The most iconic traditional grocery stores in Lisbon
Christmas is around the corner and while Santa may have something different in mind for everyone, we’re the kind of people who’d always hope for edible gifts! We have a feeling we’re not the only ones…
Whether you’re shopping for someone special or, very rightfully so, browsing for your own delight, we’d love to recommend you some of the most traditional grocery stores in Lisbon. These are businesses that are an integral part of the history of our city, and that can be tasted and sipped with each visit. Some of them are even protected under the municipal program Lojas Com História, which aims to secure businesses that are a part of our cultural heritage. Furthermore, the British newspaper Financial Times has highlighted two of the stores below, Manteigaria Silva and Manuel Tavares, as two of the 50 best food stores in the world!
When you shop at the grocery stores we recommend here, you can be assured that your money goes directly into the local economy, supporting small producers, keeping unique food and wine businesses alive and, thus, ultimately contributing to the uniqueness of Portugal’s food and wine scene.
When you book our Lisbon Roots, Food and Cultural Walk, this is one of the places we visit to introduce you to the Portuguese flavors and food staples, and for a memorable tasting. Even if you come here with us, Manteigaria Silva is the kind of place we’d strongly suggest you return to with more time to explore their excellent offering of products from around the country. Manteigaria Silva specializes in some of the best things which are produced in Portugal, such as salted cod, cheese, charcuterie and wine. Besides these highlighted products, they also carry a careful selection of national dried fruits, preserves, fruit jams, sauces & spices, and hard to resist gift packs with a mix of all of these items. Everything you will come across at Manteigaria Silva is of the highest quality.
This may not be the kind of grocery where locals head to on a weekly basis for their regular shopping, but it’s indeed the type of business you can rely on when you’re seeking something exceptional and you’re willing to pay a little extra for it. Think fresh butter from a small dairy producer from the Azores islands, cured meats from the Beira Interior region of Portugal, olive oil of the highest quality, tea produced in Portugal itself, and more!
Manteigaria Silva opened its doors in 1890. Back then, the business was divided into two sections. The bacalhoaria, selling exclusively salted cod, and the manteigaria, for fresh dairy products. This explains the name of the store and the configuration of the space to this day, which is still divided between a fragrant area for cod and a more general grocery shop, where the counter full of cheeses and charcuterie takes the centre stage, as cured hams hang from the ceiling.
The offering of some of the best food products you find in Portugal along with the welcoming and knowledgeable staff makes shopping at Manteigaria Silva a tantalizing experience. For a more convenient approach, you can also browse Manteigaria Silva’s online shop, which delivers across Portugal.
📍Manteigaria Silva’s original store in Rossio: Rua Dom Antão De Almada 1 C/D, 1100-197 Lisbon
Pérola do Arsenal
Established in 1952, Pérola do Arsenal is considered an icon of traditional grocery stores in Lisbon and, among its peers, the one with a more distinctly African flair! While many tourists visit this gem in Rua do Arsenal, a rather touristic street connecting Praça do Comércio and Cais do Sodré, to purchase wines and canned goods, Pérola do Arsenal still caters mostly to locals. They come to this long-established shop to purchase ingredients that are hard to come by in regular stores, such as dried fish, unique vegetables, spices in bulk and specific flours used in African cuisines such as fubá, a thin corn flour for example used in Cape Verdean cuisine.
Pérola do Arsenal is also popular amongst those who prefer to have a knowledgeable bacalhau vendor helping them select a good piece of salted cod fish, which is cut on the spot at the store, at a marble bench with a huge knife. Here you can purchase salted cod from Iceland or Norway, full or by the cut, including cod loin, tails, cheeks and other specific parts which are still used in traditional Portuguese stews.
It’s easy to get lost amongst Pérola do Arsenal’s many delectable offerings, which also extend to wines. If you come across ingredients which you aren’t used to, the cordial staff will be happy to advise you on how to cook with them, and this may just turn your visit to the grocery store into a real culinary adventure!
📍Rua do Arsenal 94, 1100-040 Lisbon
If you could only visit one place to purchase the foods and drinks that are usually included in the Portuguese Christmas table, you could head to Manuel Tavares and take care of everything! Founded in 1860, Manuel Tavares functions as a wine cellar and fine grocery store, specializing in regional cheeses, charcuterie, fancy confections and a comprehensive selection of Portuguese nuts and dried fruits.
As you walk around the Rossio square, in Lisbon Downtown, just between the northern end of the touristic Rua Augusta and the iconic pastry shop Confeitaria Nacional, is where the Manuel Tavares is located. The window shop of Manuel Tavares is bound to catch your attention. The Portuguese sausages on display will make you want to step into the store to smell the smokiness of the meats from up close. As the Financial Times recommends “do not leave Manuel Tavares without trying the cured ham from Barrancos”!
📍Rua da Betesga 1AB, 1100-090 Lisbon
Pérola de São Mamede
If besides food you’re into vintage environments, Pérola de São Mamede is worth your visit! The walls of this old grocery store are covered with shelves and cabinets painted in soft blue, and made more colorful with the stock of groceries individually labeled with handwritten prices. This is a rare place with a unique history. Owner Celestino Almeida came from his village to work here, in what was back then his godfather’s store, at the tender age of 10. Since then, times have certainly changed, but Pérola de São Mamede hasn’t changed all that much. Here you can still find general groceries and specialized products like regional cheeses and cured meats, salted cod, and beans and biscuits in bulk.
While it’s not easy for Pérola de São Mamede to attract new customers, the business lives on relying on old time patrons who like to come here not only because of the quality of the products, but particularly because of the personalized service.
📍R. Nova de São Mamede 19, 1250-236 Lisbon
No website! Pérola de São Mamede is so old school that, for further info, you’d have to visit or call them on the phone: +351 21 388 0997
The old time decor and the dusty Port wine bottles you’ll see when you walk into Casa Macário will make you suspect that this establishment is indeed an old player in Lisbon’s traditional grocery store scene. Founded in 1913, Casa Macário is one of the biggest references for Port wine in Lisbon. At the store a sign that reads “please do not clean the bottles” attacks the attention of new customers, but regulars know that the management likes to equate the amount of dust accumulated with the age of each bottle, as thus with its value.
Besides Port wines, Casa Macário has an interesting selection of aguardente, a highly alcoholic Portuguese spirit, other alcoholic beverages, champagne, licors, a selection of table wines, as well as chocolates and fine biscuits.
You know Casa Macário is iconic even before you walk into the store as you see that they have their own writings on the cobblestones that decorate the floor just outside the store. In Lisbon, this is indeed a sign of clout for traditional stores!
📍R. Augusta 272, 1100-057 Lisbon
Unlike the grocery stores featured above, A Praça is a newcomer in Lisbon’s grocery store scene. But what this business does have in common with the shops above is that it focuses on Portuguese products, working with selected national producers. In the team’s own words, they’re working towards “connecting, aggregating and bringing people, knowledge and passion for genuine products to A Praça, made by unique people who have a lot of value.”
A Praça’s catalogue gathers more than 700 products of over 140 Portuguese producers, and all of them are entirely organic and artisanal. They believe in shining the spotlight on the producers they work with and have dedicated a section of their business’s website to introducing you to the farmers, cheesemongers, olive oil producers, craft brewers, wine houses and other small-scale producers.
A Praça’s physical store will open soon at the up and coming Beato’s Creative Hub and it promises to be the city’s biggest marketplace for local organic producers. Meanwhile, you can shop online at https://apraca.pt.
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