Three insiders share the scoop on the city they call home.
Founder of Music Box, a live music venue inCais do Sodré
On Saturday mornings, I go to Mercado de Campo de Ourique (Rua Coelho da Rocha) for fresh produce and flowers; there’s a real neighborhood feel to the area. I play the bass, and the open-mike nights at Tasca do Chico are great. In Lisbon, you can eat very affordably and well almost anywhere. At the low-key restaurant Duques do Cais (5 Rua do Alecrim; $$), in Cais do Sodré, an old lady cooks delicious regional dishes. Order the cozido portuguesa, a meat-and-vegetable stew served with rice.
Chef at Belcanto, Cantinho do Avillez, and Pizzeria Lisboa
One of the best walks in the city is from the Belvedere of São Pedro de Alcântara, the hilltop entrance to Bairro Alto, to the Baroque church Igreja São Roque. At the traditional food store Conserveira de Lisboa, you can find row upon row of canned specialties. Get the Tricana-brand atum ventresca (tuna belly) in olive oil or the Portuguese sardines. For a seafood dinner, check out Cervejaria Ramiro ($$); I invited Anthony Bourdain there for lunch, and he loved it.
Lux is my favorite nightclub and gallery in the city and where I first displayed my piece The Bride before taking it to the Venice Biennale four years later. If you’re looking for great one-off pieces, I love the couture designs from the avant-garde clothing boutique Storytailors; it carries incredible corsets and layered tulle dresses. One of my go-to restaurants is Pap’açorda ($$), in Bairro Alto. Try the classic pataniscas de bacalhau (cod fritters) with red beans and rice.
See the Tiles of Lisbon
What frescoes are to Italy, tiles, or azulejos, are to Portugal. Head east from Praça do Comercio to the Museu Nacional do Azulejo, housed in a convent dating back to 1509. Don’t miss the tile panel of the city made in 1738. The Palacio dos Marqueses de Fronteira (1 Largo de São Domingos de Benfica; 351/217-784-599) has some of the world’s most detailed antique pieces; private tours are offered in the morning. Buy reproductions and contemporary ceramics to ship home at the centuries-old shop Azulejos Sant’Anna, in Alcântara.