The Best Way to Taste Lisbon off the Beaten Path with Taste of Lisboa

Just 15 minutes away on a tram ride, west from downtown Lisbon is the Campo de Ourique neighborhood. This area is known to locals as a foodie neighborhood, where new food concepts are tested and launched.

Most visitors to Lisbon will rarely make it to this area. It is a charming “city within Lisbon” and a foodie paradise. It is a place to taste Lisbon like nowhere else… “because if it works in Campo de Ourique, it will work everywhere in Lisbon”.

To help us navigate this neighborhood, we teamed up with Taste of Lisboa food tours to learn about local Portuguese cuisine in one of the city’s trendiest neighborhoods. 

After all, the best way to learn about a new culture is through food, and there is no better way than to do with a local.

Discover this off the beaten path Taste of Lisboa food tours and their Campo de Ourique food and cultural tour.

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Starting the Taste of Lisboa Food Tours at the Cemetery of “Pleasure”  

The food tour started promptly at 10:30 am. Guiding us was Madalena, who is Portuguese and lives in Estrela, the neighborhood right next to Campo de Ourique.

The group was small and intimate, with a couple from Australia, a French lady and the both of us. The perfect size for a personalized experience.

The meeting point was Cemitério dos Prazeres, also known as the cemetary of pleasure, where the most important and famous Portuguese personalities are buried. This includes writers, painters, actors, and singers.

Created in the 1800’s to handle the thousands of victims of the cholera epidemic, it is filled with amazing sculptures and beautiful mausoleums.

Cemetery Prazeres_Taste of Lisboa_Authentic Food QuestThe magnificent Prazeres cemetery on the Taste of Lisboa food tours

The Best Chocolate Cake in the World on a Taste of Lisboa Food Tours

Our first tasting stop was a surprising start. Our guide, Madalena, took us to discover the “best chocolate cake in the world” at MBCM.

This tiny store is located at the back of the Mercado Campo de Ourique. And there are only a handful of tables to sit and enjoy this famous chocolate cake.

You have the choice between the traditional cake which is made with milk chocolate cake or the dark chocolate cake, made with about 70% cacao. Both cakes are made of a light chocolate meringue combined with a rich chocolate mousse.

At the first bite, you get an infusion of rich chocolate. The chocolate is refined and delicious with the mousse melting in the mouth. The meringue adds crispness and lightness to the cake.

Portuguese chocolate cake Bolo de Chocolate MBCM Lisbon by AuthenticFoodQuestSinful chocolate cake to die for

To accompany the cake, we enjoyed a traditional Portuguese coffee called bica. This espresso coffee helps cut the sugary taste of the cake.

To digest our first stop of the day, we walked to the historic Igreja do Santo Condestável for a bite of history before heading to our next stop on the tour.

Church Taste of Lisboa by Authentic Food QuestChurch built in a neo-Gothic sytle

Authentic Food Quest Tip: To explore one of the most exciting food scenes in Lisbon, join Taste of Lisboa food tours on this Campo de Ourique food tour. With a local guide, sample some of the tastiest cuisine and enjoy learning about Portugal’s rich culture.

Canned Portuguese Fish Mercado Campo de Ourique – Parceria das Conserva

Canned fish is an important part of Portugal’s culinary heritage, from as far back as 1853, when the first commercial canning factory, Ramirez, was set up.

At Mercado Campo de Ourique, the main local market in the neighborhood, we made a stop at the Parceria das Conserva stall  to sample a variety of Portuguese canned fish.

ParceriadasConservas_TasteofLisboa_AuthenticFoodQuestCanned fish including tuna, sardines, mackerel and more

We sampled mackerel in curry sauce, tuna intomato sauce, sardines in olive oil and a fish roe salad. These little bites were accompanied with a delicious Portuguese rosé wine from Lisbon.

Sardinhas_Tasteof Lisboa_AuthenticFoodQuestDelicious sardines in a curry sauce

The canned fish were surprisingly delicious. Both the mackerel and tuna were thick and fleshy. The curry sauce and mackerel was our absolute favorite. A hint of spice and the perfect combination of flavors.

