The Lisbon Diaries

Lisbon should be on everyone's travel list. The hilly neighborhoods, the fresh air breezing along the Tagus and the promise of fresh and consistently delicious food will make this city a place you frequent whenever time allows. Below are a few of my favorite spots around the city (and one in Sintra). Enjoy!

Tapisco- Traditional Portuguese food with a refined modern twist. You can expect unexpected textures, rich flavors and big portions. 

Salted Cod "à Brás" with confit egg yolk

Salted Cod "à Brás" with confit egg yolk

Garlic prawns

Garlic prawns

Squid Ink Paella with prawns, cuttlefish and alioli

Squid Ink Paella with prawns, cuttlefish and alioli

Manteigaria- This might be my favorite egg tart in the city. While I do love the ones from Pasteis de Belem, the custard in these egg tarts had just the right amount of sweetness. Get them when they're fresh out of the oven and you'll find it hard to resist eating 3 or 4 more

Egg Tart

Egg Tart

Time Out Market Lisboa- The Time Out Market for me was well worth the visit. You can try different stalls that range from classic Portuguese foods to modern takes as well as other cuisines. It's a great place to stop for lunch or a midday snack. Below are three recommendations at the market: the duck confit at Monte Mar, the tuna tartare at Tartar-la and the eggy custard at Nos E Mais Bolos. 

Duck Confit with parsnip puree

Duck Confit with parsnip puree

Tuna tartare

Tuna tartare

Eggy custard

Eggy custard

A Cevicheria- This was a highlight of our Lisbon trip. True to its name this restaurant is a celebration of seafood and all the flavors that Portugal has to offer. If you're hungry then definitely do the tasting menu as it's a steal for how delicious each dish was. We ordered individually and were impressed with how harmoniously all the dishes went together. Though they don't take reservations this restaurant is worth the wait (yes, you should expect one).

Complimentary corn bread and squid ink chips

Complimentary corn bread and squid ink chips

Portuguese ceviche- codfish, octopus, mashed lupin beans and tomato cream

Portuguese ceviche- codfish, octopus, mashed lupin beans and tomato cream

Mixed Causa- Mashed potato, smoked mackerel, horseradish mayonnaise, salmon tartare, scallop, kimchi and wasabi

Mixed Causa- Mashed potato, smoked mackerel, horseradish mayonnaise, salmon tartare, scallop, kimchi and wasabi

Sea Quinoto- quinoa, shrimp, cockle, mussel,White Fish, seaweed, oyster foam and kambu

Sea Quinoto- quinoa, shrimp, cockle, mussel,White Fish, seaweed, oyster foam and kambu

O Talho's Tartare Taco- beef tartare, horseradish cream and taco

O Talho's Tartare Taco- beef tartare, horseradish cream and taco

Chocolate, peanuts, banana and aji panca- Brownie and cream chocolate, peanuts, aji panca meringue and banana

Chocolate, peanuts, banana and aji panca- Brownie and cream chocolate, peanuts, aji panca meringue and banana

Tascantiga (Sintra)- Firstly you should take the 1 hour 10 minute train ride to Sintra. The Moorish Castle and Pena Palace is unlike anything else. Grand, regal, breathtaking are a few words that come to mind when I think of these places. Secondly if you do find yourself in Sintra then stop by this great local restaurant, Tascantiga. The meats and fish are so fresh. I loved their simple flavors full of lemon, olive oil and vegetables. It felt so homey and welcoming.

Garlic large prawns in lemon broth and beef with vegetable stew

Garlic large prawns in lemon broth and beef with vegetable stew

Pasteis de Belem- It won't be a trip to Lisbon if we didn't come to this iconic pastry shop. The egg tarts are delicious especially the pastry. The line moves quickly (especially in the low tourist seasons) and it's worth the euro!

Egg Tart

Egg Tart

A Praca- A Praca is located in LX Factory which is a very Brooklyn type space with converted warehouses and rooftop bars. You'll feel all the Brooklyn feels when you spend the day in LX Factory. While there are a lot of great food options in the area, A Praca was where we stopped for a late lunch and a strong pitcher of sangria. Great food with some Americanized dishes just in case you miss home (which I doubt).

