Restaurante Noah – Santa Cruz, Portugal

On our first evening out of Lisbon, we headed north-west to the Atlantic coast and decided to spend a few days in the Torres Vedras region. The owner of Vila Louro recommended we grab dinner at Restaurante Noah in Santa Cruz which was only a 10-minutes drive from where we were staying.

Unfortunately, it was already dark when we arrived at Restaurante Noah. The restaurant is on the beach and I assume that the view during the day must be amazing.

Restaurante Noah Santa Cruz

Not knowing what to expect, we were pleasantly surprised by the very modern and nicely decorated venue. The place looks like if a beach-hut had a baby with a very sleek Scandinavian house. And you know me, I love good interior design!

Restaurante Noah Santa Cruz

After a long day on the road, we immediately ordered some bread while waiting for our drinks. It was good but a tasty mistake we would regret later. Don’t worry I will explain why.

Bread Restaurante Noah Santa Cruz

Our glasses of wine arrived, which made me very happy and we placed our order. After almost half a loaf of bread, we decided to share a starter and have a main each.

Restaurante Noah Santa Cruz

That is when we discovered that the first serving of bread had been a mistake… It was delicious BUT imagine our faces when we realised that the starter we had chosen, a local sausage, was served with another loaf of bread. We ended up full before our mains even arrived! So one tip for you: avoid the bread if you are planning to have a starter, a main and a dessert. The sausage was delicious though and we polished off the plate nicely.

Sausage Restaurante Noah Santa Cruz

Our mains arrived, squid ink linguine for Andrew and octopus for me (as usual). Both dishes were really good! The pastas had all the flavours of the sea (in a nice way). The octopus serving was very generous and had the right balance between the meatiness of the polpo and lightness of the vegetables and hazelnuts.

Squid ink linguine Restaurante Noah Santa CruzOctopus Restaurante Noah Santa Cruz

Our only disappointment was to not have room for any dessert, both of us were completely stuff!

I also want to give one bonus point to Restaurante Noah for the bill. When it arrives in such a creative container you are almost happy to take your card out!

Restaurante Noah Santa Cruz

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Under Lisbon bridge

You don’t really realise how big the 25 de Abril bridge is until you are under it. I also love the colour coordination between the bridge and its surroundings.

Lisbon – 2017

Under 25 de Abril bridge in Lisbon

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Lx Factory – Lisbon, Portugal

Some places are so unique that it hard to describe them! This is the case for Lx Factory, in Lisbon. Lx Factory is not a restaurant, not a food market, not a bar, not a shop or an art gallery… Lx Factory is all of the above!

Lx Factory Lisbon

Nested under the 25 de Abril bridge, Lx Factory used to be an old manufacturing complex which has been transformed into a trendy art and food district. The 23.000 m2 industrial site is now home to some creative companies, restaurants, bars, shops and art galleries. From breakfast to the last drink of the day, Lx Factory will keep you entertained.

Lx Factory Lisbon

We arrived there around lunchtime, after exploring the neighbourhood of Belem in the morning. On the hunt for a light bite to eat, we settled on LXeeseCake which had the most appetising salads on the menu. There are plenty of food options and you will find something for everyone’s’ taste.

Lx Factory Lisbon

Andrew went for a chicken salad, I went for a cheese and berries one. Both delicious and very welcome after days of eating fish, beans, rice and Pasteis de Nata.

LXeeseCake salad LisbonLXeeseCake salad Lisbon

We ended our lunch with some delicious yet slightly less healthy deserts. It is all about balance, right? I am not a cheesecake fan (I know, I know, how is that even possible?) but even I enjoyed it!

LXeeseCake cheesecake Lisbon

We went for a digestive walk and explored all the small alleyways of LxFactory.

Lx Factory LisbonLx Factory Lisbon

The street art scene is amazing in Lisbon, the locals fully embrace it and LxFactory really reflect this!

Street art Lx Factory LisbonLx Factory Lisbon

We visited all the shops! Some very trendy some… A lot more quirky!

