Walking the green hills of Sintra always works up an appetite and fortunately, you don’t have to walk far from the city center to find the perfect restaurant.
To truly enjoy a Sintra day trip you need to leave Lisbon early in the morning and return when the sun is about to set. Sightsee in the morning, then stop for lunch at one of these suggestions of restaurants in Sintra. After lunch, sightsee a little more and end the afternoon with an espresso and a puff pastry: a cream-filled, sugar-sprinkled, just-baked travesseiro (more on that later).
1. Romaria de Baco
If you’d rather eat away from the tourist crowds but would prefer not to leave the city center, Romaria de Baco is the perfect spot. Hidden on a side street near the Palácio Nacional de Sintra, it’s mostly frequented by locals and those lucky visitors who come following the recommendation of someone in the know.
The food is traditional Portuguese with a modern twist. If you’re not in the mood for a full meal, go for the tapas & petiscos tasting menu for two. And to honor Bacchus, the Roman god of wine that gives the restaurant its name, ask the friendly staff to suggest the perfect wine to pair with your meal.
Finding a casual place to eat in Sintra that’s not a blatant tourist trap can be tough. This is especially true when you’re traveling with kids or you’re way past your ideal lunchtime and your stomach is speaking louder than your brain. But then you find Tascantiga and it feels like the universe is on your side after all.
Tascantiga is child-friendly with a no-frills menu and vegetarian options. In a nutshell, it’s perfect for everyone. Sure, it’s popular among tourists but it’s earned this fame for a reason. You’ll face the tough decision of choosing between one of the hearty sandwiches or lingering around a selection of petiscos that includes marinated olives, blood sausage (morcela) with pineapple, and roasted chorizo (chouriço). Kids get their choice of chicken nuggets, fish sticks or a burger, all served with a side of fries, rice, and a salad.
3. Incomum by Luis Santos
Visitors tend to search for restaurants closer to the historic center when deciding where to eat in Sintra, but if you’re done with sightseeing and are ready to return to Lisbon, you might prefer an option closer to the train station.
Considering that Sintra was once the favorite holiday destination for Portuguese royals and high-class families, the décor and the menu of Incomum tap into that high-end atmosphere. The Mediterranean fusion menu includes an alternative approach to bacalhau à brás and the house special tiramisu for dessert.
Although you can’t have a meal of coffee and pastries alone (or can you?), you can’t leave Sintra without dropping into Piriquita. Founded in 1862, this is undoubtedly one of the most famous pastelarias (pastry shops) in town.
Though they offer a range of sweets, the business would still thrive even if they sold only one thing: travesseiros. If we can give you only one suggestion of what to eat in Sintra, this is it.
This puff pastry filled with cream is appropriately called a pillow (travesseiro), partly for its shape and partly for the cushiony consistency of the pastry. They go well with coffee or tea and taste even better the next day at breakfast because, of course, you thought ahead and bought some to go.
Calling all curious travelers! Do you love connecting with the local community while in a new place? We’re right there with you. We’d love to keep connecting you to Lisbon through our newsletter. It comes out a couple of times a month, brimming with dispatches on culture, recipes, tips and even a discount or two!
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.