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How to stay warm in Portugal this winter – Foodies edition

How to stay warm in Portugal this winter


Many travelers come to Lisbon attracted by the sunny weather and temperate climate. Even though temperatures are fairly moderate all year long, especially when compared to other European capitals, it does get a little cold during the winter.

If you were to ask us, we’d say that there’s no ideal time to visit Lisbon, as the city has plenty to offer no matter when you decide to visit. But, if the days are particularly chilly or rainy, you may want to look into activities which guarantee you to stay dry, warm and cozy. Luckily for you, we’ve compiled some of the best things to do during the winter in Lisbon, with special focus on the tastier side of life.


If you travel to Lisbon during winter, learn how to stay warm as a true gourmand would do


Walk around with a cone of roasted chestnuts in hand

How to stay warm in Portugal this winter

Walking is one of the best ways to explore Lisbon. As always, we recommend comfortable shoes as not only does Lisbon have a lot of steep hills, it’s also covered in irregular cobblestone streets, which are indeed very pretty to the eye, but can be quite tiring on the feet.

When autumn comes around, you’ll start noticing an unmistakable scent in the air. Street vendors set up carts with moving stoves where they cook chestnuts, whose nutty taste gets enhanced by the charcoal and just a pinch of salt. Walking around with a paper cone full of fresh from the oven roasted chestnuts is one of the greatest ways to warm up as you explore the central parts of our city. Roasted chestnuts, known in Portuguese as castanhas assadas, are a seasonal treat only found during the fall and winter, and they’re usually sold by the dozen (dúzia) or half dozen (meia dúzia).


Instead of drinking coffee, ask for “café com cheirinho

How to stay warm in Portugal this winter

Hot beverages are a great way to warm up from the inside. You may like tea (such as the vibrant green tea from the Azores islands), hot chocolate or coffee. You can experience Lisbon’s coffee scene like most of us do all year round or, for a special winter kick, skip your usual order and ask for a café com cheirinho.

What is that, you may be wondering? “Coffee with a little scent” stands for a regular Portuguese espresso coffee spiked with alcohol, usually brandy, Portuguese aguardente or bagaço. Note that this isn’t something we’d normally ask for first thing in the morning: no one goes around drinking a café com cheirinho along with their morning pastel de nata! Insead, café com cheirinho is usually enjoyed after a meal, as it acts as a coffee and digestive all into one.


Load yourself with calories eating cozido à Portuguesa and other classics of Portuguese comfort food

How to stay warm in Portugal this winter

Cozido à Portuguesa is, according to us, Portugal’s national dish. Not only that, it is also one of those perfect winter dishes which packs enough calories to keep you warm on a cold day. It’s comforting and it includes “a little bit of everything”, from several cuts of meat, to vegetables, carbs and legumes. Even though its preparation is fairly straightforward, it includes so many ingredients that cozido isn’t the type of dish most restaurants include on their menu everyday. Most commonly you’ll find it on Wednesdays but if you keep an eye on the menus which local tascas and straightforward eateries which serve daily specials announce on their windowshops, you may come across it on other days of the week too.

Besides cozido, the Portuguese repertoire of traditional dishes is full of hearty recipes which are perfect for winter. Feijoada, beans and meats stew; favas com entrecosto, fava beans and ribs stew; or rancho, a stew of meats, pasta and vegetables, are just some of them – but we have more mouth-watering and warming suggestions for you.

Great restaurants in Lisbon to eat cozido and other traditional Portuguese stews include:

Chiringuito Lisboa

📍R. Correia Teles 31, 1350-093 Lisbon

Solar dos Presuntos

📍Rua das Portas de Santo Antão 150, 1150-269 Lisbon

A Provinciana

📍Tv. do Forno 23, 1150-193 Lisbon

Adega da Tia Matilde

📍Rua da Beneficência 77, 1600-017 Lisbon

Tasquinha do Lagarto

📍Rua de Campolide 258, Lisbon

Rui do Barrote

📍Rua Castelo Branco Saraiva 95A, 1170-085 Lisbon


Skip the elevator and work up an appetite by climbing the stairs all the way up to a rooftop restaurant

How to stay warm in Portugal this winterWe could be suggesting several Portuguese dishes to warm you up this winter, but making your way to a given restaurant can also be a way to increase your heart rate and body temperature. Even though Lisbon’s rooftop bars and restaurants are more popular during the summer, there are stunning rooftop restaurants which are great for the winter too, as they offer indoor dining. Our favorite would probably be SUBA, which literally translates as “come up”. This is exactly what we’d like to suggest, that you go up to SUBA restaurant, never mind the elevator and climb the stairs of Hotel Verride Palácio de Santa Catarina. You’ll be rewarded with incredible views over Lisbon and across the Tagus river, but also well-executed cuisine. Besides an a la carte menu, SUBA also has three different tasting menus, crafted by chef Fábio Alves, who carefully takes Portuguese traditional cuisine and gives it an international contemporary twist.