Vintage shop Lx Factory Lisbon

We ended our visit on the south side and hopped on a train from Alcantara-Mar station back to Lisbon city centre.

Street art Lx Factory Lisbon

Lx Factory is definitely one of the trendiest spots in Lisbon and could easily compete with the very hype Shoreditch or Brooklyn. So make sure to add it to your Lisbon itinerary!

Street art Lx Factory Lisbon

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Vila Louro – Torres Vedras, Portugal

When we plan our vacations, we like to find places to stay which are comfortable, with a boutique feel, and reasonably priced. With my obsession with interior design, I am also a sucker for nicely decorated spaces. This is why we decided to stay at Vila Louro, for a few days during our trip to Portugal. It is authentic, beautiful, gives easy access to the coast and is the perfect spot to relax in the sun.

Vila Louro

Originally a family home, brothers Filipe and Paulo Louro da Silva transformed the place into a tranquil and elegant oasis. We met Filipe who told us that rather than selling this family property, they decided to keep it an recreate the atmosphere and experiences of their childhood for others to enjoy. With only 9 rooms, all modernly decorated, Vila Louro has an authentic yet updated feel.

Vila Louro

We stayed in one of the Superior Double Rooms in the annexe facing the pool. The bedroom was very spacious and comfortable and the polished concrete floors and bathroom gave me major interior inspiration.

Vila Louro Superior Double RoomVila Louro Superior Double Room

We also had our own little terrace where we had lunches a couple of time (there are a few supermarkets close by).

Vila Louro terrace

Breakfast was included with our room and delicious! Filipe explained to us that they made sure to include in the buffet some traditional and family recipes.

The garden is beautiful and covered with orange and lemon trees. A green escape away from the drier fields around the village.

Vila Louro orange tree

The swimming pool area is inviting and most of the time quiet which makes it a great place to catch a bit of sun and finish a good book.

Bikes are available for the guests to cycle to the beach and around the village. It is good to note that you will still need a car to visit the towns and beaches a little further away.

Vila Louro garden

A great relaxing stay where rural Portugal meets the Atlantic ocean!

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Lisbon by night

Sometimes there is nothing to say, just things to look at.

Lisbon – 2017

Lisbon by night

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The best food markets in Lisbon

Lisbon is such a vibrant city. It has a lot of shops and restaurants. People are very friendly and open-minded. It definitely has a very trendy and cosmopolitan vibe.

The food scene is also incredible, and, with the very good weather, the city is able to offer very various experiences to visitors, some indoor and some outdoor. Today, I am taking you to two places that are a mixture of both – covered food markets.

I will be talking about a very famous market which is in all the guides, and a lot less famous one where locals go to eat. So, ready for some food adventures? Let’s go!

Time Out Market

Time Out Market Lisbon

Time Out Market needs no introductions if you have been to Lisbon or even just read about Lisbon. The giant food market is just next to Cais dos Sodré metro station and a short walk away from Baixa neighbourhood. Inside you will find dozens of food stalls. This place is absolutely huge, I have never seen such a big food market even in London!

Time Out Market Lisbon

I also love the Time Out Market concept. The food vendors have been curated based on Time Out ratings and reviews. One of the chefs even owns a Michelin star restaurant!

Sardine bruschetta Time Out Market Lisbon

The ultimate destination for the foodies. Spy at other people’s plates, walk along the shops to see what’s on offer and enjoy a very tasty meal at a very soft price!

We opted for some octopus (you know me, I never say no to it!) and some risotto.

Octopus Time Out Market LisbonRisotto Time Out Market Lisbon

And for dessert? Make sure to have a pastel de nata at Manteigaria, of course!

Pasteis de nata Manteigaria Time Out Market Lisbon

Mercado de Campo de Ourique

If you want to get away from the touristy crowd of Time Out Market, head to Campo de Ourique, a neighbourhood north west of the city centre. It is only 15 minutes on the bus from Baixa. There you will find the eponymous Mercado de Campo de Ourique. This is where the locals (and a very few tourists) go!