Mercado Campo de Ourique, recently renovated has been transformed into a modern and hip market.  You can find fruits and vegetables alongside stalls serving sophisticated Portuguese cuisine, wines, meats, Portuguese tapas and more.

A wonderful and historic place to taste Portugal’s flavors in a relaxed environment.

MercadodeCampodeOurique_TasteofLisboa_AuthenticFoodQuestStalls and tables at Mercado Campo de Ourique

Pork the Portuguese Way at Pigmeu

Pork is a consistent element in Portuguese cuisine. At Pigmeu, everything is prepared and cooked with pork.

To get a taste of the cuisine, we were presented with a trio of their specialties. First, a “croqueta”, which is a fried bowl filled with pork cheek, with a mustard sauce. Then, we had a bruschetta made of “chicharron” or fried pork fat with tomatoes on top. And finally, a smoked ham sandwich.

The sandwich was delicious, while the bruschetta had interesting flavors. The croqueta was our least favorite. To accompany these bites, we had a juicy red wine from the Douro valley.

PigmeuSampling_TasteofLisboa_AuthenticFoodQuestPork sampling at Pigmeu

Surprising Portuguese Mussels and Beer

When it comes to beer and mussels, you may think of Belgium and certainly not Lisbon for traditional mussels and beer. At the reinvented Moules & Beer restaurant, we got a chance savor local Portuguese mussels as well and craft beer from Lisbon.

MoulesandBeer_TasteofLisboa_AuthenticFoodQuestContemporary setting at Moules & Beer

Two buckets of Portuguese Mussels were presented to us prepared with a typical Portuguese sauce called Bulhão Pato. The sauce gets its name from a famous Lisbon poet from the 19th Century. The sauce is made of white wine, cilantro, garlic, and olive oil, a good representation of the traditional Portuguese cooking ingredients.

In addition to the Portuguese mussels, we tasted the local craft beer Vadia. This brewery was created in 2007, at the beginning of the new craft beer movement in Portugal. The Vadia we tasted was a lager, easy to drink and light in taste.

MusselsBeer_TasteofLisboa_AuthenticFoodQuestDelicious Portuguese mussels

A Taste of Portuguese Culture at Flagrante Delitro Restaurant

The history and culture of Portugal was very much a part of the food tour experience. This stop for Portuguese traditional cuisine took place at restaurant, Flagrante Delitro, of Casa Fernando Pessoa.

Fernando Pessoa is one of Portugal’s most celebrated poets and literary figures. Madalena regaled us with stories of studying Pessoa as a student and his heteronyms, or imaginary characters.

CasadeFernandoPessoa_TasteofLisboa_AuthenticFoodQuestMadalena, our guide, talking about Fernando Pessoa

The traditional tasting at this stop was for pataniscas or codfish fritters with a baked beans soupy rice. This was accompanied by a glass of vinho verde or “green wine” from the rolling hills of northern Portugal.

Bacalhau_TasteofLisboa_AuthenticFoodQuestCodfritters and soupy rice

RELATED Read more about Portuguese wines in our article Fall in Love with Douro Valley and the Best Wines in Portugal

Despite being fried, the codfish fritters were not oily and full of flavors. The soupy rice with baked beans was the perfect dish for a cool day and the lively Vinho Verde was the perfect compliment to the tasting.

VinhoVerde_TasteofLisboa_AuthenticFoodQuest.Sparkly Vinho Verde wine

Traditional Dessert from the Nuns at the Cantina De Estrela

To finish on a sweet note, we headed to Cantina da Estrela, housed within the historic Condes de Paraty Palace. This restaurant, part of the Hotel da Estrela, is modern and stylish, overlooking the beautiful garden. The perfect setting for an afternoon snack and drink.

The local specialty here is the famous and very traditional Pão de Ló or Portuguese sponge cake. This sponge cake was traditionally made by the nuns from the convent of Cós. It is said that Pão de Ló was born from a mistake in the 19th century during the visit of the King.