Lisbon is known as the city of the seven hills, and we’re in love with viewpoints and everything that involves a vista. Of course, if it includes great food and drinks, we fall for it even more. That’s why there’s no shortage of good rooftop restaurants in Lisbon, usually a tad on the fancier side, focusing on Portuguese and international cuisines.

Some of our favorite rooftop restaurants to enjoy a meal in Lisbon during winter include:

SUBA Restaurante

📍Hotel Verride Palácio de Santa Catarina, Rua de Santa Catarina nº 1, 1200-401 Lisbon

Mensagem – Restaurante e Bar Panorâmico

📍Rua da Oliveira ao Carmo 8, 1200-309 Lisbon

SEEN Lisbon

📍Av. da Liberdade 185, 1250-147 Lisbon

Rossio Gastrobar

📍Rua 1º de Dezembro 118, 1200-360 Lisbon

Café Príncipe Real

📍Rua Dom Pedro V, 56 J, 1250-094 Lisbon


Take a cooking class and learn how to make warming Portuguese food

How to stay warm in Portugal this winterThere’s nothing like baking or being by the stove to warm up – and work up an appetite too! Cooking classes are a particularly great activity for rainy days, when exploring Lisbon on foot may not be so enticing. Instead of taking the risk of slipping on Lisbon’s famed cobblestone streets, book a cooking experience and learn how to prepare some of the most popular traditional Portuguese recipes. You could learn how to make petiscos, so that when you’re back home you can throw a tapas style party with your friends. You could also learn how to easily reproduce some of Portugal’s most popular dishes to feed your family. Or, if you have a pronounced sweet tooth, give in and take a baking class, where you’ll learn how to bake pastéis de nata, Portugal’s iconic custard tarts.

If you’d like to take an authentic cooking class in Lisbon, with real chefs who can break down the recipes for even home cooks with no prior experience to be able to follow along, ask us for more details.


Sit by the fireplace and sip a cocktail at Foxtrot bar

How to stay warm in Portugal this winterFoxtrot opened its door in the 70s and it’s a female run cocktail bar with one of the most unique vibes in Lisbon! Their menu of hand-crafted drinks is something rather unique and, as they themselves announce, this is “no place for ordinary cocktails”. As such, we invite you to browse the menu, perhaps select a cocktail you’ve never tried before, and sip it leisurely by the fireplace. If you are in good company and there’s good conversation, we’d say this is a nice and easy way to spend a pleasant couple of hours in Lisbon on a chilly evening.

Even if you don’t get a seat by the fire, Foxtrot’s art deco theme is inviting to lounge around and there are different areas whether you’d like to share a table with a group of friends or you prefer to snuggle with a date in a more intimate corner. Besides cocktails, Foxtrot serves meals (including bife à Foxtrot, a juicy steak with mushrooms and cream sauce, served with fries or a Portuguese style salad) until 3AM. So if the conversation is flowing but your belly is empty, there’s certainly no reason to call it a night around here.


📍Tv. Santa Teresa 28, 1200-405 Lisbon


Cozy up with dinner and a live fado show

How to stay warm in Portugal this winterAttending a live fado show is something you should do in Lisbon no matter what the time of the year. While during summer we prefer heading to bars where the fado show is a less formal experience, with a drink in hand and, sometimes, even standing, winter calls for something a little more elaborate. There are several establishments in Lisbon which organize dinner and a fado show, serving traditional Portuguese food and, in between courses and during dessert, where fado performers share with you the most nostalgic of Lisbon sounds.

Fado shows with dinner, which happen particularly around the areas of Alfama, Mouraria and Bairro Alto, aren’t the most affordable experience you ought to have in Lisbon. But it’s certainly something you can’t do anywhere else in the world, so we think it’s worth it. Especially if the place offers good quality food and music, which isn’t always the case considering that this is indeed an activity that a lot of tourists look for in Lisbon.

Do your research to understand how much you’re willing to spend, and consider our recommendations for the best places for dinner with live fado in Lisbon:

A Severa

📍Rua das Gáveas 51, 1200-206 Lisbon

Clube de Fado

📍Rua de São João da Praça 94, 1100-521 Lisbon

Parreirinha de Alfama

📍Beco do Espírito Santo 1, 1100-222 Lisbon

Sr. Vinho

📍Rua do Meio à Lapa 18, 1200-724 Lisbon

Mesa de Frades

📍Rua dos Remédios 139, 1100-304 Lisbon

Fama d’Alfama

📍Rua do Terreiro do Trigo 80, 1100-604 Lisbon


Put extra piri-piri sauce on your grilled chicken

How to stay warm in Portugal this winterWho needs indoor heating when you have capsaicin? We’re referring to the substance found on chili peppers, which stimulates the nerves on your body causing you to warm up. You know what this means when you’re traveling in Portugal, right? You must order piri-piri sauce with your meals.