Mercado de Campo de OuriqueMercado de Campo de Ourique

The venue is similar to Time Out Market except much smaller. There are a lot of food stalls with a sitting area in the middle.

Mercado de Campo de Ourique

Again, walk around the place and pick something you fancy! You will find everything from local charcuterie boards to sushi.

Mercado de Campo de Ourique

Grab a refreshing bottle of rosé and enjoy a tasty meal while people watching.

Mercado de Campo de Ourique

Two very different food market, two very tasty experiences!

Mercado de Campo de Ourique

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Ponto Final – Lisbon, Portugal

Today’s food destination is a popular one. Ponto Final is in most guides about Lisbon. Why? The food is good and authentic and the views of Lisbon are incredible. When visiting the city most attractions will keep you north of the Tagus. Ponto Final is a great excuse to go to the south bank and enjoy the views of the city centre.

To get there you will need to take the ferry from Cais de Sodre to Cacilhas. It takes about 15 minutes to reach the other side. Once there you will have to walk another 15 minutes along the shore. Be aware that at night, the path is very dark and can look a little bit intimidating, but don’t worry you will only run into other guests of the restaurant and some fishermen.

Lisbon and the Tagus by night

Make sure to take plenty of pictures on your way to Ponto Final, this is where you will get the best view of Lisbon north bank and the Ponte 25 de Abril.

Lisbon and the Tagus by night

Keep walking (in the dark, if like us you are going for dinner) and eventually you will be greeted by music, cheery voices and fairy lights. That is it! You have arrived at your destination!

Ponto Final Lisbon

We had booked a table outside but the nights in Lisbon can be quite chilly in the Autumn so we eventually had to move inside. No ones fault just the weather playing against us. It was a little bit of a shame as the view is one of the main reasons people eat at Ponto Final. So we took all the pictures we could and headed inside.

Ponto Final Lisbon

Luckily Ponto Final is also famous for its food! So we knew it wouldn’t be a disappointing evening. The main ingredient here is fish and the food is traditional and rustic. A great place to taste the real flavours of Portuguese food!

Ponto Final Lisbon

If you have been reading my blog for a while you will now that I love octopus, so of course, to start, I went for the octopus salad.

Octopus salad Ponto Final Lisbon

Andrew opted for the Ponto Final soup.

Ponto Final soup

For mains, I went for the mackerel with boiling hot tomato rice and Andrew for the cod fritters with bean rice.

Mackerels Ponto Final LisbonTomato rice Ponto Final Lisbon

Everything we had was tasty! Portuguese food is simple and unfussy which makes it easily accessible to anyone. You get what is written on the menu, and in a way, it is a nice break from the ‘sounds fancy but not sure what that means‘ menus you can often get in Europe.

Cod fritters and beans rice Ponto Final Lisbon

It is also good to note that the portions are extremely generous, so if you are a small eater you could easily share a main between two people.

Sticking with the Portuguese food theme, we shared a bottle of vinho verde, a wine only produced in Portugal. It is fresher than a regular white wine, easy to drink, and just delicious!

Vinho Verde Ponto Final Lisbon

So if you are in Lisbon, make sure to have some fish at Ponto Final, maybe for lunch though, so it is a bit warmer!

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Banca de Pau – Lisbon, Portugal

In the very trendy neighbourhood of Principe Real, just north of Lisbon city centre, you will find Banca de Pau a Portuguese tapas restaurant. Multitasking as a deli, a wine shop and an eatery, the place only serves Portuguese products.

Banca de Pau in Lisbon

I can honestly say that it was one of the best meals we had during our stay in Lisbon. The products are excellent and all sourced locally. The staff is ADORABLE and speaks excellent English (and a bit of French!) and the prices are very reasonable.

Banca de Pau in Lisbon

Banca de Pau seems to have been recently renovated. The place feels modern and is very easy to navigate. At the table next to ours, there was a guest with visual impairment and they had no problem navigating the space. The staff was also extremely attentive to their specific needs. I thought I would mention it as I am conscious some people have to take those things into consideration when travelling! At Banca de Pau you will be well taken care of!

