A trove of tinned fish might not sound like the end of everyone’s ideal treasure hunt, but in Lisbon the beautifully packaged tins of sardines, mackerel and more are worth hunting down.
Whether you want to peruse the technicoloured packaging on display, or grab a few souvenirs to take home (careful with that hand luggage allowance!), Conserveira de Lisboa is a great shop to visit. If you don’t know your labels, the hundreds of combinations of make and fish variety can be overwhelming (who really knows their Minhota from their Tricana and Minor?!), so head to Sol e Pesca to try before you buy.
Though the street can be hard to find in the warren of pretty balcony-lined slopes, once you’re on Rua Nova do Carvalho you can’t miss the pink-painted concrete pavement outside. Tinned fish is given its full glory in this former fishing tackle shop, with cabinets displaying hundreds of varieties for you to choose from, as you would a new piece of jewellery.
Flash back to play-school days and sit at the mismatched coloured tables and chairs amongst fishing rods and fisherman’s paraphernalia in a nod to the bar’s former life as a fisherman’s go-to-store. Mackerel in olive oil was meaty and served with fresh lemon, and sardines came in a richer herb and tomato sauce – both great bread-dipping snacks.
Sol e Pesca really comes to life in the evening, when cool young things spill out onto the colourful pavement and sip on draught beer well into the night. If you’re not a night owl, Sol e Pesca makes an ideal pit stop between wandering round the beautiful shops of Lisbon. My favourite is A Vida Portugesa, particularly the nearby Chiado branch, where Portugese retro-packaging fits snuggly into the original wooden cabinets of the former perfume factory David & David. Fill your basket with kitsch kitchen items, olive oils, soaps, and not forgetting tinned fish – this is a Christmas present one-stop-shop for every member of the family.