Baked goat cheese with honey

Baked goat cheese with honey

Cafe Principe Real- We had a the pleasure of staying at the Memmo Principe Real Hotel in Lisbon which not only came with luxurious amenities, first class service and sweeping views of Lisbon but also a delicious restaurant a few feet away from our room. The restaurant is gorgeous and decorated in bold colors overlooking Lisbon. Regardless if you're a guest at the hotel or if you just want delicious seafood you can count on Cafe Principe Real to deliver

Grouper, shrimp and coconut curry with basmati rice, papadum and mango chutney

Grouper, shrimp and coconut curry with basmati rice, papadum and mango chutney

São Tomé Chocolate 70% Chocolate with banana and salted caramel praliné

São Tomé Chocolate 70% Chocolate with banana and salted caramel praliné

O Asiatico- The brilliant chef that brought you A Cevicheria, Check Kiko, brings you into a world of Portuguese Asian flavors at O Asiatico. There is a wide range of Asian influences here from Thailand, Japan, Korea to Nepal. And while you can still order ceviche and other seafood dishes you will be happy to devour some of the delicious meat dishes here. 

Coconut tuna ceviche with tapioaca 

Coconut tuna ceviche with tapioaca 

Vietnamese noodles with lobster and coconut

Vietnamese noodles with lobster and coconut

Thai rice with piglet: belly of piglet, Thai rice and vegetables.

Thai rice with piglet: belly of piglet, Thai rice and vegetables.

Dumplings in Tom Yum soup

Dumplings in Tom Yum soup

Thai roast beef, wasabi crema, lotus root chips and mushrooms

Thai roast beef, wasabi crema, lotus root chips and mushrooms

Black chocolate cake and wasabi, cream cream and red fruit

Black chocolate cake and wasabi, cream cream and red fruit

Sticky Rice, grilled banana and Vietnamese coffee ice cream

Sticky Rice, grilled banana and Vietnamese coffee ice cream

The DeBruce is your ultimate Catskills getaway

The DeBruce will always hold a special place in my heart because there's where I got engaged!!! Every part of that moment was surreal and luckily my fiancé timed it so well that after we got engaged there was a 9 course dinner awaiting me in the glass windowed dining room at the DeBruce. The DeBruce offers much more than just impeccable farm to table food. This place meets all the criteria of a luxurious Catskill getaway complete with your own hiking trails, streams of water, an incredible chef on call, pool side lounging, flyfishing and a bar just steps away from your room. Your per night cost covers breakfast every morning and a special 5 course dinner on Friday night as well as the signature 9 course tasting menu on Saturday night. Chef Aksel Theilkuhl lives on the property and cooks every night with his close knit team based upon the items they forage in the woods right behind the property. This luxurious B&B is a dream come true. 

The photos below are from The DeBruce's signature 9 course tasting menu-

Foraging: fiddleheads, daisy, berries, yarrow flowers

Foraging: fiddleheads, daisy, berries, yarrow flowers

Chicken Liver- country rye, pickled wild strawberries, sweet & sour onion

Chicken Liver- country rye, pickled wild strawberries, sweet & sour onion

Summer Garden

Summer Garden

Trout- cured & cold smoked, last season's pickles

Trout- cured & cold smoked, last season's pickles

Corn- empanada, pork belly, nectar

Corn- empanada, pork belly, nectar

Mushroom- clover & timothy hay, blueberry wood

Mushroom- clover & timothy hay, blueberry wood

Rabbit- in a meadow

Rabbit- in a meadow

Display of after dinner cheese and desserts

Display of after dinner cheese and desserts

Yes you can eat for under $20 in NYC

The NYC dining scene thrives because of the diversity of food it offers. Whether it is Iranian, Ethiopian, Peruvian, Thai, Italian, Bengali...we have an array of ethnic cuisine that is celebrated and envied around the world. Luckily we can enjoy all these cuisines without having to break the bank. Gone are the days where eating French food meant that you needed to spend at least $100 or that a good sushi roll had to be at least $8. As our city continues to grow and diversify, not only are our food options increasing but we can access these foods on a budget. 

