- Culinary walks
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The oldest city in Western Europe, once the hub of a trading empire that connected Macau in the east to Rio de Janeiro in the west, Lisbon today feels staunchly Old World European, a sleepy town of nostalgic storefronts and scenic churches.But that’s only its façade. Take a closer look and you’ll discover a city that still maintains deep-rooted links around the world – just consider the local obsession with African piri piri sauce – and that is a vital and cutting-edge place, with packed restaurants and bar-lined streets. On this day-long tour off of the beaten track, with about a dozen different stops, we will explore the hilly backstreets of this enchanting city in a delicious attempt to unravel the complex identity of Lisbon and its inhabitants, the Lisboetas.
We’ll start by traveling back in time for a taste of the “Age of Exploration,” a golden period when Lisbon became the center of a global empire, awash in power and holding the keys to the spice trade. We’ll search for a taste of those distant roots in the simple offerings of a classic pastry shop beside the 18th-century Estrela Basilica.
From there we’ll make our way up to the out-of-the-way Campo de Ourique neighborhood, where our story leaps to contemporary times in this well-preserved “village” in the city. We’ll have a belly-warming shot a shot of ginjinha, a smooth, sour-cherry liqueur that is a traditional local eye-opener, on our way to one of Lisbon’s finest traditional markets. There we will explore the old artisans – fishmongers, butchers, greengrocers, bakers – working alongside more modern, boutique offerings recently added to the market.
We will then visit one of the neighborhood’s favorite lunch spots, where we will start our lunch with a variety of traditional legume salads, octopus and chickpeas with that Portuguese staple, bacalhau, salt cod. We’ll then head over to a local institution for the famous piri piri chicken prepared over a charcoal pit by a grillmaster who learned his skills in Angola. We’ll visit a private club with a very unique story and that serves a mean vindalho (a meat dish that’s the Portuguese ancestor of Goan vindaloo). Along the way there will also be a tasting of signature Portuguese cheeses and wines. We’ll sample savory pastries at a historic bakery, a spot as beautiful as the pastries are delicious. Finally, no day in Lisbon would be complete without a pastel de nata, the famous local custard tart, with a stop at a tiny neighborhood shop that serves one of the city’s best. In this day-long feast, we’ll taste some of the most diverse bites of Lisbon’s gastronomy and meet the people behind them. By hearing their stories, we’ll locate that sweet spot where past and present, near and far, meet and become deliciously entwined.
What is included in the fee?
In addition to your Culinary Backstreets guide, all food consumed on the walk – almost 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.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 firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your situation before booking.
Are your walks suitable for vegetarians and pescetarians?
We can accommodate pescaterians and vegeterians on this walk, however, many of the Portugese classics contain meat or seafood and they will have to skip the main dishes at 2 stops. 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 6 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 9 and 12 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.
“Exploring Lisbon’s blooming foodie scene with Celia should be on every visitor’s list.” Annie Fitzsimmons, Intelligent Travel, National Geographic
“Portuguese feast: humor filled Eat Portugal tour leads visitors to Lisbon’s greatest tastes” 101 Reasons To Travel Now, National Geographic
“Taste of Lisbon: classic dishes and culinary surprises on a foodie tour” Isabel Choat, The Guardian
“A good value, informative and tasty” Rick Steves, Portugal Guidebook
As well as being a well-established foodie, Celia knows the city intimately so who better to lead the way to Lisbon’s gastronomic highlights? Over the course of six hours, she took us to some of the city’s oldest grocery stores, backstreet tascas, fancy restaurants and trendy food halls. Read more
She took us round the kind of back street spots you might read about if you researched hard enough, but probably still wouldn’t have the tenacity or conviction to head to on your own. Read more