Thursday, 3 August 2017

Portugal: Sucolento and the City

Whilst in Lisbon, Jossi and I found the best little local restaurant ever. But more on that in a moment. Firstly, a little more about what we got up to in the city its self, starting from the hotel!

So, I have already mentioned we were staying in a rather nice hotel, up a rather large hill. Because of said hill, Joss and I had a plan to attempt to not walk up and down it too much - head out nice and early in the morning, see what we wanted to see and then make it back to the pool side to catch the afternoon rays.

Well, of course 'holiday time' kicked in, along with routinely eating too much for breakfast, so our start times steadily got later and later, and I could be found more often like this:

That said, we still managed to get out and about to see what the city had to offer.

Lisbon is a lovely city to walk around. The buildings are all brightly coloured, their facades covered in beautifully painted tiles called 'azulejo' and there are places to stop for a bite to eat or a drink everywhere. Trams rattle precariously through the streets while pedestrians weave in and out of the narrow side streets. In the evenings, 'Fado' bands pop up everywhere from restaurants to public parks, playing live music accompanied by guitars late into the night.The city is very much alive.

This beautiful building is the train station, can you believe?!

Oh, there are bakeries everywhere....!

One of the main sights to see in the center of the city is the São Jorge Moorish castle which commands the city from one of the seven hilltops.

The castle dates from Portugal's medieval period and is mostly just an impressive network of fortified walls and battlements now. However, it's fun to walk around and get a feel for the history of the town.

If you're lucky, you may even get up and close to this fine fellow!

The castle is surrounded by narrow streets, perfect for getting lost in. We found an incredible little ice cream place called Gelataria Portuguesa where I had some pear ice cream which was just amazing - so flavoursome and fresh! Not only that, it was very inexpensive too which is always a nice bonus. 

Whilst we were out in Lisbon, we had number of recommendations from friends who insisted  (multiple times, through various forms of communication) that we should visit the Time Out Market.

Now, I am a fervent disciple of Time Out. In London, if Time Out suggests you should go somewhere, I will make the booking. If, on the rare occasion I get somewhere before Time Out reports on it, I am flooded with a overwhelming sense of smug validation. Yes Katie, you are indeed a trendy and up to date person. You may be heading into your mid-twenties, but you're far from your box yet! 

The idea behind the Time Out Market is to take the best of a city, from street food to Michelin stared restaurants and put them all under one roof.

The result is a cavernous warehouse filled with food stalls and communal eating tables. We perused the stalls, finally settling on one (after having picked up a couple of nibbles from other stalls) and ordering our meals.

Then, armed with our trays, we headed to the tables, finally finding a spot opposite a trio of German siblings who were enthusiastically tucking in to each other's plates.

This was the joy of the market place - there is so much to try you can't possibly eat it all, but you can definitely attempt to. Divide and conquer is the way forwards! Not only that, but communal eating spaces meant we ended up deep in (hilarious) conversation with our German neighbors, bonding over the deliciousness in front of us! All in all, the Time Out Market was an incredibly enjoyable experience.

But! The market was nothing compared to Sucolento.

We heard about Sucolento through Trip Adviser and quickly booked ourselves in for dinner.

Thank God we did.

Sucolento turned out to be our favouite place to eat we found all trip.

The little restaurant is tucked away down a narrow street somewhat off the beaten track. Small and family run, there is evidently a bit of a fight for tables. On arriving, we accidentally stated the wrong time for our reservation and were met with mistrust - did we dare think we could sneak in so easily?!

However, we ironed this out and were shown to our table, where we proceeded to order a selection from the menu. I went for the 'Rosbife' and we ordered some chicken tacos to share, along with a bottle of wine.

The food honestly blew us away. It was relatively simple and wholly delicious. Not only that, when one thing wasn't available on the menu, we were brought a little taster of another dish to try instead by the bemused restaurant owner.

By the end of the evening, we were totally in love. The food was great and we had managed to win over the staff who we were chatting away happily with by the end of the meal.

We tried desperately to book in for another dinner, but Sucolento was totally booked up until we left! So in the end, we settled for a lunch time reservation and on our last day in Lisbon we returned and were enthusiastically met with a 'you're late!'. I ended up ordering the same again (which was just fantastic) but then regretted my choice when I saw the incredible open top sandwiches emerging from the kitchen. Everything just looked so great.

I couldn't recommend Sucolento enough. The food was fantastic, the staff were fabulous (definitely had their own charm and were evidently very enthusiastic about the restaurant) and the menu inexpensive. Despite being (very obviously) tourists, by the end of two short meals, I felt almost as if we'd been accepted into the family. All in all, a truly brilliant experience.

Lisbon was a city of surprises. I arrived not really knowing what to expect and left with a list of things I cannot wait to return to do! If that's not a mark of a great place to visit, I don't know what is!


  1. Katie, do you think a weekend would be enough time? I'm in that awkward position of wanting to go genuinely everywhere but being limited with holiday leave. I was thinking about maybe my taking my boyfriend here for his birthday or going for a weekend break in wales and doing all the bounce below/ziplining stuff,

    Jet x

    1. I think you could get a good flavour in two full days of Lisbon itself, but I think tbh you need more time to do it properly and for it to feel like a holiday. For example, Sintra is a whole day in it's self and it's a train ride away from Lisbon... there's quite a lot to see!
      Katie x

  2. Those donut-like creations look amazing! I'm sure I'd nibble through a whole handful. The two of you look wonderful, love seeing your travel snaps



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