Below are my favorite places to dine for under $20. This list will continually be updated so stay tuned! 

Breakfast/Brunch

Bluestone Lane- Bluestone is what I wish all healthy food could be. Their avocado toast and grain bowls are not only good for you but absolutely delicious. Their West Village location is perfect for people watching.

Two Hands Restaurant- Two Hands has one of my favorite avocado toasts, which comes with all the fixings like pepitas, shallots, cilantro, sesame, chilli and lime at $12. You can get other Aussie fare here like smashed peas on toast which is $15 or build your own egg breakfast for $8. I find the prices fair especially in a place like Tribeca. Also the space is gorgeous. Brunch dates here are so much fun.

White Gold Butchers- The sandwiches at this place are drool worthy. Their chopped cheese, meatball parm and egg & cheese sandwiches which, all range from $5-$9 are the definition of breakfast goals. 

Absolute Bagels- These bagels are my favorite in the city. The smell of the bagels in the oven fills the street around 8am and a line forms on the weekends. The prices of the bagels depends on the toppings but you can expect to pay around $3-5. Lox will cost a bit more. 

12 Chairs- What if I told you that you can eat the best shakshuka in the city for $12? Well you would have to believe me because you can find it at 12 Chairs. If you're dining with a friend spoil yourselves by sharing the labne that changed my life for an extra $9. 

Hearth Restaurant- Hearth offers comfort Italian food for brunch which you're going to love. Instead of the typical pasta and pizza that most Italian brunch spots offer you can score a buttery meatball and polenta dish for $15. Their apple cider donut holes with cinnamon are also worth the $5.

Dimes- Dimes brings Japanese/Californian inspired brunch to NYC. Brunch dishes here are on the smaller side and range from $8-$13 but the food is good for breakfast. I enjoyed their selections of toasts that comes with a variety of toppings.

Bar Virage- I love the ambience of Bar Virage. Everything is laid back, the staff is friendly and of course the brunch selection is great. Their chicken shawarma is delicious and comes with fries ($13) and I love the runny eggs in their shakshuka ($14).

Cafe Mogador- This place is a bit on the higher end of your $20 budget but it's worth it for everything you get. For $18 you get your choice of egg dish, coffee, fresh orange juice, roasted potatoes and greens. The egg dishes are very popular and you can definitely expect to see a line on weekends.

Irving Farm- Irving Farm is perfect for a sit down breakfast or to grab something quick to go. You can select from their long list of pastries, hot sandwiches, platters, salads, bagels and much more. Their coffee, lattes and teas are equally delicious. 

Lunch

2nd City- This is the ultimate Filipino fast comfort food spot. Their fusion tacos, burritos, bowls, sandwiches are all under $10 with a few exceptions (like the poke bowl) and it's ridiculously delicious. Their Adobo-Rito ($7.95), a chicken burrito with kimchi fried rice will keep you full till dinner time and you will savor every bite.

Sushi Yasaka- Sushi Yasaka has the best combination of well priced and high quality sushi in the city. Luckily you can enjoy their delicious rolls, chirashi, bento boxes on their lunch menu which is priced from $11-$16. The prices are a steal given how good the sushi is.

Xi'an Famous Foods- Xi'an is one my favorite places to eat in the city. Their food is consistent, wallet friendly and literally spices up my day. I prefer getting their burger options (stewed lamb or pulled pork) which range from $4-6 or dumplings (spinach or lamb) that are around $8-$9 for lunch. I like to reserve their noodle dishes for dinner since they are on the heavier side. 

Tacombi- I love the tacos at Tacombi but I may be even fonder of the sauces. An order of their barbacoa and my favorite crispy fish tacos will set you back around $11. I also love the laid back vibe of this place and the taco truck inside the restaurant. It gives me California vibes right here in NYC! 

PC: @tastesbetterhere

PC: @tastesbetterhere

Peacefood Cafe- Although Peacefood caters to the vegans and vegetarians, meat lovers like myself can easily have lunch here any day. Their chickpea fries, 'un-chicken' tender and chili bowl will make you forget you're not eating meat. Lunch selections range from $8-$14. 

