In 2021 photographer–writer Stephanie Madeira moved from Toronto to Lisbon, where she finds new inspiration in the vibrant city life and revels in exploring her Portuguese heritage. “The sun shines on Lisbon for more than 300 days a year, and the city is bursting with restaurants and lively markets, and locals and ex–pats alike invite travellers to partake in a growing sense of community.”
Dig into local flavours and a burgeoning wine scene in the Portuguese capital.
Senhor Uva — Lapa
The window reads “Veggies & Wines,” and that’s the mantra of this hidden gem, tucked away on a Lisbon residential street. At Senhor Uva, Canadian chef Stéphanie Audet is elevating veggies to create original and flavourful dishes in an intimate yet vibrant space. It’s both a local favourite and a natural wine lover’s dream, with a list that features many up–and–coming Portuguese winemakers – try Filipa Pato’s fresh and floral 3B Rosé to start, then let the sommelier handle the rest. If the dining room is full, try little brother Senhor Manuel just across the street.
A Vida Portuguesa
A Vida Portuguesa — Locations in Chiado, Anjos and Cais do Sodré
This charming shop is known for highlighting the quality of Portuguese handcrafted goods and food products. In a space with high ceilings and wooden glass cabinets, what’s on offer are more than just souvenirs, but rather pieces of Portuguese tradition. With a variety of artisanal goods from soaps to handmade textiles selected based on niche practices from different regions, my favourite piece is Andorinha, a ceramic swallow. Designed to appear soaring along the wall, it symbolizes the longing for home – a lovely addition to any nest.
Flores da Pampa
Flores da Pampa — Mercês
This multilevel music venue and restaurant feels like a tribute to the 1970s with colourful artworks, records and greenery at every turn. It’s a great bet for a night out in Lisbon, and has a laid–back atmosphere complemented by soul food with Portuguese flavours, live music and natural wines. Groups of locals come to share stories and bottles while drinking in the live music, which can range from African strings to jazzy jams. The venue is also dog–friendly, which adds to the hangout’s electric energy.
Mercado de Produtores
Mercado de Produtores by Comida Independente — Cais do Sodré
Saturday mornings in Lisbon are reserved for markets, when vendors pop up in parks and squares throughout the city with an abundance of fresh produce from the surrounding region. The Mercado de Produtores, started by the owner of an upscale grocer and wine shop, stands out from the rest. A collaboration of chefs offering dumplings to tacos, cheese vendors, florists and bakers, the market celebrates outstanding Portuguese produce and products. Be sure to meet Glediston at Deusa for a dangerous hot sauce tasting before you leave.
Taberna da Rua das Flores
Taberna da Rua das Flores — Chiado
Once a local secret, this spot will make you work for its affection: With a line up the street, the first seating fills up quickly. But few who experience a meal at Taberna can avoid spilling the beans. Inside, Chef André Magalhães brings Japanese influence to locally sourced Portuguese ingredients, as servers describe each dish from the continuously evolving menu. I suggest focusing on the seafood side of the menu and to order their staple, bacalhau.