Lisbon was everything I wanted it to be!
We booked our trip 4 days before we left. I had been begging Sam to go and trying to sell him on a “family hotel” that I heard was “great” and he kept saying “Portugal doesn’t excite me.”
Then our friends told us they had heard about a chic, fabulous, five-star hotel in Lisbon called the Verride Palacio Santa Caterina. And suddenly he was a bit more excited.
They had no rooms left when I called…except for their Royal Suite. Sam’s excitement level went through the roof and off we went, Georgina (our toddler) in tow. Paloma (our baby) went to my parents house for 4 full days of more attention than she’s ever had before.
The flight is amazing – a 5 and a half hour red-eye which was easy enough, even with a child. And the airport is 15 minutes from the city center, which is a little thing that makes a big difference.
Where to Stay…
The Verride Palacio Santa Catarina turned out to indeed be very chic and fabulous. We stayed in both the Queen Suite, which is breathtakingly beautiful,  and the King Suite, which we transferred to because it was more functional. There aren’t fabulous hotel options but I really had heard great things about the family hotel Martinhal Chiado, despite my husband’s lack of excitement. Also: The Lisboans Apartments.
And Eat…
You have to at least check out the Time Out Market, though it’s both overwhelming and underwhelming at the same time. The piglet belly confit w mashed peas at Alexandre Silva was a highlight. Ramiro was Anthony Bourdain’s top pick. It’s got a beer hall vibe, the service is horrific and the wait time is very long unless you go at 5pm. But it’s sort of a Lisbon institution (like Joe’s Stone Crab in Miami) and the giant prawns are buttery, salty delicious. They also have an amazing off-menu steak sandwich called a prego, which also very much excited Sam. Pateo was great, with a cool vibe and amazing Ibérico ham and gazpacho. The chocolate cake at Landeau is EXCELLENT. 100 Maneiras Bistro is a place that got recommended to me several times by several people whose taste I trust. The service was bad but the food was very good. The squid with risotto was very creamy and yum. The piri-piri chicken at Churrasquinho do Bairro is 100! It’s a teeny-tiny little spot with no atmosphere but if you love chicken then please please please go, you will be so happy!! The classic tasting menu at Belcanto was delicious. The wine pairing is amazing. The Pork course is insane. Also the golden goose egg – do not miss. Taverna Rue de Flores had so much going for it. Quaint. Local. No reservations. Ever changing menu. We watched them offer duck on the menu, run out, scratch it off and then offer duck livers. I’m listing it here because I loved the idea of this restaurant and think that we just didn’t order well? (Go at 6pm and put your name down or you won’t get in)
Omg. That’s a lot of eating.  But the highlight of Lisbon really is the food.
And Drink…
By The Wine is a super cute wine bar.
And Shop…

If you have kids or just really like baths, check out the Lisbon Duckstore. Shop at Luvaria Ulisses where they’ll fit you for beautiful leather gloves – the store itself is also teeny tiny and so worth a visit. A Vida Portages which you’ll read about in every article on Portugal…it’s fine but a little like the kind of stuff you bring back and you’re like why did I want this? Vista Alegre has gorgeous porcelain, plates, etc. – very Hermes-esque. DCK for men’s boardshorts. Fora for sunglasses. Feeting room is a cool boutique. Cante Lisboa is a great bathing suit – adorable kids stuff and I got 2 cover ups. Alperce is a cute boutique – reasonably priced and one-of-a-kind things. AntiMilk for kid’s clothes (older kids). Embaixada concept store (Sam got cool button downs at tktk). This whole area where Embaixada was had cute shopping/nice to walk around. d.o.t for kid’s clothes (a little too prissy for my taste but got Paloma one reallly cute bathing suit).

And See…
Santa Justa Lift (don’t wait on the line! There’s a secret way to skip it! Message me and I’ll explain). See Tram 28, ride it to Alfama. Have lunch at Zé dos Cornos (rice and beans and spare ribs!). Take a tuk tuk to Belém – the tower and the monastery and the church are cool but the real draw here is Pastéis de Belém. This was my #1 patel de nata in Lisbon. Number 2 is Aloma and a distant 3 is Manteigaria. (Have you been? How do you rank??)
And Also…
The highlight of our trip was our food tour with Culinary Backstreets. I can’t recommend it enough. We tasted interesting cheeses and sardines and cherry liquors and met fascinating shop owners and restaurateurs.
Wanted to do but didn’t get to:
Piri-Piri Chicken at A Valenciana
kid’s stores: sissone  and kaleidoscope

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