Ten thousand square feet. Tens of restaurants. Famous and award-winning chefs. The Time Out Market can be quite a challenge for the indecisive. If this is your first trip and you still don't have a favourite spot (or if you have been to several stalls in the food hall, but like to try new things), take our tips. Here are 21 dishes you absolutely must try at the Time Out Market, from soups and appetizers to desserts, including traditional Portuguese and international entrées.
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21 dishes you need to try at the Time Out Market Lisboa
Vítor Sobral and his team set up shop in the Time Out Market in the summer of 2016. He then launched a menu full of entrées and snacks, including this roast pork sandwich, made of bísaro pork, which constantly spins on a rôtisseur. The pork is sliced and comes with tomato, arugula, purple onions and a mustard emulsion.
You don't mess with perfection. And the Porto-born chef's cod à lá Brás is such a classic, it could feature in any compendium of Portuguese cuisine. He cooks it with hand-cut French fries, well shredded cod and onions. The end result is creamy, with a chef's touch at the end: some of the egg yolks are only added just before the dish is served.
Beyond some great puntillitas, Berlengas islands gooseneck barnacles or a crab steak, the market's shellfish restaurant has a winning dish. It is known as the soft-shelled crab; you eat it whole and leave nothing on the plate (not even the legs). It comes to the table after being breaded with corn flour and fried; it is served with tartar sauce and sprinkled with lemon drops.
Scrambled, sunny-side up, hot, Benedict, poached: Lisboners are used to finding all kinds of egg concoctions in the city's restaurants, but this dish by chef Sá Pessoa presents them in a particular way - one you probably can't copy at home, unless you own the right machinery. The egg is cooked at 64 degrees centigrade, and comes with an excellent truffle purée, green asparagus and ham slices.
While the city is becoming more and more interested in Asian culture, it is still difficult to find some good pad thai. At Time Out Market, Asian Lab's chef Daniel Rente prepares a fine version of this Thai dish. The main part of the dish is made of dried rice noodles, eggs, tofu, tamarind sauce and fried almonds; you can top that with shrimp, chicken or vegetables. Just pick one of the three.
Price: €8.50 (veggie), €9 (chicken), €11 (shrimp)
The most expensive item in this list (perhaps in the entire market food hall), but we're talking about a sirloin steak averaging 190 grams, served in a sauce made of butter, cream (by legendary Portuguese brand Long Vida), fleur de sel and black pepper. Only a few ingredients, but there's a science about mixing them, searing the meat (lightly, you're supposed to eat it rare) and using the beef's juices. But that is why it has been a city classic for 35 years.
The full name is roast octopus with black tapioca and smoked duck and it is, clearly, part of the surf & turf concept behind every dish served by chef Kiko Martins at the Ribeira Market. This is one of the menu's highlights; but all of the offerings are based on that mix of land and sea. All of them? Yes, for instance a dessert with fruit and seaweed, prepared with guava foam and yuzu cream.
Manteigaria Silva's window display of cheese and sausage will do for a snack-loving adult what a well-stocked toy store would do to a child: you will be overwhelmed by the sight, and may wish to take everything home. You can order individual servings of each cheese or sausage, or try one of their famous figs and ham platters (when in season), or just make life easy and order the mixed board, with two of three cheeses (sheep, goat or cow), a special ham and plain and toasted bread and cornbread.
It might be easier to recommend the infallible hot Philadelphia rolls, the legendary gyoza or the colourful 7-herb carpaccio. But we will instead go for a dish that already entered the Lisbon lexicon, which is prepared here with quality (i.e., with very fresh fish). The tuna tataki is braised with sesame seeds and comes in a teriyaki sauce. There's also a salmon version.
The market's three croquetteers (indulge us and pretend there's such a word) expanded the traditional Portuguese croquette family and gave it a few brothers, including cuttlefish, chicken and "farinheira" sausage varieties. And they are all great. But, at the end of the day, the best one is the traditional meat croquette, with a flavourful filling (stewed with onions, celery, chorizo, garlic and bay leaf); it is served with homemade mustard.
You can hear cabs honking, the number 28 tram chugging and young people yapping by the statue in the famous Camões Square, in central Lisbon. In recent years, a new sound joined that symphony, a sound that signifies sweetness. It's the Manteigaria bell, rung every time a new batch is out of the oven. The store has some of Lisbon's best "pastéis de nata", which they brought to the Ribeira Market. The secret in their custard pies, they claim, is in the artisanal production and the quality of the ingredients - whole eggs, butter (not margarine) and sugar.