As the story goes, the King was visiting and in a hurry to serve him, the sponge cake was removed out of the oven too early. Everyone praised the taste of the cake, which turned out moist and filled with a delicious egg cream.

Since then, the way to make this cake has been preserved.

On the Taste of Lisboa food tours, we found the taste to be as described. The texture of a sponge cake was soft and sweet. A delightful cake to enjoy with tea or coffee.

Pao de Lo Portuguese sponge cake Lisbon by AuthenticFoodQuestPao de Lo, famous nun's sponge cake
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In Summary

Food is one of the best ways to truly understand a culture. Taking a food tour with a local guide gives you rich insights and perspectives that you otherwise would not have.

If it had not been for the Taste of Lisboa food tours, we probably would not have visited the Campo de Ourique neighborhood and discovered the rich food culture.

Our expert guide, Madalena, not only covered the traditional Portuguese delicacies but also took us to the up and coming restaurants that are reinventing Portuguese cuisine.

The discovery of the “best chocolate cake in the world” contrasted by the nun’s pão de ló covered a wide spectrum of the Portuguese desserts. From canned fish to mussels and codfish fritters we enjoyed a wide sampling of Portugal’s favorite food.

The Campo de Ourique Taste of Lisboa Food Tours is a great way to discover a foodie neighborhood and learn about Portuguese cuisine. Taking the Taste of Lisboa food tours with a local gives you incredibly rich cultural insights.

If your travels take you to Lisbon, be sure to book the Campo de Ourique Taste of Lisboa Food Tours for a delicious discovery of Portugal.

How To Book Your Taste of Lisboa Food Tours

Created by a Lisbon native, the Taste of Lisboa food tours offers a variety of gastronomy tours with a blend of history, culture, architecture in different neighborhoods.

The particular tour was 4-hours in length with seven food stops including a number of cultural stops.

 Go with an open and curious mind and eat only a small or light breakfast. And, be prepared for a fascinating discovery.

With the Taste of Lisboa Food Tours, you can expect “Real People, Real Food!”

Where to Stay in Lisbon for Food Lovers

Sunny Lisbon is the perfect place to visit all year round offering almost 300 sunny days every year. For the most part, the city is relatively safe, especially in the popular and touristic areas. 

Each barrio or neighborhood has its own unique character and charm. And in each barrio, you’ll find amazing places to stay as well as local restaurants local establishments serving the very best Portuguese specialties.

To help you get the most out of your trip, we’ve written a detailed guide with the best areas to stay in Lisbon for food lovers.

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Special thanks to Taste of Lisboa for having us on this tour. All views and opinions expressed are our own. Full bellies and happy taste buds too!

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  1. I have to be honest and say I didn’t love Portuguese food when I visited Porto and Northern Portugal. And this food tour was a bit of a flip flop for me reading it. Dark chocolate cake? Sold! Canned fish? Blech. Pork croquettas and smoked pork sandwich? Yum! Mussels, yes please! Cod fritters? I could do without those and the rice. But I love food tours and there’s enough of the tastings that I’d still go on it, but pass up a couple of things while on it.

    • That’s the thing about food tours Jennifer, you get an introduction to the food of the region and some places and dishes resonate more than others. Curious, what didn’t you love about Portuguese food? In our case, it’s been a delicious discovery and loving all the seafood and fresh ingredients and products. What’s great about food tour is the exposure to the regional dishes and cuisines. Appreciate your feedback 🙂

  2. Was it really the best chocolate cake in the world?? It’s a tough call, I have tried a lot of delicious chocolate cakes! 🙂 I think that would be my favourite stop; I’m not a fan of tinned fish, but those mussels look yummy as well!

    • Agree, Claire, best chocolate in the world was a tough call. We have to admit it quite delicious though. The canned fish in Portugal are unlike any other. I would highly recommend giving them a try. Can’t go wrong with good mussels though 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!

