Welcome to our neighborhood, Estefânia
At Lisbon Cooking Academy, we’re not only proud of our city, Lisboa, we are also super proud of our beautiful and local neighborhood, Estefânia. Estefânia, part of Arroios, got its name from Estefânia Frederica Guilhermina Antónia – bless her looong name, queen of Portugal married to D. Pedro V in 1858. This power women became famous for manifesting a big dream, creating a hospital for children in central Lisbon, which has been going ever since 1879.
Not only long-established, Estefânia is a very traditional neighborhood, “very typical and authentic”, as tourist guides would love to say. Here, you will find a lot of reformados, aka retired people, simply doing their thing. Having their bicas over the counter whilst talking about football, strolling with the newspaper under their armpit, or playing chess at Jardim Constantino. You will also find some new neighbors, like our dears at Lx Brewery and Croissants de Sesimbra, which have brought new blood and energy to the block.
Surprisingly, there is also a lot of goodness in the hood, from quirky veggie restaurants to elegant wellness vilas, and even a second hand bookshop that only sell English books. It’s time to switch on your attention button on, amigos, and come with us on a tour. Welcome to Estefânia hood, where Lisbon Cooking Academy has been cooking goodness and mixing local people with the international community, since 2017.
A spiral of Goodness
Espiral is one of the oldest vegetarian restaurants in Lisbon which has been open since 1978. This is where your hippie auntie would take you for a big plate full of soggy vegetables and brown rice al dente. You were seven and hated broccoli. There, you would always be welcomed by surprisingly smiley and calm people, that would serve you generously whatever combo you would choose from the basement buffet. Years have passed, and not a lot has changed. Espiral smells like a mix o indian spices and incense, and there are loads of leaflets with alternative therapies, himalaian salt infusers and other esoteric details.The quantity of the food was kept too. If you fancy healthyish cakes and pies, head to the sister cafe next door. Don’t forget to order a choose-your-own-detox-cold-press juice. We love to mix beets with carrot, apple, ginger and a dash of lime. Best enjoyed at the terrace around 11am, when the sun is shining. De nada.
Praça da Ilha do Faial, 14A
2. Hare Krishna
Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Khrishna Khrishna, Hare Hareeee
If you want to stay on the veggie end, or go even further by adding some vegan options, you would love to explore the Hare Krishna garden. There, under the shade, you can have your daily combo of soup, main and desert, Ayurveda inspired, whilst talking about spirituality or listening to the birds. Taking it extreme? Maybe you can sing a pre meal mantra, to open your throat chakra and let your inner truth come out. Too much? Simply enjoy your meal at this place, where all religions and traditions are welcome. This is the main principle of the Hare Krishna movement, sharing the blessings of God with all. You can read more about Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami, its founder, on their website.
Rua Dona Estefánia, 9
3. Pão com calma
Why do take-away if you can enjoy life calmly?
Pause, take a deep long breathe and have some bread, calmly. Laura, our lovely german baker and friend has opened Pão com calma a couple of years ago and she couldn’t be happier. If though baking and selling a speciality produce has a lot of energy and effort behind it, you are correct. That is also what makes it so great too. People, from all ages and backgrounds keep coming for more, one slice of sourdough after the other, sometimes even getting a naughty pretzel. You can read more about her on our last post here on ask-a-pro.
Pão com calma
Rua da Ilha Terceira, 44A – 1000-174 Lisboa
4. Vila Helena
3, 2, 1, it’s time to recharge
If you’re still not Shanty enough, what about stopping by Vila Helena, for a massage or Yoga class? This beautiful and tranquil villa, will make you forget you are in central Lisbon. Tucked away in what looks like a random corner, soon proves to be a hidden gem, with its magical garden and solid building. There you can get all sorts of holistic treatments, from ayurveda massages, nutrition consultations to Yoga classes, both kundalini and vinyasa flow. Check out their website for full details, but one thing we can assure you: you will be ready to eat, or drink, some of our picks afterwards.
Tv. Escola Araújo, 24 – 1150-141 Lisboa
5. LX Brewery
Lisbon’s first craft beer
Our neighbors at LX Brewery were the first in town crafting craft beer, excuse us the pun. We are not entirely sure if they were the first, but what we know is that they’ve been consistently on the top of the craft beer game since the beginning of the buzz, when Imperial regularis was still the queen. This guys produce locally 100% craft beer and you can drink it not only there, at the artisanal factory, but all around the capital. Choose from a bottle or keg, and you can even get it tailor-made for your event or party. So you don’t like beer? That is okay, they won’t take that personally.
Note from who knows: best enjoyed gelada, aka super cold.
Rua do Funchal, 5
6. Croissants de Sesimbra
Croissants with a portuguese accent
At this small cafe you will find all-thing-croissant-goodness. These beauties are originally from Sesimbra, a fisherman’s village just one hour drive from Lisbon – please consider going there, not only for the original croissants but to enjoy the sea breeze and choco frito. These delicacies are always served warm and you can choose your filling on spot, from over 25 options. Cheese, smoked salmon and cherry tomato, figs and nuts or chocolate are amongst our favourites. All served with dairy, sugar, fat and all the flavour you deserve, like a real Portuguese treat.
Croissants de Sesimbra
Rua de Dona Estefânia, 68A
7. Mercado 31 de Janeiro
Local Market goodness
A tour around the hood is not finished without checking out the local Market, 31 de Janeiro. This market was recently refurbished, bringing modern cues to what has been there for years. It is also a great opportunity to experience local life, as Estefânia meets Saldanha, one of the busiest business districts in town. At Mercado 31 de Janeiro, you will be able to find a great variety of fresh fish and seafood, seasonal fruits and vegetables and even dried fruits, nuts and teas in bulk. If you want to take some rest, why not strategically stopping at the cafe for bica and pastel de nata, or even a toast made with artisanal bread? We’re always happy to take you there in one of our market tours. We don’t like advertising but this is our blog and we do it from the heart so we guess it is okay. It is okay, right?
Mercado 31 de Janeiro
Rua Engenheiro Vieira da Silva, 34
Your Lisbon Cooking Academy Team