Lifestyle & Culture

Sarah Nagaty in Portugal: My Top 5 places for winter socializing in chilly Lisbon

Lisbon, given its location in the South of Europe, is not really a place where central heating is a thing. The weather is never freezing cold, but it does not mean that it cannot get more than cold enough sometime starting mid-December till the end of February.

Many people would say they even feel colder indoors than outdoors. As I write this, at my dining table, I am in my winter robe, on top of a velvet sweatshirt, on top of a t-shirt along with thick pajama trousers, thermal socks and chunky snowman shaped home slippers and I am still cold.

There is no way around it, but the fact that it lasts only for three months or less makes it bearable. So outdoor culture is big in Lisbon.

Luckily, many cafés and restaurants have an outdoor heating option which allows you to stay warm while socializing safely under the current pandemic situation.

In the following list, there is something for everybody:

If you are looking for an outdoor space for just a cup of coffee, you will find that. If you feel like having Asian or Italian in a terrace, that is also here. If you have a budget of one euro, there are a couple of options down there for you. And if you do not care about spending 50 euros or more on an outing, you will also find your kind of place below.

Different as these recommendations are, they all allow you to socialize safely and warmly outdoors in beautiful Lisbon.

ZeroZero

R. da Escola Politécnica 32

For traditional Italian pizza made with the finest ingredients as well as some of the best cocktails and a to-die for Tiramisu, hit ZeroZero. The place has a beautiful outdoor patio which has heating throughout winter.

Tripadvisory rating: Four out of five stars (873 reviews).

Pizzas start at 11.50 euros and go to 17 euros.

You can see the menu here on Zomato.

Thai Garden

Av. Sacadura Cabral 12

If you love original Thai food, look no further, Thai Garden is the best. The service is amazing, there is a vegetarian menu, and sometimes they offer discounts if you book via The Fork app. The covered little patio is really cute and has heaters to keep you warm while enjoying your meal.

Tripadvisor rating: Five stars out of five, but only six reviews.

Prices range from about 8 euros to about 16 euros and you can see the menus here.

Bananacafé

Av. da Liberdade 227ª

Kiosks are definitely a thing in Lisbon and can be found everywhere. They give you the real vibe of the city and are convenient if you want to go somewhere near where you live as there is always a kiosk near you.

I fished out one which is quite central and has outdoor heating. Bananacafé is an old tram turned into a trendy café. The place is ideal if you only want to grab a cup of coffee or drink some beer with a snack.

Tripadvisor rating: 4 out of 5 stars, 85 reviews.

Coffee starts at 1 euro and beer starts at 1.80 euros. You can see the (blurry) menu here.

Quiosque das Amoreiras

Praça das Amoreiras 30

If you are looking for a kiosk with heating while enjoying a beautiful garden, then I totally recommend this one. You can have a walk in the beautiful garden, sit outdoors without freezing, and have coffee for a euro or less.

Google reviews – 4.5 stars out of 5, 356 reviews.

You can see the menu here on Zamato.

JNcQUOI

Av. da Liberdade 182 184

Fancy going somewhere fancy? And your budget allows for it? JNcQuoi (a play on je ne sais quoi) is not only wonderfully spacious with well-heated outdoor areas, but it also gives you a reason for you to dress up. Since the break out of the pandemic, we all can relate to that feeling of missing getting all dressed up and going somewhere nice. You can treat JncQuois as a bar, a restaurant or a café if you like. Try their cheese board with wine. AMAZING!

Tripadvisor rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars, 877 reviews

You can see the food menu here. You can see the wine menu here.

Entrées start at about 20 euros and go to 160 euros for the Beluga caviar.

Author’s note:

Let’s maintain an optimal amount of human presence in our lives
I know that not everybody accepts the concept of “safe socializing” and argue instead for zero socializing. I totally understand where they come from. However, it will be, soon, a whole year of damaged livelihoods, distance, anxiety, and loneliness for the entire planet.

Some people live alone, others live with people they do not resonate with. Others live with those they deeply love, but they need some personal space to maintain this deep love and care for them. Mental well-being is also crucial. Scientists have given us ways to co-exist around each other safely,
let’s not do away with human contact altogether.

Let’s maintain the minimum amount of human presence in our lives with the maximum precautions. One day, we will get rid of COVID- 19, but maybe not of the emotional scars it created.

We can’t obliterate the scars, but let’s fight them together rather than alone.

About the author:

Sarah Nagaty is a PhD researcher of cultural studies in Lisbon. She’s lived in Portugal for three years.

As a student of cultural studies, Sarah is drawn to what connects people from different backgrounds to new cultures and places, how they relate to their new surroundings and what kind of activities they could engage with in their new hometowns.

See all of Sarah’s Dispatches posts here.

See Dispatches’s Lisbon story archive here.

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