This blog post was originally posted on June 19, 2019 and was updated on October 28, 2020.
Walking the green hills of Sintra always works up an appetite—but luckily, you don’t have to head far from the city center to find the perfect restaurant.
To truly enjoy a Sintra day trip, you’ll want to leave Lisbon early in the morning and return when the sun is about to set. Trust us, you’ll want to take advantage of the full day if possible.
Our dream itinerary: Sightsee in the morning, then stop for lunch at one of these incredible restaurants in Sintra. After lunch, explore a little bit more before ending the afternoon with an espresso and a travesseiro: a cream-filled, sugar-sprinkled, just-baked puff pastry (more on that later).
Already itching to go? Here are some of our all-time favorite restaurants in Sintra to get you inspired.
The best restaurants in Sintra
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 who 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 a place like Tascantiga and it feels like the universe is on your side after all.
Tascantiga is kid-friendly with a no-frills menu that offers plenty of vegetarian options. In a nutshell, it’s perfect for everyone. Sure, it’s popular among visitors, but it’s earned this fame for a reason—it’s just that good.
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 decor 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. You’ll be able to find this signature local pastry throughout the city, but Piriquita is one of our go-to spots.
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.Want our insider’s guide to eating in Lisbon? Just add your email address in the form below! ADD_THIS_TEXT
Sandra Henriques 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.