what to expect on Eating Europe's Eats, Street Art and Undiscovered Lisbon Tour

Eating Europe just launched a new food tour destination— Lisbon, Portugal. The Portuguese have a strong reputation for their gastronomy and a rich cultural history with the second oldest capital city in Europe. It didn’t take any convincing for me to agree to a half-day spent eating and sightseeing on the newly unveiled Eating Europe Lisbon tour.

I’m usually not one for tours. However, after being invited to taste the best food in Prague with Eating Europe in January, I quickly realized how valuable the information from guides regarding local lore, hidden gems, and history is to an overall travel experience. It gives you more context for any destination.

On this Eating Europe tour review, I decided not to include a map or the names of the eateries. You’ll just have to book your own Eating Europe tour while you’re visiting Lisbon. Instead, I’ve given you a food tour breakdown of what to expect and what we ate!


here’s a taste of eating europe’s lisbon tour


what to expect on Eating Europe's new Lisbon food tour

first, a FEW FOOD TOUR FAQS

what exactly is a “food tour”?

A food tour, which is sometimes called a culinary tour, is a guided tour of a destination’s local cuisine. Some food tours include beverage pairings— Eating Europe’s tour around Lisbon does! These kinds of tours also typically include stops at historic landmarks and cultural insight. After going on Eating Europe’s Prague tour on my last day in the city, I was really sad I hadn’t done it sooner. It makes for an ideal way to learn about the history.

will Eating europe accommodate my dietary needs?

Absolutely! I’m a vegetarian, which can make food tours a bit tricky. Luckily, Eating Europe is extremely accommodating. During my tour with Eating Europe Prague, every tasting came with a vegetarian option specifically to accommodate me. It wasn’t always the most traditional, but I was grateful that I could fully participate with the rest of the group rather than sit there, watching people eat. Eating Europe Lisbon was just as accommodating.

As a new tour, I decided to conduct my review of the tasting menu’s as they were originally intended. At the time of my excursion, there had only been 9 tours in Lisbon. I felt it would have been premature to have them change their menu for me when they are still gathering feedback on portions, routes, etc. This meant my travel partner got to eat the meat portions of meal…which he did almost too happily. However, at the third stop of the tour, I had a vegetarian chamuças waiting for me as a surprise. I also got to enjoy the second half of a bifana sandwich minus the meat {bread, onions, olive oil, garlic}. The team at Eating Europe Lisbon are considerate and quick thinking. They would have easily put together a fully vegetarian spread had I wanted them to, but I insisted. However, there was a small child on my tour and they catered to him very nicely.

how long does the eating europe lisbon tour last?

You will be eating your way around the city, walking from eatery to eatery, through backstreets and along main roads. Basically, you’re going to see it all. This takes around 4 hours, so go ahead and dedicate an afternoon/evening to the tour. It truly is the best way to see the city and serves as an ideal introduction to the Portuguese capital. In fact, you’ll probably end up wishing the tour lasted even longer!

HOW DOES EATING EUROPE ADDRESS FOOD WASTE?

The excess food from food tours is something I always keep in mind. Luckily, it’s something that Eating Europe keeps in mind as well. It would be simply impossible to get everyone’s ideal portion sizes correct, since everyone eats differently and everyone has different tastes. The tastings are prepared to serve the number of people booked for the tour. This means it is important to email Eating Europe Lisbon {you’ll receive a confirmation email from them when you make your booking} if you suddenly can’t make your tour. If you no-show, there is a chance the food will be prepared for you.

While it’s your responsibility to cancel if you can no longer attend the food tour, it is the vendor’s to serve a reasonable portion and I think, at Eating Europe Lisbon, they have nailed it. The tastings are meant to be just that— a tasting. You aren’t being served six meals, though it might feel like you’ve eaten that much at the end of the day. The tour in Lisbon served up perfect portions that left me full, meaning you get your money’s worth. I was happy to see that most people felt the same. At the end of our tour, Bea and Katrina gathered suggestions for improvement, since the tour is just being rolled out, and made sure to ask about serving sizes. The fact that they even asked about portions proved to me that they have food waste in their thoughts, though I think they nailed the plate sizes.

NOW, FOR THE REALLY FUN STUFF…

what to expect on Eating Europe's new Lisbon food tour
what to expect on Eating Europe's new Lisbon food tour
what to expect on Eating Europe's new Lisbon food tour

stop #1

After meeting in the center of the city, our group walked a short distance to the first stop of the day. As we made our way down a cobblestone street, none of us had any idea where we were headed. Hidden-in-plain-sight is an old Morrish palace, which served as the location of our first stop!

Here, we were served a traditional bifana. Bifanas are essentially steak sandwiches on soft bread with onions, garlic, and generous drizzles of olive oil. Some bifanas come with melted cheese. Yes, the calorie count is high, especially with a beer on the side, but with all the walking we did around the city, I’d say you can easily scarf it down with zero guilt.

WHAT WE ATE: bifana + Super Bock beer

what to expect on Eating Europe's new Lisbon food tour
what to expect on Eating Europe's new Lisbon food tour

stop #2

Codfish is nearly synonymous with Portguese cuisine. The country boasts about their never-ending list of ways to prepare the seafood. It might come as a shock then to know that codfish isn’t native to Portuguese waters. The fish are found in much colder waters, near Norway and New Foundland. The Portuguese imported cod and quickly mastered recipes for preparing it. Every family restaurant does so in their own unique way.

