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Lisbon Eats: The Culinary Backstreets Essentials

$95 US/person; $110 US/person on weekends
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  • Fee includes everything consumed on the walk
  • Group Size: 2-7
  • Start/End: 10:30am-2:00pm; 11am – 1:30pm and 5:00pm-8:30pm Sundays
  • Duration: about 3.5 hours

Blessed with some of the world’s best fish and seafood off the coast and the bounty of rich farmland inland, the Portuguese are spoilt for choice of great culinary resources. The cuisine of Lisbon, which draws from a diverse range of influences hinting at Portugal’s glorious trading past, is always based on the simple principal of supreme ingredients and a simple preparation that allows those ingredients to shine. On this half-day tour, we set out to find some of the best examples of local cuisine that Lisbon has to offer.

Our walk will begin at Lisbon’s greatest market, the Mercado da Ribeira, with a crash course in the building blocks of Portuguese cuisine. Visiting some of the market’s old-time fishmongers, produce sellers and butchers, we will explore the roots of Portuguese cuisine and then, in the market’s bustling central hall, sample some of the “fruits” of these ingredients, tasting rustic cheeses, top quality cured ham made from acorn-fed black hoofed pigs unique to the Iberian Peninsula, artisanal breads and local olive oils.

We’ll then set out to visit some of the time-honored establishments in the neighborhoods around the market. We’ll go for traditional savory pastries on the rooftop canteen of a nunnery. We’ll stop into an old, family-run grocery to try some top shelf tinned sardines – unlike any canned seafood you may have had before, this is superb – accompanied by a glass of vinho verde, the unique effervescent white wine from Northern Portugal.

At our next stop, the reincarnation of an old neighborhood institution that Lisboetas – as Lisbon’s residents are known – have been flocking to for generations, we’ll try the restaurant’s locally renowned cod fritters along with other meaty house specialties, paired with the distinct red wine from Alentejo. From there we will end the day on a sweet note, stopping in a local pastelaria for traditional pastries, before finishing with a few sips of ginjinha, a sour cherry liqueur beloved by locals and whose sweet flavor is yet another essential element that defines Lisbon’s culinary identity.

What is included in the fee?

In addition to your Culinary Backstreets guide, all food consumed on the walk – more than half a dozen different edible specialties – are included in the price.  A limited selection of alcohol is served on the walks and is included in the price.

Why is the Culinary Backstreet tour more expensive than some other walking tours?

Our approach is different than most tour companies. Each of our culinary walks is the outcome of considerable research. We work with academics in the field and our own team of experienced professionals – both guides and local journalists. Our ongoing publishing of articles, from restaurant reviews to features about the intersection of food and culture, constantly feeds new material into the culinary walks, so they evolve and constantly improve. Though costly, we believe that this is how to create the quality experiences we strive for.

We practice honest tourism  and would never accept a free lunch or any sort of commission. On the contrary, we are proud to know that the money spent during the culinary walk goes to support businesses that we believe in, helping to preserve the social and cultural fabric of the cities we love so dearly.

How does the payment process work?

Once you have made a reservation, we require the full fee to be paid in order to complete the online booking.   Your card will not be charged until the booking is accepted.  Our online booking system uses Stripe to process secure payments.

What is your cancellation policy?

100% will be refunded if given 1 week notice prior to walk and 50% will be refunded if given 72 hours notice or more.

Are your walks public or private? How many people are on them?

Our walks are 2-7 people and are open to the public. If you would like to do a private walk, we may be able to arrange one for an additional fee. Please contact us at walks@culinarybackstreets.com for more information.

Can I get a discount if I join more than one walk?

Yes, we offer a 10% discount to those who join more than one walk. Please email us at walks@culinarybackstreets.com if you’d like to join multiple walks.

Are your walks suitable for people with food allergies?

This can vary based on a number of factors, including the food item in question. Please email us at walks@culinarybackstreets.com to discuss your situation before booking.

Are your walks suitable for vegetarians and pescetarians?

Pescetarians will be very comfortable with the exception of one stop.  We can also accommodate vegeterians on this walk, however, many of the Portugese classics contain meat or seafood.  Please note all dietary restrictions during booking so that your guide can prepare accordingly.

Are your walks suitable for a gluten-free diet?

This walk can be altered for gluten-free diets.  Please note all dietary restrictions during booking so that your guide can prepare accordingly.

How physically demanding are the walks?

The walk covers a few kilometers of fairly flat terrain, broken up into almost a dozen stops over almost 3.5 hours. Please note that Lisbon does have many hills and the streets and sidewalks of Lisbon can be cobbelstone, therefore, we do recommend wearing comfortable walking shoes.

Can children join the walks?

Of course! We offer a 50% discount to children ages 12 and under, and we do not charge for children under the ages 6 and under.

Can you pick me up from my hotel? How will I return, once the tour is over?

Our tour prices don’t include transportation. If you book a tour, you’re responsible for arriving to the pre-arranged meeting spot on your own.

Once the tour is over, we will help you get an authorized, safe taxi to your hotel, or provide directions on public transportation, if you’re interested in that.

How much food will I get to try?

This is really up to you. We generally make between 4 and 6 eating stops on our walk and try to include some breaks from eating along the way. The price includes as much food as you’re open to trying. We offer a suggested portion size at each stop and you can take our recommendation if you’d like. Our walks often involve street food and sharing food.

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