Lisbon’s Best Food Market: Mercado da Ribeira


Not a long time ago, the main urban market has experienced a “rebirth”. From a little street food space, it has become a food court “Disneyland”. This is a perfect place for cultural events as well. Everyone who is visiting Lisbon should step their foot at Mercado da Ribeira and see with their own eyes.

Gastronomic Floor of Mercado da Ribeira:

Sun-Wed 10:00 – 24:00
Thu-Sat 10:00 – 02:00

The first floor is a gastronomic one, where dozens of restaurants and cafes are gathered together. Traditional food lines with fish, meat, fruits, vegetables, and flowers also work here. There is a hall with 300 seats for events or an expat co-working space called Second Home on the second floor.

The first floor of the market, sourced from Wikimedia Commons

The Ribeira market is the most important and most famous food market in Lisbon. It is located near the Cais do Sodré railway station, so if you suddenly intend to visit the Lisbon riviera – Cascais and Estoril, it will be very convenient to go on the way to the market. If your hotel is located at Cais do Sodré area, then you can easily walk to the market, buy groceries there, or simply eat at Mercado da Ribeira huge food court.

Now the building has two markets working in antiphase. The usual market we are used to, where they sell vegetables, fish, and greens in the morning from 6 am to 2 pm and a food court is open from 10 am to 12 am from Sunday to Wednesday, and from Thursday to Saturday.  The most interesting events begin after 7-8 pm.

Traditional Food Market at Mercado da Ribeira:

Mon-Sat 06:00 – 14:00

First of all, what you need to see is the traditional fish stalls, because Lisbon is almost at the ocean shore and there should be everything in order to taste the fresh and tasty seafood.

Of all this variety, you can stop at bacalhau corner. You can buy a piece and fry it in a frying pan at your apartment. The fish is gentle and it melts in your mouth. Fish prices on the Ribeira market are from € 10 to € 25 per kilogram.

The huge octopuses sold in Lisbon and is of the best variety. Usually, the Portuguese serve an octopus with cooked potatoes and other vegetables adding olive oil and species. You will be surprised by the quality of the dish. We bet that it will be the best octopus in your entire life because Portuguese know how to treat their octopus!

The following is a list of restaurants and stalls which you must visit:

1. Sea Me restaurant

Sea Me restaurant

Sea Me restaurant in Lisbon sourced from 食べログ

This is one of the best fish and seafood places in the entire city. You will be fascinated by the vast choice and the quality of the dishes. The taste will mesmerize you and you will definitely want to return for more.

A big choice of oysters, crabs, langoustes, and even traditional ocean fish and seafood will meet you there.

My personal advice would be to taste an octopus or get a grilled traditional fish that would be cooked under their specified unique recipe. I can guarantee you will enjoy this meal.

You can reserve your table here and also consult their opening hours.

2. Prego da Peixaria

Prego sandwich, sourced from Wikimedia Commons

As a place that advocates their versatility more than any other self-respecting Portuguese seafood restaurant, it was mandatory to have a “prego” on the menu. Can you only imagine having seafood served alongside the best meat dishes?

This is not just any “prego”. It holds the title as the best “prego” in Lisbon, the best “prego” in Portugal, and the best “prego” in the World. (Prego meaning meat).

All of them are made with the best beef and wrapped in handmade bread, whose recipe is “locked away from sight”. Surf and turf anyone?

3. Cafe de São Bento

Café de Sâo Bento, sourced from Wikimedia Commons

This place is one of the most interesting places that serves national cuisine. It is here that you can easily order something that local people would usually eat. Try their delicious “Francesinha” and look up their wine menu. The portions are very satisfying.

Check their official information here.

4. Arcádia

Chocolates from Arcadia, sourced from the TimeOut Market website

Arcádia is a company that was founded back in 1933 in Porto. They sell chocolates as if they were jewelry. Their outlet is in the Mercado da Ribeira which showcases the best of its confectionery.  Try their línguas de gato (cookies with chocolate), and the legendary bonbons made with Calém port wine.

More information here.

5. Garrafeira Nacional

Garrafeira Nacional, image sourced from their official website

A wine shop that was founded back in 1927 and has been functioning for the last 90 years in Lisbon. Do not underestimate the beauty of this wine place because even local people visit it every single day. You may not already know, but the Portuguese have a very refined taste in wines! A glass of carefully picked wine a day is considered normal all throughout the country.

Please consult their boutique here and choose your wine.

Whatever you chose to visit and wherever you taste your Portuguese delicacy, you will end up being very satisfied. I highly suggest you visit Lisbon’s most popular market, as it provides an entertaining and immersive ambiance for you to enjoy your meal or just a regular cup of coffee.

The best time to visit the Mercado da Ribeira would in the early morning around 10 am. At this time there is almost nobody inside and you can freely walk around and check out all the food courts without the crowd’s noise. Just choose the right table for yourself and enjoy your morning espresso.

When you finish your morning ritual, you could go around the food market and pick out the best and the freshest vegetable to bring home. And of course, do not forget to grab a freshly cut bouquet of flowers. That will make your stay more pleasant and cozy for sure. Lisbon is waiting for you!

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