Miguel, the owner of our second tour stop, served up a cold codfish and bean salad with fresh bread and white wine. Some of the group scooped the codfish onto their bread to make a sort of bruschetta, while others spooned the salad into their mouths and had their bread on the side. Whichever way you prefer to eat it gets you to the same delicious result: a belly fully of cod, washed down with house wine. Being a beer drinker, I can’t claim to be a wine expert. However, the others in my group, who were extreme wine connoisseurs, expressed how well the pairing “went together beautifully” and that the wine’s grape was “exquisite”.

My favourite part of the second stop wasn’t the good food or wine. My favourite bit was the venue where we ate. Instead of sitting inside, we had our tasting at an outdoor table under strung up twinkly lights {they were off, as this was during the day} and colourful flags hung for the impending festival for Saint Anthony. The sunny day and light breeze Lisbon had provided was the best kind of weather for an outdoor feed. It was probably my favourite of all the locations we ate at. It genuinely felt like we were eating in someone’s backyard.

WHAT WE ATE: codfish salad served with bread + white wine

what to expect on Eating Europe's new Lisbon tour
what to expect on Eating Europe's new Lisbon tour

stop #3

Angola, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, São Tomé and Príncipe were once all colonies of Portugal. That history is highly visible in food that can be found at places like our third stop. For the third tasting, we hunkered down at a beautiful, albeit hidden, Mozambican restaurant with bright tablecloths decorating the dining area in an alleyway, set back against a neon yellow wall dotted with murals.

Of all the food I ate on my Lisbon tour, the chamuças at the third tasting of the day were my favourite. The Piri Piri dipping sauce reminded me of Laotian jeow. Most people steered away from it, but I unabashedly dunked mine right into the chili paste. The food was so good that we returned a few nights later for a final chamuças and beer in Lisbon.

WHAT WE ATE: Angolan beer + Mozambican chamuças

what to expect on Eating Europe's new Lisbon food tour
what to expect on Eating Europe's new Lisbon food tour
what to expect on Eating Europe's new Lisbon tour

STOP #4

The fourth stop of the day took our group to a small fado house for traditional Portuguese comfort foods. At this location, we sat at a long, wooden table {family-style} and munched on buttery mashed potatoes and slow-cooked red meat. This was by far the hardiest tasting we had. The mashed potatoes were divine— soft, smooth, and buttery.

A fado house music is an absolute institution in Portugal. It began in the 1820s in Lisbon, so there is no better place in the world to experience fado than in the capital city. The word for the emotion that fado evokes does not directly translate into English, however, its close to a feeling of nostalgia. No matter what mood you’re in, melancholic or otherwise, there’s no doubt that fado is deeply expressive. Having this comfort meal over the fado is as quintessentially Portuguese as it gets.

TIP: Make sure you check out the front door of this beautiful fado house and restaurant— it’s very photo-worthy!

WHAT WE ATE: slow roasted meat in a traditional Portuguese tomato sauce accompanied by mashed potatoes

what to expect on Eating Europe's new Lisbon tour

STOP #5

Near a beautiful lookout point, called a “miradouro” in Portuguese, is the pretty pink exterior of the fifth stop. Here, the interior felt slick. Even the slate dishes were were served with felt like a thoughtful design detail. The modern eatery is still dedicated to the tradition of Portuguese food, just with a bit of a sophisticated edge. For instance, as a nod to Portuguese folklore, the champagne glasses were not your typical flutes. It’s said that a former Portuguese queen had such a large nose she couldn’t properly drink from a champagne flute, thus this wider brimmed glass was invented.

Here, at our next-to-last tasting, I enjoyed a “peixinhos da horta”, which translates to “little fish from the garden”. A breaded and fried green bean that resembles a sardine, one of many things the Portuguese are known for, is served up next to fresh bread in olive oil with codfish pattée and an actual fried sardine. A wasabi mayonnaise is artfully dolloped on the black slab and the whole presentation culminates in new meeting old— traditional food displayed sleekly.

I was starting to really fill up after all the mashed potatoes I ate, but I could have had 100 more of those fried green beans. My penchant for salt was met happily without being overwhelming for those who aren’t sodium fanatics.

WHAT WE ATE: fried sardines, tempura green beans, + codfish patee on bread with sparkling white wine

what to expect on Eating Europe's new Lisbon food tour

STOP #6

Would a Portuguese food tour be complete without including the nation’s most famous pastry? No. No, it would not. And our food tour concluded with exactly that— a tasting at the bakery known for having the best pastel de nata {sometimes called pasteis de nata} in Lisbon! This location was buzzing. There was a literal line out the door of people wanting to try the flaky custard tart being carefully baked inside.

Pastel de natas were originally made by monks and nuns in nearby Belém. The clergy used egg whites to starch their robes. With an abundance of egg yolks on their hands and a sugar cane refinery in close proximity, these delicious pastries were born. You can find them on just about every street in Lisbon, but I suggest having them as the locals do: fresh from an oven with sprinkled cinnamon on top.

WHAT WE ATE: pastel de nata

BOOKING YOUR TOUR

You can book your tour of Lisbon with Eating Europe on their website here. To receive 10% your tour booking, use the code “Beatriz”.


Disclaimer: I was a guest of Eating Europe, but, as always, all my opinions are my own and my experience is expressed authentically. 


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what to expect on Eating Europe's new Lisbon food tour
what to expect on Eating Europe's new Lisbon food tour