Spicy piri-piri sauce (also known as peri-peri) is largely associated with grilled chicken, known in Portugal as frango de churrasco. But BBQ isn’t the only way you should be eating piri-piri sauce! If you are a fan of hot flavors, you can add it to other dishes too. We think a few drops work particularly well with our so-called naughty rices such as seafood rice (arroz de marisco), as the heat elevates the flavors without masking them. When you eat at a restaurant specializing in grills, a churrascaria or churrasqueira, chances are they’ll place piri-piri sauce on the table for you to add to your meats to taste. But know that, broadly speaking, you can always ask for this sauce at any Portuguese restaurant, specially at down-to-earth eateries and tascas, who often make their own piri-piri following different family recipes.


Do a wine tasting and keep trying new wines until your body temperature is nice and warm

How to stay warm in Portugal this winterAs if we needed a good excuse to embark on a journey to discover the many wines produced around Portugal, winter calls for us to be indoors for wine tastings. There are several vineyards you could visit fairly close to Lisbon, namely in the Lisbon, Tejo, and Península de Setúbal wine regions. There you’ll be able to taste a variety of table wines, as well as some of Portugal’s most famed fortified wines, besides Port.

Even though vineyards tend to be more interesting places to visit in summer or late summer, when the wine harvest takes place, even during winter there are indoor tasting rooms and cellars where you’ll learn more about the wine making process. Without leaving the center of Lisbon, you could also enjoy nice wine tastings joining an organized experience with an expert (ask us more via Instagram!), visiting one of Lisbon’s best wine bars, or simply grabbings a few bottles at specialized stores such as Garrafeira Nacional (Rua de Santa Justa 18) downtown, and going back to your accommodation to sip the evening away.


Also, anytime is a good time for a sour cherry liqueur, aka ginjinha

How to stay warm in Portugal this winterAs the title clearly says, Portuguese sour cherry liqueur can be enjoyed any time of the day. You will find many establishments around Lisbon dedicated to ginjinha, particularly concentrated in the center, in areas like Rossio and Restauradores. Ginjinha bars are tiny and their offerings are limited: some of them don’t really have anything except this drink! They usually feature an old-school looking bar counter and no seating, implying that these are the kind of places you go to for a quick visit, to grab a drink while at the counter itself, or perhaps by the entrance while chatting with other customers.

Ginjinha can be enjoyed straight up (sem ginja) or with a cherry served inside the glass along with the liqueur (com ginja). Keep in mind that the fruit is tiny but it absorbs quite a lot of alcohol. This is exactly why we’re including ginjinha as a tool to fight Lisbon’s cold winter days, because this sour cherry liqueur is sweet and smooth to the palate, but its alcohol content easily goes up to 23%.


Go to DAMAS and dance the night away. But first, have dinner.

How to stay warm in Portugal this winterThere aren’t that many places in Lisbon that double as restaurants and nightlife venues. DAMAS is a popular concert and cultural venue, which also includes a restaurant. The space in the neighborhood of Graça is ideal for those nights when you feel like seeing a band or DJ perform live, but would like to grab a bite to eat first. Of course you could always go for dinner at a different establishment and then come here for the music, but if the night is particularly unpleasant outdoors, it can certainly make things easier and more pleasant to do everything under the same roof.

The menu at DAMAS keeps changing, focusing on a few daily specials, including vegetarian and vegan options, which they announce written with a marker on the white tiled wall. It’s rather fit that DAMAS serves food, as this space used to be a bakery back in the day. Now, you can come here for Portuguese petiscos with a twist, but also for alternative music – how cool is that?


📍Rua da Voz do Operário 60, 1170-039 Lisbon


Eat caldo verde soup after enjoying Lisbon’s nightlife

How to stay warm in Portugal this winter If you go out drinking or even clubbing in Lisbon, even if you had a good dinner, chances are you might feel peckish as the night blends into the morning. If, like us, you’re not able to get a good night’s sleep if you feel hungry, we recommend going to eat Lisbon’s ultimate late night snack: caldo verde and chorizo bread. Along Av. 24 de Julho, close enough to Lisbon’s hottest nightlife spots, you’ll find A Merendeira, an iconic Lisbon establishment which is open almost 24/7.

Whether it’s midnight or 4 AM, A Merendeira serves comforting bowls of caldo verde, a typical Portuguese soup of shredded collard greens swimming in a thick potato and onion puree. Caldo verde is customarily served with a slice of chouriço, the same kind of paprika infused cured sausage you’ll find inside the buns which are here baked in a wood oven, all as per the good ol’ traditions of Portuguese cuisine. Trust us when we say that, after eating this you’ll sleep great, and perhaps even better if you finish your late night snack with a sweet rice pudding (arroz doce) topped with cinnamon.

A Merendeira

📍Av. 24 de Julho 54, 1200-657 Lisbon


Can you think of any other creative ideas to stay warm in Lisbon this winter? Share them with us on Instagram, where we’re always so happy to hear from you and check the photos you tag using @tasteoflisboa or #tasteoflisboa


Feed your curiosity on Portuguese food culture:

Itinerary for the perfect weekend in Lisbon

Best things to do in Lisbon when it rains

Homestyle Portuguese food for the winter

Accessible Lisbon: tips for travelers with reduced mobility


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