I had seen in a magazine prior to my arrival in Lisbon that the Time Out Market Lisboa is a must-visit venue. What an impression it made on me, when I visited it at the beginning of June, with about 30 restaurants, bars, and florists in this massive food market very close to where I stayed in Lisbon. How does one choose what to eat, with such a selection?!
As I arrived outside the historic Mercado da Ribeira Market Hall building dating back to 1882, I asked a TukTuk driver how much he charges. He offered to take me around Lisbon, including Belém, a suburb I had been recommended to, for €70, for one and a half hours. Another Tuk Tuk operator quickly came up to me too, offering the trip for €60. When I asked two Market bar staff, standing nearby, if this was a good price, they did not seem to think so, and one even called his friend to get an idea of pricing. As soon as I went inside, I could easily connect to WiFi, and when I checked the cost of an Uber ride to Belém I was very grateful that I had not fallen for the TukTuk overcharge, the Uber cost being €7,95 in one direction. So that was a good start to the day.
One enters a vast hall, with food stalls all the way round the vast former warehouse, with standardised branding of the chef or restaurant name represented at each stand, with open kitchens, and a menu listing the dishes offered and the prices. In the central space long high tables have been set up, at which one sits down to wait for the ordered food, receiving a type of alarm gadget that alerts one to collect the order. One has already prepaid for the order at this stage. There are a number of bars, and one can collect drinks from them. Getting a place to sit just after midday was a challenge, even for me as a single person, it being so full.
The Time Out Market Lisboa opened five years ago, and has 24 restaurants, 8 bars, a number of shops, and a high-end music venue, presenting the best of Lisbon steak, sushi, hamburger, and live performances.
#. Sea Me, a mix of traditional and modern seafood Eatery, with dishes containing high quality fish and shellfish. It pays homage to Portugal’s Gastronomic links with Japan, serving sardine Sushi, for example.
#. Chef Marlene Vieira, known for reinventing traditional Portuguese dishes. She is the only female in the chef’s section of the Market. Her menu varies by day of the week.
As the TimeOut Market was the first tourist attraction I visited, and I hadn’t yet had confirmation of my reservation at the Michelin two-star restaurant Alma of Chef Henrique Sa Pessoa, I didn’t see the stand of one of Portugal’s top chefs at the Market. It certainly did not attract a queue, as probably being the best known Portuguese chef represented at the Market. He has worked in London and Sydney, and has six restaurants in Lisbon alone, as well as one in Macau. His most high-profile restaurant is the two Michelin star Alma, at which I ate whilst in Lisbon. At the TimeOut Market one can taste some of the dishes that have made him famous.
Other chef stands include Miguel Leffan, Miguel Castro E Silva, Alexandre Silva, and the newest addition Chef João Rodrigues, offering ‘Portuguese seasonal ingredients produced in an environmentally conscious way’.
I was impressed with how slick the TimeOut Market Lisboa is, with each stand using the same trays, with a TimeOut branded paper ‘tray cloth’. Cutlery probably is disposable. Crockery may vary. Staff move around the eating hall, collecting crockery and cutlery, as well as waste, and take it to have it washed in a central area. This means that the chefs on the stand focus purely on preparing the food.and taking payment for the dishes.
I walked around the market hall, and chatted and/or bought at L’Eclair (a fantastic take on Paris Brest), Bettina Corallo Chocolate Studio, and top ice cream purveyor Santini. I looked at the TimeOut Market Shop, Croqueteria, Ground Burger (serving the best American-style hamburgers in the city), A Vida Portuguesa selling only a range of colourful sardine tins, Recordacão de Sintra (selling traditional almond cake and other specialities from the World Heritage Site Sintra outside Lisbon, and the florists in the building. There is the Academia TimeOut, the first cookery school to operate in a food hall.
I loved the quirky fishy decor of the cloakroom doors.
If I compare this amazingly TimeOut Market in Lisbon with the Mojo Market in Sea Point, there is no comparison at all! The TimeOut Market in Lisbon has been such a success that the TimeOut Group is rolling out similar markets around the world.
TimeOut Market, Avenida 24 de Julho 49, 1200-479 Lisbon, Portugal. Tel +351 213 951 274. www.timeoutmarket.com Twitter: @TimeOutMarketL Instagram: @timeourmarketlisboa Sunday – Wednesday 10h00 – midnight, Thursday to Saturday 10h00 – 2h00.
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Chris von Ulmenstein, WhaleTales Blog: www.chrisvonulmenstein.com/blog Tel +27 082 55 11 323 Twitter:@Ulmenstein Facebook: Chris von Ulmenstein Instagram: @Chrissy_Ulmenstein