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Ice cream shops may revise their hours and menus due to COVID-19. Some may close, either temporarily or permanently, without notice. Be sure to check websites for updated information.
Our unrelenting obsession for creamy gelato has fueled our travel around the globe. We’re not exaggerating. Thanks to this sweet obsession, we’ve licked luscious ice cream cones in cities like Cincinnatti, Girona and Cape Town as well as in Bologna, gelato’s motherland.
But what about Lisbon? Before we moved to Portugal’s capital city in 2019, we weren’t sure if we’d find great ice cream in our new home city. After all, the pastel de nata is this city’s number one Portuguese dessert.
Spoiler Alert – Our worries were unfounded. Lisbon has great ice cream if you know where to find it.
Eating Ice Cream in Lisbon
After more than a year and many scoops eaten for ‘research’ purposes, we’re happy to report that Lisbon’s ice cream and gelato scene is booming. Locals and tourists queue for sweet treats both on weekends and during the week after eating brunch at Lisbon cafes, pizza for lunch or dinner at one of Lisbon’s best restaurants.
When we think about it, this popularity makes sense. Not only does an ice cream cone make an ideal treat after a day of walking up and down Lisbon’s hilly streets, but it also serves as a cooling antidote to warm Lisbon temperatures.
The Portuguese translation for gelato is gelados. This translation is as easy to remember as it is to pronounce.
The Best Lisbon Ice Cream Shops
While the city has more pastelarias (bakeries) than gelaterias (gelato shops), finding ice cream in Lisbon is the opposite of a challenge. The key is knowing where to achieve gelato bliss while avoiding wasted calories.
1. Gelato Daverro
Gelato Davvero lives up to a name that directly translates to really gelato. This gelateria squeaks its way to our number one spot thanks to the quality of its traditional Italian-style gelato served with a spatula into crunchy cones. Free whipped cream and a comfortable dining room seal the deal in this unofficial contest.
Expect to choose from dozens of flavors ranging from the traditional (chocolate, pistachio and stracciatella) to the sublime (basil, cassata and ricotta with walnuts and fig). Since Davvero sources fresh fruit at the nearby Mercado Ribeira, fruit flavors like strawberry, melon and avocado are also worth a try.
Filippo Licitra, an original partner of Nannarella (see below) opened the original Davvero with partner Riccardo Farabegoli in 2015. The duo now has several locations in Lisbon (including one at the Time Out Market) and beyond.
Not sure what to order? No problem. This gelateria doesn’t limit the number of flavors regardless of the size of your cup or cone.
Gelato Davvero has multiple Lisbon locations. Our favorite gelateria is located at Rua Ribeira Nova 36, 1200-377 Lisboa, Portugal.
Popular with locals since it opened in Lisbon’s São Bento neighborhood in 2013, Nannarella achieved international fame when Phil Rosenthal filmed a segment of Somebody Feed Phil at the gelateria in 2018. The opposite of a hidden gem, crowds queue all day, every day to eat this popular gelateria’s Italian-style gelato
The gelato here rivals the scoops served at Gelato Daverro (see above), which isn’t surprising since Constanza Ventura opened the shop with former partner Riccardo Farabegoli who now co-owns Daverro. The two shops are similar in many ways including their natural flavors, spatula serving techniques and complimentary puffs of panna montata (Italian whipped cream).
We’ve never eaten a bad flavor at Nannarella whether we’ve ordered Italian classics or seasonal flavors. During our most recent visit, seasonal flavors included chocolate sorbet, cheesecake, banana, blueberry and fig. Not surprisingly, many locals consider Nannarella’s ice cream to be the best gelato in Lisbon.
Although Nannarella has a small dining room, you can enjoy your gelato on a bench at nearby Praça da Constituição de 1976.
Nannarella is located at Rua Nova da Piedade 64A, 1200-299 Lisboa, Portugal.
