple of days.
We went to wander around the district of Belém, whose name is derived from the Portuguese word for Bethlehem, and is right on the Tagus River.
Belém is home to Jeronimos Monastary, the Discoveries Monument, the Tower of Belém, several museums, and more.
Before leaving for Belém, we switched it up with a croissant-style pastry stuffed with bacon and cheese with our coffee.
Once we actually got to Belém, it was time to check out Pasteis de Belém! In their own words, “In 1837 we began making the original Pastéis de Belém, following an ancient recipe from the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos. That secret recipe is recreated every day in our bakery, by hand, using only traditional methods.”
Yes, it was delicious.
Then we wandered the waterfront, seeing the gorgeour Discoveries Monument, to commemorate all of the Portuguese explorers, the Tower of Belem, and even saw a sign and decided to go out on a boat cruise on the Tagus River.
On the cruise, we saw the front view of the Discoveries Monument, which was really cool, the 25 de Abril Bridge, which was made by the same architect as the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, and giant Jesus (actually called the Cristo Rei) which stands over the river and was a gift from the Pope at the time for not being involved in World War II.
While on the cruise, we enjoyed a complimentary beer, which must be somewhat well-known in Portugal, because we saw several ads for it in the cities.
After the cruise, we went to lunch at one of the many restaurants near the water. There we got a sampler to try several dishes.
The food included a scrambled egg and sausage dish, potato and codfish dish, an octopus salad, and a pickled chorizo plate.
Next was the National Coach Museum, which was really neat.
After getting back to Alfama, we stopped for some rosé at a small cafe across the street from our airbnb, before wandering to Time Out Market Lisboa, which is a food hall located in the Mercado da Ribeira at Cais do Sodre in Lisbon, created and run by the Time Out Lisboa Magazine team. Five top chefs have restaurants there, along with dozens of other food stalls and shops!
For the pièce de résistance, dinner, we dined at Azul, a small seafood restaurant just outside the main food court hall.
I ate a barnacle for the first time ever! The pair sitting next to us got a giant plate of them and when we asked them how the barnacles were, they were very friendly and offered us each one to try.
For dinner, we got three entrees, a grilled tiger prawn, clams in garlic and white wine, and a while crab which had it’s insides taken out, mixed with other stuff and put back in.
This was all extremely delicious and was one of the best meals we had in Lisbon. I highly recommend checking out the market, especially Azul!
We ended the night with gelato at Santini’s, who had a food stall in the Time Out Market (I got strawberry and vanilla).
This is the end of this amazing food journey. My two companions left early the next morning, and while I had another half day, I just worked for a few hours and then wandered around Alfama by myself for a couple of hours before getting on a plane to go home to NYC. Even though the plane left at 5:30 pm local time, due to the time change I got landed in New York at 8 pm and forced myself to stay awake until 11 before passing out for 9 hours.
This was an amazing trip with two very cool women whom I’d never traveled with before. I loved every moment of it and cannot wait to come back to beautiful Portugal and spend more time exploring — and eating!