Visiting a Lisbon food market is one of the most authentic ways to get under the city’s cultural skin.
A Lisbon food market is the perfect place to gauge locals’ grocery shopping habits and preferred chitchat topics. Prepare to leave any of these four markets in Lisbon with suggestions for your next meal, updates on local politics and football, an old family recipe, and a complimentary bunch of parsley or coriander (two of Portuguese cuisine’s most popular herbs).
1. Mercado de Arroios
Mercado de Arroios would be just another food market in Lisbon if it weren’t for its location right in the heart of Mouraria, the city’s most culturally-diverse neighborhood. The 75-year-old establishment reopened with a fresh look in 2017 and became the first hydroponic market in the world, thanks to the soil-less greenhouse system built on the terrace.
But the real appeal of Mercado de Arroios is the community life around it. The restaurants around the market reflect the area’s multiculturality, from Churrasqueira do Mercado de Arroios, selling the Portuguese-beloved grilled chicken to go, to Mezze, the first Syrian cuisine restaurant in Lisbon.
2. Mercado 31 de Janeiro
Off the beaten path, Mercado 31 de Janeiro is local chefs’ favorite Lisbon food market for fresh fish. In the morning, you’ll likely cross paths with busy suppliers packing whole fishes in styrofoam boxes filled with ice. But don’t worry—they’ll leave something for you. If you’re not a fish connoisseur or are struggling to translate their cryptic names, the skillful fishmongers will get you the right one by assessing your cooking preferences: grill, fry, or stew. They’ll even throw in their secret sauce family recipe or tell you how they season their caldeirada (fish stew).
If you need a first introduction to fish recipes before trying out your own, go up to the second-floor restaurant Casa do Peixe. Dishes are simple, and the fish is sourced from the market below.
3. Mercado de Campo de Ourique
Mercado de Campo de Ourique blends neighborhood life, tradition, and gourmet food under one roof. Entering the market feels close to a farm-to-table journey, with vendors circling the food court in the center, as if embracing it. The casual atmosphere of the restaurants is spot on for a very Portuguese way of eating a meal: petiscar. Not quite a full meal and not quite a snack, the petiscos are flavorful, shareable dishes, cooked quickly but never rushed, that pair well with wine and long conversations.
Insider’s Tip: At Devour Lisbon we love the iconic Portuguese petiscos at Alhos e Bugalhos or the best national cheeses and sausages at Charcutaria Castiço (when in doubt, order their Campo de Ourique board for a selection of typical Portuguese products).
4. Mercado da Ribeira (Time Out Market)
Mercado da Ribeira was the first central market of Lisbon in the 19th century. In 2014 it became the first Time Out Market in the world. The west wing houses the most prominent Portuguese chefs and restaurants, selected by Time Out editors. For most tourists in Lisbon, this is the location of their first encounter with local cuisine. Feeling inspired and wanting to recreate some of the dishes you just tried? Head over to the vendor section on the east wing for fresh produce and some cooking tips.
No matter which Portuguese restaurant you choose here, save room for one, or several, of Manteigaria’s pastéis de nata. The custard tart is Lisbon’s most famous pastry, but few other places bake the real deal. While waiting in line, you can see the bakers preparing the next batch.
Counting down the days to your trip to Lisbon mainly so you can start devouring all the Portuguese food in sight? We feel you—that’s how we travel too.
Let’s hang out while you’re in town, preferably on our food tour! Let us feed your curiosity and show you our Lisbon.
Sandra Henriques Gajjar is a freelance web content writer and travel blogger born in the Azores and based in Lisbon for 20+ years. Since 2014 she’s been blogging about travel, culture, and the people she meets in between at Tripper, a blog on sustainable cultural tourism.