With a wine shop on site, you can choose a glass or pitcher of any of the bottles they sell. If you need a little bit of help make a decision, the staff will select three wines for you to taste. We both settled for red Portuguese wines, both excellent.

Wine at Banca de Pau in Lisbon

Now let’s talk about the food, I could just write that it was excellent and leave it there, but in case you need a few recommendations here is what we ordered and loved.

For starters, we ordered the tomato mousse and pistachios toats and the cheese and walnuts toasts. The tomato mousse toasts were to die for! The cheese toats were great too, but the tomato ones were just a level above. I wish we would have ordered another serving of these but we wanted to save our appetite for a few other things.

Tomato mousse and pistachios toats and cheese and walnuts toasts at Banca de Pau, Lisbon

For good measure after many Pastels de Nata during the day, we ordered some greens in the form of broad beans with strawberries and grilled smoked ham. These were tasty and naturally flavoured by the sweetness of the strawberries and the saltiness of the ham.

Broad beans with strawberries and grilled smoked ham at Banca de Pau in Lisbon

Of course, we couldn’t eat at a tapas restaurant without ordering the mixed charcuterie and cheese platter. It doesn’t look like much in the picture but the portion was generous and definitely enough for 2 people.

Mixed charcuterie and cheese platter at Banca de Pau in Lisbon

Finally, we ordered the pork sausages with pears and figs. The savoury sausages mixed with the sweetness of the pears and figs made for delicious flavours.

Pork sausages with pears and figs at Banca de Pau in Lisbon

We left full and very satisfied, and our bank account was very happy too! I couldn’t recommend Banca de Pau enough if you are visiting Lisbon, the wine, the food, the staff – you will have a lovely time!

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Where to next? Travelling plans for 2018

We kept ourselves busy in 2017 with some big trips and some smaller escapes!

We took the trip of a lifetime to Japan in the Spring! It was everything we expected it to be and more! So much so, that I still have content to share 8 months after!

Shibuya Crossing in Tokyo

In the Autumn, we headed south of Europe, to Portugal for a week, to explore the beautiful Lisbon and its surroundings. A wonderful sunny escape which I have yet to share with you. (I am going to be one busy writing bee in 2018!)

Tramways in Lisbon

Finally, we took the time to explore a bit more of England with two fantastic escapes, one to the Jurassic Coast and one to the Cotswolds.

West Bay beach on the Jurassic Coast
Cotswolds countryside

For 2018, I have already three destinations on the list: Mexico, Iceland and Sweden. We will also be planning a couple of weekends away in England as we always do. And this list doesn’t include all my trips to France to see my family and friends, neither does it include a potential trip to Ireland for a wedding. Some exciting times ahead!

Tulum – Source
Iceland – Source
Stockholm archipelago
Stockholm – Source

What about you guys? Where are you off to in 2018?

Also please drop me a note if you have recommendations for Mexico (we will probably just go to Tulum on this trip), Iceland or Stockholm!

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Where to next? Travelling plans for 2017

Travelling is a serious business in my household, so as you can imagine the travelling planning for 2017 is already in full swing!

We got married and bought a house in 2016 so our travel plans were more restrained than previous years. We still went to Greece, Italy, France, Ireland and Norfolk, so all in all it wasn’t too bad.

trips 2016
From left to right: Puglia, Paris, Ireland, Greece, Norfolk. More pictures here

For 2017, I have already 3 destinations on the list: Japan, Portugal and Iceland. We are also planning a couple of weekends away in England, maybe the Costwolds and the Jurassic Coast? Bear in mind that it doesn’t include all my trips to France as I don’t really consider these adventures, I simply ‘come home’ when I am there.

trips 2017
Portugal sourceIceland sourceJapan source

What about you guys? Where are you off to in 2017?

Also please drop me a note if you have recommendations for Japan, Iceland or Portugal!