If you have been dreaming of fresh salads, skip to the next story. If you want to try an original salad, prepared by one of the women who best master traditional Algarve cuisine, then read on. This is a warm sweet potato salad - sweet potatoes are one of Susana Felicidade's favourite ingredients - with mushrooms, buckwheat, poached bio eggs and roasted peppers.
Marlene Vieira's Time Out menu has five different rice dishes, and they are all worth trying. We picked this one, but not randomly. The recipe is similar to a traditional clam dish, with coriander and lemon, and slices of pink swordfish on top. It's a chef's signature dish, for sure.
Since summer 2014, the Ribeira tartar stall offers an Asian flavoured tartar. It entered the menu as a "tartar of the month", devised by Austrian chef Peter Schachermayer, and then became a staple. The topside beef comes with candied shiitake mushrooms, a daikon (Japanese radish) pickle, peas breaded with wasabi, fresh foie gras and dashi sauce, among other Asian-inspired dressings.
Price: from €12.50
The genesis of a great part of Sea Me's menu is the link between Japan and Portugal. One such item is a snack both delicious and addictive. The roasted sardine nigiri is prepared with traditional sushi rice and longitudinally cut sardine fillets, topped with fleur de sel. To copy the recipe at home, you just need to own a blowtorch... yes, that's right, a blowtorch. Oh, and you better know a little bit about Japanese cuisine. You might as well save yourself some trouble and head to the Time Out Market.
Lisbon knows by heart the story of the seafood restaurant whose most popular dish turned out to be a "prego" beef steak served on "bolo do caco" bread. That dish was so successful that it resulted in the creation of Prego da Peixaria ("Fishstore Steak"). Less well known is that the menu has been reshuffled and, at the market, you may choose several steak cuts on bread or on a plate, according to different recipes (i.e., different ingredients). The highlight, however, is still the Dandy, with rump steak on "bolo do caco" bread, topped with Ilha cheese, onions and iceberg lettuce.
You don't have to travel north to enjoy Almeirim's traditional "sopa da pedra" ("stone soup"). At Crème de la Crème, Time Out Market's soup Mecca, this classic is faithfully reproduced. The recipe has cabbage, beans, carrots, beef, several types of sausage and additional seasoning. Needless to say, it is a meal by itself.
This is, to be perfectly clear, a chocolate bomb, prepared by a Cuban woman who lives in Lisbon. To let you know what's in store for you, here are the basics of the cake. The dough is composed of ice cream cone wafer and chocolate biscuit; the filling has a 54% Callebaut chocolate mousse and a caramel mix; the icing is 100% Callebaut chocolate; and on top of all that there can also be bonbons, candied almonds, chocolate or cookie bits. Yes, it is to drool for.
Price: €4.75 (slice)
A classic of Manuela Brandão's cuisine, lamb chops have been a part of the Pap'Açorda menu for 35 years. You can order them breaded or grilled but, just between us, the former is much better. They're seasoned with garlic, lemon juice and salt, breaded and coated in really thin breadcrumbs. They are usually served with spinach purée and fries, but the side dishes can vary.
Exclusively produced for the Market, the piglet belly confit is a mainstay of chef Alexandre Silva's stall since opening day. The pork is cooked in the oven for four and a half hours, then served with teriyaki sauce with a side of pea purée (which also includes potatoes) and pak choi cabbage.
Apologies to strawberry, which held on for so many years as the poster flavour of the historic Santini ice cream parlour (open since 1941). Apologies to you too, cream, and your many fans in Lisbon and elsewhere. Oh melon, people dream about the warm weather just to see you parade through the city. As for you, egg candy with pine nuts, congratulations - you're still a rookie but you already go around breaking hearts. But this time, the chosen one is you, coconut. You're fresh, you're a faithful reproduction of your heritage and you go well with any of your brethren. But you have a lot of competition, so keep your eyes peeled.
Price: from €2.90
The essentials for your trip to Lisbon
With its world-class restaurants, excelling in seafood, its reputation for style and long pedigree in art and culture, Portugal’s first city remains high on every discerning weekend-breaker’s hit-list. Want to know what to do in Lisbon? Whether you're just spending 48 hours in Lisbon or want to sample the best Lisbon restaurants on a longer stay here you’ll find the top Lisbon attractions, along with some insider tips on the essential things to see that many visitors miss.
Warning: this list is bound to grow, Lisbon being one of the best cities in the world. So don’t approach the sights listed below as a definitive guide, but rather as a taste of everything Lisbon has to offer, including the activities that are excluded from our recommendations (for now). Wear comfortable trousers and go from there.