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Inside Lisbon’s Incredible Mercado da Ribiera

I have seen heaven, and it is a food market in Lisbon.

Imagine: a vast cafeteria, the size of a football field, serving up nothing but unique local food items at affordable prices. Imagine most of the vendors here speak English, for ease of ordering, and you can just wander from stall to stall sampling all kinds of dishes.

The Mercado da Ribiera is the answer to your local food hunting dreams. The market itself has roots daying back to the 12th century, and has long been Lisbon’s central market. The current building was erected in 1892, and in 2010 Time Out Magazine bought out the rights to manage the main food hall, and turned it into a food court for foodies.

Each wall of the massive marketplace is lined with shop fronts serving up different kinds of food. There are your typical food court type items: hamburgers, sushi, ice cream, along with Portuguese specialties like steak sandwiches, local cheeses and all kinds of seafood. You can try traditional Portuguese foods alongside local ingredients served with a modern twist.

One wall has several wine bars serving neat little petiscos (the portuguese version of tapas). Another wall was devoted to upscale offerings from 5 famous Lisbon-based chefs. In the center are the beverages: a smoothie bar, a beer stand, a gin and tonic booth and more. There are plentiful huge wooden tables and benches to sit and enjoy your finds. Tourists and locals, couples and families all eat together.

You won’t be surprised to know that Mike basically had to drag me out of this place. I begged t come back the next day and eat more. I could have spent full days trying everything on the various menus and asking pointed questions about ingredients I didn’t recognize. Obviously it doesn’t replace the little hole in the wall spots and sunny cafes, but I can’t think of a better way to introduce yourself to Portuguese cuisine and try some famous dishes on a budget.

What we Ate:

Portuguese sausage and pineapple kebabs

Tempura green beans with a mustard based dipping sauce

Seared padron peppers with sea salt

Piri piri chicken

 

Fried bacalhau

Ginja: wild cherry liquor

Roasted tomato and pepper tiborna

Hazelnut meringue tort

ice cream because obviously

Some Tips for Visiting:

Massive gin and tonic

  • This goes without saying I think, but come hungry!
  • This is a great place to try local drink specialties like ginja (wild cherry liquor) at Casa da Ginja and port wine.
  • The Market is open Sun-Wed: 10am- 12 am, Thurs-Fri: 10 am- 2 am
  • The market gets exceptionally crowded after 8 or so, so visit earlier in the evening or even for lunch.

9 Responses to Inside Lisbon’s Incredible Mercado da Ribiera

  1. Dorothea July 20, 2015 at 9:47 AM #

    An amazing place! We went here on our first day in Lisbon, after we failed picking one restaurant from the street (because all were amazing). The thing I liked most is that at Mercado da Ribeira you can combine the foods from different shops and that way taste more dishes. And it’s not that expensive either. 🙂

  2. Deepti July 20, 2015 at 9:56 PM #

    I was just in Lisbon a month ago — I’m kicking myself for not knowing about this place. It looks like the stuff of dreams. I’m going again next year so I’ll make sure to check it out then. Thanks for the tip and the great pictures!!!!I miss piri piri chicken so much…

  3. Lauren Meshkin @BonVoyageLauren July 20, 2015 at 10:02 PM #

    Omg that tort. Honestly, everything looks amazing. I must visit Portugal. Thanks for sharing!

    Happy travels 🙂

  4. Emma_Inks July 21, 2015 at 6:04 AM #

    This place reminds me so much of the Mathallen Food Hall in Oslo which I loved. I only had one day to rush around Lisbon when I visited which unfortunately meant I missed out on this wonderful market, I think I may need to take another trip to Portugal!

  5. Kieu July 22, 2015 at 1:26 AM #

    LOVE and miss this place. Looks like you went on a light day — it was super crowded when we were there in May.

  6. Sofia July 22, 2015 at 10:27 PM #

    Falling for this very lovely place, one of the loveliest spots I’ve been at is so easy.. as easy as one, two, three, eat! 😀

  7. Amber July 27, 2015 at 4:45 AM #

    We just went here for the first time during our last visit to Lisbon, and we will be sure to return next month!

  8. July GadabotJ August 2, 2015 at 1:43 PM #

    Oh what’s a pitty I didn’t find this post before my travel to Lisbon. All food look so tasty! So now I have a reason to come back to this amazing city!

  9. R!go September 22, 2015 at 7:39 PM #

    Thank you! I will enjoy a few days in Lisbon this November 🙂

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