Collecting the best of the city, Time Out Market Lisboa is a foodie’s dream. Everything in the market is chosen, tasted and hand-picked by Time Out‘s journalists and critics. It features the best chefs, the best dishes, the best tapas, and the best desserts in town.
It simply follows one rule:
“If it’s good it goes in the magazine. If it’s great it goes on to the market”
I went there one evening during my holiday in Lisbon and was absolutely fascinated by it. It’s basically one massive food court, with long tables in the middle to share seats. Certain stalls have their own bar table area on the other side (not facing towards the main hall) if you fancy a nicer sit-down dining experience with an open kitchen in front of you.
After having an absolute blast on my first visit, on the next day I thought, instead of trying my luck on other restaurants and hopefully not fall into tourist traps, I should just return to the Time Out Market to sample more quality food! Here are some of my favourites and the best ones after two days of food sampling:
1. Chef: Miguel Castro E Silva
Chef Miguel Castro E Silva bring Portuguese comfort food to the market. Originally from Porto, the chef put together a northern touch to his foods. I had the Arroz de Polvo Provencal, which is the Octopus Rice. Not only is it visually gorgeous, the flavours were just as great. The Octopus was tender and not at all rubbery. It’s quite brothy so it’s actually gives quite a comforting sensation. I am definitely keen to return to this stall another time to try out more dishes.
2. Monte Mar
Mar means the sea, so it’s all about seafood for this one. A range of simple and delicious seafood dishes can be found on the menu. They mainly have grilled fishes, prawns, squid, octopus and oysters for you to choose from. The one that caught my eye the most is the gorgeous grilled sea bream. After seeing the dish from other people’s trays, I just had to get it.
The Sea Bream is served in butterfly style, which is absolutely pleasing to the eye. It also comes with a portion of garlic rice, which was super delicious. The fish was tender, soft and flaky. It’s just simply grilled with a pinch of sat, a drizzle of olive oil, and parsley for garnishing. That being said, the quality of the fish gets to speak it all. The freshness of the fish is certainly the spotlight of the dish. The flavours were simple and effective. Personally though, I think they can add an extra pinch of sea salt so that the flavours can pop out even more.
The original Monte Mar restaurant is located on the coast road outside Cascais and was recommended by Time Out as the best restaurant in that area.
This one’s all about Pastel de Nata. Manteigeira is crowned as the best ones in the city and of course is one of the most popular stalls featured at this market. They are freshly baked, filled with a rich custard with a warm crispy pastry. Lightly dust it with cinnamon powder and powdered sugar, you’d get such a heavenly sensation in your mouth.
Manteigeira truly stands out from other all those pastry shops all across the city. Its biggest rival would be Pasteis de Belem, but Manteigeira is more centrally located (one around the Baixa-Chiado district and a stall at the Time Out Market), plus I do personally think it’s the better one.
No summer holiday contains no ice cream. Santini would be your perfect ice cream spot in across Portugal. Established since 1949 by an Italian native at Estoril (and later moved to Cascais), Santini serves you quality gelatos to cope with the summer heat. Till today, the gelatos are still hand-made in line with Italian tradition and secret recipes. It is said to be the best ice creams in the Greater Lisbon area.
I ordered a medium cup, where I get 3 scoops of gelatos of my choice. So I had the Coconut, Hazelnut, and the Cream flavour. Out of the three I most recommend the Coconut gelato. The flavour is rich and it also caught me by surprise all these dessicated coconut which adds texture to the velvety gelato. The Hazelnut one resembles nutella, and certainly one of the richer flavours on the menu. As for the Cream flavour, it didn’t really stand out and quite forgettable.
5. Olho Bacalhau
“Of the thousand and one ways there are in Portugal to prepare codfish, the pastel de bacalhau (cod cake) is probably the most universally loved”. Olho Bacalhau offers these scrumptious traditional cod cakes at the market. In addition to that, they also offer some with a modern twist such as incorporating olives or peppers into the pastel de bacalhau. Underneath that crispy coating is plenty of shredded bacalhau, which offers a naturally savoury flavour. It was simply beautifully packed with a lot of flavours.
The stall is run by the Terra do Bacalhau brand. Apart from pastel de bacalhau, you also get to purchase packaged bacalhau (whole, in loin fillet or shredded) there. The fish comes from the cold waters off Norway, which is a stamp of quality. The cod is fished sustainably, prepared in traditional fashion and cured for at least nine months.
6. Recordacao de Sintra
Recordacao de Sintra literally translates as “Sintra Souvenir”. A food staple for Sintra is the Queijada. The Queijada is a cheese & egg pudding, while some call it a Portuguese cupcake. I personally think it’s certainly more cake-like. It’s quite moist & dense in texture. Flavour-wise it’s like a sweet eggy cake. The cheese is delectably mild, very different to classic cheesecakes. It was really pleasant in flavour and a lot of rich sweetness. The browned top adds a caramelized touch to the pudding/cake too.
Other than the Queijada, there are also a couple of biscuits and cookies available at the stall.
Croqueteria is the city’s first (and only) specialist when it comes breaded and fried croquetes. The founders won the Time Out Lisboa competition in 2014, and hence got a spot at the Time Out Market. They offer a range of flavours to choose from:
- Traditional (beef & pork)
- Game sausage & rapini
- Chicken with “Farinheira” (almonds)
- Goat Cheese with Caramelised Red Onions
- Tuna with Dried Tomatoes
- Cuttlefish with Ink
- Codfish & Chorizo
After omitting all the meat options, I decided to go for the Cuttlefish with Ink one. I have never seen such flavours for a croquette and I thought it’s pretty unique. It may not be the most visually appealing but it’s certainly a unique one. There is a light & subtle crisp on the outside while the inside is soft & mushy. You can order the croquettes on its own or in a sandwich form with crisps served on the side. Time Out Market has certainly picked up an interesting one here!
All in all, Time Out Market Lisboa is certainly a must-visit foodie destination. The market is not merely about Portuguese food, there are also burgers, sushi, sashimi, pizzas, stir-fries etc there. There is such a vast variety of options at the market and everyone is bound to get something they fancy. It’s an especially ideal place if you’re only in Lisbon for short stay as it has all the basic essence of the city all gathered in one place. From the best representative foods to souvenirs, it has it all at the Time Out Market. Check it out and let us know your favourite!