Parisi Bakery- If you wanted the perfect Italian sandwich with the ideal meat to cheese ratio on homemade bread then Parisi is your place. The sandwiches are enormous and ideal for sharing. The fan favorite is The Dennis and you can get it for around $11. They are cash only so have some in handy! 

PC: @onehungryjew

PC: @onehungryjew

Pokeworks- There are so many poke places in NYC now but I'm a fan of how much poke they put on the rice here. The lines can be frustrating but they have gotten much better (especially in Midtown during the lunch rush) and the Hawaiian bowl is very delicious ($12.95). 

Los Tacos No.1- These tacos may be the best in NYC and you can get them at a steal. The tacos all range around $3.50 and you will be tempted to order more than $20 worth. 

Beyond Sushi- Before you rush to judgement on vegetarian sushi please trust that this place knows what they are doing. The sushi actually tastes like real sushi. They also serve it with wasabi and soy sauce so you get the whole sushi experience...but with vegetables.  

Taim Falafel- Taim's sabich and falafel sandwiches are delicious. Their sabich is my favorite in the city. The menu changes often as they continue to do collaborations with famous chefs so you'll never get bored ordering from here. Prices range from $7-$12 depending on whether you want sandwiches or platters.

Dinner

Xi'ans Famous Foods- I love having the noodle dishes for dinner. The noodles are thick, full of flavor and very filling. The broth can be made as spicy as you like (or not) and you have a few options for which proteins you want. Prices range from $9.95-$13.

Keste Pizza & Vino- Keste offers consistently good pizza. The classic red/white personal pizzas range from $7-$20 so you'll have a lot of options to choose from. The special pizzas are usually $20+ but don't fret because their pies are all delicious regardless of price.

PC: @noleftovers

PC: @noleftovers

Jeepney- Jeepney is as real as it gets when it comes to Filipino fast food. The menu is meant to be shared tapas style so I recommend an order of the lumpia ($8), pancit ($13) and kare kare fried chicken ($19) for two people which will cost each person around $20.

PC: @kathryncrosby

PC: @kathryncrosby

Han Dynasty- Han Dynasty is one of my favorite restaurants in the city. I love the quality, portion size and prices at this restaurant. The food here is meant to be shared family style and I recommend getting an order of their dan dan noodles which are only $6 along with one or two heavier meat/vegetable curry dish which ranges from $7-$10. 

Mighty Quinns- If you want quality barbecue then check out Mighty Quinns. If you get the half pound portion of meats ($9-$11) with some sides ($4-$8) you'll definitely be full and satisfied.

PC: @thedishelinguide

PC: @thedishelinguide

Motorino- If you are a pizza lover like me then you can usually finish a personal pie without a problem. At Motorino however, the pies are a bit bigger than usual with heavy toppings so it may be worth it to share one pie ($11-$19) and order antipasti instead. I love the meatball pie albeit it is rich but worth the calorie spend! 

PC: @jackie_mey

PC: @jackie_mey

Somtum Der- I had Somtum Der in Bangkok and fell in love with their salads. The salads are tangy, the dressing is sweet and tangy and best of all you can add spicy meats to it. Their noodles and meat dishes are equally delicious. This is definitely a place to share food so you can each expect to spend around $20 each for about 4 dishes. 

PC: somtumdernyc

PC: somtumdernyc

Awash- Some of the best Ethiopian food I've had thus far has been at Awash. Both their portions and price are generous. You can get any of the beef, chicken, vegetable or lamb platters from a $13-$15.50 price range. There have been times where I couldn't get through my individual platter because there was so much food. This is a go to for a cheap yet tasty dinner option. 

PC: foodiesmalls

PC: foodiesmalls

Sweet Chick- Southern comfort food for dinner is hands down the best. The chicken and waffle dishes which you can customize range from $17-$19. There are other great dishes like the fried chicken parmesan ($18) and chicken pot pie ($18) but they're known for their chicken and waffles and boy do they deliver.