  3. I love the food in Lisbon, it is so tasty. I am a fan of the fried codfish and mussels are my go to meal in the Mediterranean. I have not tried a “croqueta” or the chocolate cake, so will we trying those when I’m in Lisbon next.

  4. I have not been to Portugal yet but have it on my list. I just added this little food-town which is off the tourist map 🙂 I also agree that food is one important factor of any culture and I am interested always to find out the history of some of the local delicacies. Yes, I will go there one day!

  5. Taste of Lisboa sounds like a great tour – I love food tours that are (a) intimate in group size, and (b) include an element of history from the region, so this sounds perfect. The best chocolate cake in the world is a big claim!! From your description though it sounds good enough to travel to Lisbon for alone 😀

    I’ll have to keep a mental note to try canned fish when I head to Lisbon – I had no idea it played such a huge role in Portugals culinary history. And honestly I wouldn’t have expected it to be so delicious! The Tram 28-Campo de Ourique Food & Cultural Walk Food Tour sounds like a fabulous way to gain insight into Lisbons history while sampling some amazing cuisine – thanks for sharing your experience! Hopefully I’ll have the chance to travel soon.

    • Really hope you make it to Portugal soon. It is a beautiful country with outstanding seafood. Totally agree, food tours are an amazing way to discover the local food culture. And, the Taste of Lisboa is the perfect culinary partner. Thanks for stopping by!

  6. Oh I hadn’t imagined a trip to Lisbon being about food. I am a foodie but I tend not like southeast Asian flavours more than European (no offense) except when it comes to desserts and cakes! I mean look at the nun’s sponge cake and the sinful chocolate cake, they’re to die for! I also like the look for the Portuguese mussels and the sardines in curry sauce. I think I’ll bookmark this post when I travel to Portugal so that I can refer to it easily!

    • Awesome Medha, glad you enjoyed reading the article. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you have questions about the food in Portugal. It is a delightful and underrated culinary destination. All the seafood is amazing, and the mussels and sardines are outstanding. Thanks for stopping by!

  7. Oh I love food tour! the best chocolate cake in the world? Wow! I’ve known cocoa or cacao as chocolates are made from them and we have it in our backyard! We used to devour its seeds and it’s tasty! Taste of Lisboa seems like a good one to book once you’ve visited this place! I love the seafood , Portuguese mussel here, too!

  8. That nuns sponge cake looks divine. Food tours are so worth the money because you try so many things! And they take you places you wouldn’t always make it to on your own. Looks amazing and its making me hungry.

    • You are right Nicole, food tours get you to explore new areas you probably would have missed. In this case, we probably would not have made it to Campo de Ourique without the Taste of Lisboa. Glad you enjoyed the article and hope you make it to Portugal soon for the sponge cake 🙂 Cheers.

  9. I live in Panaji which calls itself the twin city of Lisbon. I wonder why I have not heard of Bica coffee here so far. Maybe I need to explore more. Love your first image of the cemetery – feels odd, but there is a haunting beauty to it. How would you rate Lisbon for vegetarians?

    • Thanks Anu and glad you enjoyed the article. Actually for vegetarians, we’ve been surprised to see so many vegetarian restaurants. You would have plenty to eat:) Interesting to learn about Panaji the twin city of Lisbon. You probably have the same coffee with a local name instead of the Portuguese “bica.” Thanks for stopping by.

  10. I’ve heard great things about this food tour before and your pictures make me even more excited to hopefully get to Lisbon one day! My blog partner is seriously into beer and was just there with friends, I will have to ask him if he tried the local mussels with beer there! And, mackerel in curry sauce??? Definitely one combination I wouldn’t have expected, but I have to admit I am a bit curious to try it!

    • Thanks Erin and glad you enjoyed discovering unusual flavors such as mackerel and curry. Sounds odd, but tastes delicious. The next time you travel, do take a food tour, you will be amazed at what you will discover. Hopefully in Lisbon soon 🙂 Thanks for stopping by.


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