Exploring by foot is one of my favourite things to do after arriving in a new city. While visiting Lisbon I was reminded of exactly why that is when I by chance walked through the enchanting Mouraria neighbourhood. Situated close to the popular Alfama district and the Castelo Sao Jorge, the neighbourhood has preserved its old-world charm and is full of character and soul.
I stumbled upon Mouraria on my first night in Lisbon, we arrived quite late on a Friday so I ventured down from our apartment near the Castelo Sao Jorge in search of a grocery store that was still open (as most things close in the Old Town at 9pm). I ended up venturing further afield than I was anticipating and walked straight through Mouraria.
Compared to the sleepy Old Town, the Mouraria is full of life on a Friday night. There was a number of locals enjoying drinks outside the small bars, live fado music was being played in a number of the restaurants (it is actually believed that the Rua da Guia in Mouraria was the birthplace of traditional fado music). There was even a spot with some pop-up bars and dj's playing a mix of reggae and dance music on this particular night.
After an unexpectedly lively Friday night, I made a point of going back to visit the Mouraria during the day. The area is much more serene in the daytime, which gives you a chance to take in all the charming little details, from interesting doorways to the photography project by Camilla Watson which is displayed throughout the area telling a tale of everyday life in Mouraria.
I actually had my favourite meal, possibly of the whole week, in the Mouraria area. At the Cantinho do Aziz, a Mozambique restaurant where you can sample a flavour of Portugese Africa. The family owned restaurant has been in Lisbon for over thirty years, during which time they have perfected the art of samosas, hands down the best I've ever had! Be warned, the peri-peri sauce which comes as a side is eye-wateringly hot. The family have just opened their second restaurant in Leeds, I know where I will be heading when I get my next samosa craving!