** Important Update – Pascoalini’s Lisbon location is now permanently closed. **
Pascoalini is another gelateria that combines Portuguese ice cream flavors with Italian gelato techniques. Rui Pascoalinho trained in Bologna before opening the original Pascoalini in Santarém in 2013. He opened the Lisbon location four years later.
Food travelers who ascend Lisbon’s steep hills to reach Pascoalini’s Príncipe Real shop will be rewarded with a tempting array of creamy ice cream flavors including fresh fruit varieties fit for vegans. Highlight flavors include ovos moles and pampilho inspired by Ribatejo pastries popular in Central Portugal.
Try a new-to-you flavor from Pascoalini’s rotating gelato menu. You can eat chocolate, strawberry and vanilla back home.
Pascoalini was located at Rua da Palmeira 28B, 1200-165 Lisbon, Portugal. This Lisbon location is now permanently closed.
4. Gelados Conchanata
Summertime is a happy time in Lisbon’s Alvalade neighborhood because this is the season when Conchanata is open for business. It’s true. The popular Lisbon ice cream shop takes an annual winter break every year.
Quintilio and Alfo Tarlattini (a father and son duo of Italian descent) opened the Italian-style gelateria more than 70 years ago. Still in the same family, Michele Tarlattini runs the shop today.
Conchanata’s flavors skew traditional compared to flavors found at other Lisbon gelato shops. Guests can choose from wholesome varieties like chocolate, vanilla and hazelnut as well lactose-free varieties like strawberry, pineapple and mango.
Splurge and order a Conchanata cup. A party in a bowl with four ice cream scoops and lots of strawberry syrup, this dish is Conchanata’s signature sundae. If you don’t like strawberry syrup, splurge on a banana split instead.
Gelados Conchanata is located at Avenida da Igreja 28A, 1700-237 Lisboa, Portugal.
Known for its red and white striped decor, Gelados Santini has been a local ice cream favorite since Atillio Santini channeled his Italian heritage and opened the original Estoril location in 1948. Yes, Santini is yet another Portuguese ice cream operation with Italian roots.
Today, Santini has multiple Portuguese locations in the Lisbon metropolitan area and as far north as Porto. Each shop serves a dizzying number of artisanal flavors, all of them 100% natural and prepared without preservatives.
Pulled like a magnet by the shop’s distinctive red and white stripes, we first tried Santini’s ice cream in Cascais and have since returned multiple times to the Chiado shop in Lisbon. Our nephew Max gave Santini a big thumbs up during his inaugural visit last year, validating Santini’s inclusion in this list.
Sample a few flavors before you decide what to order. Word on the street is that strawberry is Santini’s most popular flavor, though raspberry and salted caramel peanut rarely disappoint.
Santini has multiple gelaterias. Our favorite is the shop at Rua do Carmo 88, 1100-581, Lisboa, Portugal.
Bonus – Alba Gelato in Sintra
Most visitors to Lisbon eventually take a day trip to Sintra to see sites like the Pena Palace (Palácio Nacional de Pena) and the Moorish Castle (Castelo dos Mouros). We did the same during our first visit to Lisbon. However, during that Lisbon trip in 2007, we didn’t eat ice cream in Sintra.
Now we know to take an ice cream break at Alba Gelato when we visit Sintra. Owner Maria Borga learned traditional gelato skills at Bologna’s Carpigiani Gelato University before opening her Sintra gelateria in 2018.
Popular flavors include cinnamon, salted caramel and pistachio as well as white coffee and dark chocolate. Try two or three flavors in a cone, cup or crêpe if you’re overwhelmed by the options.
End your Sintra day trip with ice cream at Alba Gelato. The ice cream shop is a short walk from the train station.
Alba Gelato is located at Alameda Combatentes da Grande Guerra 4, 2710-246 Sintra, Portugal.
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About the Authors
Daryl & Mindi Hirsch
Saveur Magazine’s BEST TRAVEL BLOG award winners Daryl and Mindi Hirsch share their culinary travel experiences and recipes on the 2foodtrippers website and YouTube. The married Food and Travel content creators live in Lisbon, Portugal.