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LISBON: In True Portuguese Style

Contributed with love by Isabella Aballi – “I have a thing for cooking, drawing, indoor plants, and music produced before I was born. Still waiting for Freaks and Geeks season 2… Currently Events and Press at Blain Southern”.


When I wake up and I desperately need food in my belly –

I make a pit stop at Choupana Caffé. It’s the perfect place to grab a quick bite to eat or to sit back and relax a bit; the latter being in true Portuguese fashion. Try the pressed ham and cheese croissant – it will take you back to your childhood giving your belly that cosy carby feeling – yummm.

A walk to digest my breakfast –

Walk two blocks (enough walking for me) and you’ll hit the Jardim da Fundaçao Calouste Gulbenkian. Personally, I prefer the Modern Collection which is packed with incredible modern and contemporary artworks, a good chunk of them by Portuguese artists. For a country known for its orthodox ways, I was pleasantly surprised and immediately drank the Kool-Aid.

My latest museum obsession –

Casa das Histórias – Museu Paula Rego. Okay so it’s not in actual Lisbon Lisbon but it’s a 15 minute Uber ride from the center (we’ll miss you Travis) in the coastal town of Cascais. While most visitors go for the classic Instagram picture in front of the salmon pink terracotta building that looks like it came straight out of Tatooine, believe or not going inside the building is pretty cool too. The space holds exhibitions by different artists and is also packed with paintings, drawings and etchings (some dark but very powerful) by Paula Rego, accompanied by great anecdotes that make her that much more intriguing. She’s unusual, extreme, sexual and brutal. A must!

Lunch –

Cervejaria Ramiro – it’s a Lisbon staple. You’ll have to line up outside to wait for a table but not to worry, you can grab a small beer inside and drink it while you wait. Order EVERYTHING. The seafood is out of this world and pairing it with some vinho verde never hurts. If you’re really looking to have the Portuguese culinary experience, finish the meal off with a Prego (go halfsies with a buddy). It’s a small steak sandwich with big big flavours. Public Service Announcement: lots of garlic.

My afternoon fix –

Drinks at Terrace Bar; great views of the river and Lisbon. A quick stop at Santini for some ice cream isn’t a bad idea either.

My art ‘must’ in Lisbon –

Santa Maria de Belem. The art scene in Portugal is growing so much and this area has all the big art musts of Lisbon including the Berardo Collection Museum. Also, the new MAAT Museum for art, architecture and technology that recently opened this year is just around the corner. And since you’re in the area, you’ll have to stop at Pastéis de Belém for the famous pastéis de nata. Order two. Trust me.

My favourite thing about Lisbon is –

Tradition. For a city that is growing so quickly, welcoming innovation and the adventure-hungry youths at every corner, Portugal’s ability to maintain their daily traditions is really refreshing and one of the greatest things about its culture. Don’t hate. Appreciate.

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