Thursday, June 5, 2014

A Foodie City Gets It!

Mercado da Ribeira and TimeOut Magazine Score a Hit in Lisbon

The largest central farmers market in Lisbon, Mercado da Ribeira has been the city's main market since it opened in 1892 with a grand oriental dome.

Inside is a massive pavilion where you can watch fresh seafood from the Azores Islands to Norway being snatched up by locals and restauranteurs haggling for the best price. Although the financial crisis and wholesale, discount chain stores had reduced this once thriving market to a handful of diehard vendors, in 2014 it's management was taken over by TimeOut Lisboa magazine, with a bold a project that was finally realized last week and opened to the public with much anticipation.

The Mercado da Ribeira now hosts a lively food pavilion with over 30 top chefs, Lisbon eateries and famous shops, some of which have supplied Lisboetas with savory foodstuffs for over a century. Inside is a beautifully designed 500 seat dining area that gets bustling around 9:00pm, but not to worry because there are another 200 seats outside on the terrace where seafood and light snacks alike can be enjoyed beside the park in Dom Luis Square.

There are no fast food stands, no trans-Euro franchises, and none of those awful umbrellas and plastic chairs sporting logos for sodas and beers. This shows how Lisbon takes its food seriously and the plans for more are in the works. There will also be a space dedicated to cultural activities on the first floor that will open in September 2014. There will be an auditorium capable of seating 300 people as well as a bar and restaurant. TimeOut is already organizing small cultural events with artists and musicians to liven up the summer and fall nights in 2014.

Come check out everything from traditional Portuguese sandwiches like the Prego, or Bifana, or fresh Atlantic seafood and fish dishes, an excellent selection of local wines, cheeses and even some ethnic eateries from former Portuguese colonies where the kitchens or Portugal and other countries have combined over time to create their own unique cuisine. There are renowned chefs sporting stars, and start ups who won a competition hosted by TimeOut to receive a coveted place in the market food pavilion.

The Mercado da Ribeira food pavilion is open from 10AM to midnight On Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays it is open  until 2:00am in the morning. Located on the ground floor on the west side of the pavilion. The address is Rua da Ribeira Nova, 18.

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