Lisbon: Curated top notch lunch at the Mercado da Ribeira
The Mercado da Ribeira is a 13th century food market in Lisbon, Portugal with an ultra modern and trendy food court to be savoured. In 2010 the city authorities run a bidding contest with the aim of transforming this old and somewhat run down food market into something that will attract foodies all over the world. The bid was won by Time Out. Their mission as stated below was one that began to catch the imagination of tourists and local Lisbon foodies.
I had heard of Mercado da Ribeira and was determined to experience it on a recent visit to Lisbon. It was easy to get to. It is right opposite to the Cais do Sodre train station and close to the main central city districts such as Baixa and Chiado.
After a quick tour of the centuries-old fish market and fruit and veg market I headed to the food court, which is situated on the western end of the Mercado da Ribeira. There were tourists as well as local professionals in here all with one thing in common. Food. Well not just food but gourmet food of the highest quality.
Artisanal food at it best…..
After a few minutes of strolling around and taking in the jovial and somewhat vivacious atmosphere I got right down to business. The choices and variety of meals and dishes on show were truly awesome in scale and beauty. It seemed every local Lisbon restaurant worth their weight in gold was represented here. Rumour has it that there are two michelin star chefs here too. Pulled pork had earlier on caught my attention but I simply could not resist the roast beef and potatoes dish from Marlene Viera.
It took about 15 minutes for my order to arrive but it was worth it. Quite possibly the best roast beef lunch I had ever had and given I am a Londoner I do know a bit about roast beef. The sauce was simply divine. This was tender beef round roasted in natural juices served with well cooked potatoes.
Chefs and cooks……
As I peaked around the many mini gourmet restaurants around this 500 seater food court I could not help but admire the creatives behind each restaurant. They were visible in their mini kitchens busy preparing the dishes that has turned Mercado da Ribeira into a foodies haven.
Mercado da Ribeira is nostalgic, memorable, sensational for a foodie and will create in your thoughts and senses the most incredible associations. In there, food is more than simply nourishment; it is an exotic voyage that the famous Portuguese explorer Vasco Da Gama himself will pay an arm and a leg to go.