Imagine it’s a hot summer day in Lisbon. The strong Mediterranean sun is bearing down on you. You’ve forgotten your hat and you look over at your friends, who all look equally scorched in the balmy afternoon. Suddenly, a group of tourists walks by you, each of them happily licking a dripping, colorful, delicious looking ice cream cone.
“Hey! Where’d you get that!?” You find yourself asking one of them. They politely wave their hands in some vague direction behind them before walking off.
“Thanks…” You reply, licking your parched lips. There’s only one thing left to do. Retrace their steps.
If this happens to you downtown in the Chiado, you’re in luck! Here, you have two of the best gelato stores in town. (We’ll also mention a third.)
First up for your viewing pleasure is Amorino. Mr. New Kid on the Block when it comes to premium gelato in Lisbon. This place sprang up last summer both on Rua Garrett in the Chiado and on Rua Augusta in the Baixa, decidedly premium real estate in Lisbon. The premium is reflected in the price. It’s 3,50 euros for the smallest cone or cup, with medium running 4,50 and a large 5,50. They are pretty generous with the portions though, especially if you know someone who works there (Thanks, J!!!). Is it worth it? Yes. Absolutely yes. The gelato is rich and decadent, smooth and really represents the advertised flavors well. Trust me, unless you are some sort of ice cream monster, a small is enough for most cravings, while a medium will send you into a sugar high heaven. I’ve yet to attempt the large, but I might do so for “research purposes” for the blog. I know, the sacrifices I have to make…
Now, let’s move on to the next premium gelato shop in Lisbon, Artisani.
This one is not located downtown but instead is located on Avenida Alvarez Cabral, near Rato and my beloved Jardim da Estrela. This place opened up about a year ago as well and has been a local favorite for Estrela residents. The cool thing about this place is that they have their kitchen open so you can check out the ice cream creation process. Oh, and they have swings! The ice cream is priced pretty standard for premium gelato, 2,50 small cone/cup (choice of two flavors), 3,50 medium cone/cup (choice of 3 flavors), and 4,50 for a large (choice of 4 flavors).
To tell the truth, out of the three, Artisani is my least favorite. This however, doesn’t mean that it isn’t good ice cream. It’s really good, but isn’t on the level of Amorino or Santini’s. But sometimes you just don’t feel like battling the long lines at Santini or at Amorino, so you come here for a casual cone, then go to the park. It depends on your mood.
Speaking of Santini’s…
Santini’s is the oldest and most famous gelato shop in Lisbon and in Cascais. It opened up in 1949 and has been a hit ever since. The one in Lisbon is famous for having a line out the door any hot and sunny day. It’s located on Rua do Carmo 9, next to Armazens do Chiado.
I really enjoy Santini because they have very distinctive and unusual flavors, like Walnut, Fig, and Imperial Cream (whatever that is). My recommendation when coming here for the first time is to get a medium (3,50, 3 flavors), pick one flavor that you know you like, and two that are totally new and unknown to you. I remember my first time quite clearly. It was a hot and sunny day, much like today. I waited 15 minutes in a long line to finally order my cone. I stood in front of this menu (it was different back then) and considered my options. Finally, I made my decision: Avela, Figo, and Manga. (Hazelnut, Fig, and Mango) I thought that I knew what mango ice cream tasted like. Boy was I wrong! The mango at Santini’s is out of this world. I’d never had pure hazelnut or fig ice cream before in my life. The mix was incredible.
Thanks again for stopping by Expat in Lisbon. I hope you enjoy your gelato while enjoying the famous Lisbon sunshine. As always,
Lisboa Espera Por Ti…