Portuguese cuisine is very interesting and in this post I advise what you must try during your stay in Lisbon. I am a gourmand and I will not miss the opportunity to try unknown dish or a local delicacy because after all it’s also a very important and interesting part of culture! I strongly encourage you to try Portuguese dishes. Are you going to Portugal and wondering what to eat? Below is a list of Portuguese courses that every foodie must try while in Portugal, plus a list of restaurants in Lisbon that I visit often and recommend.
Tremoços – lupine seeds are a popular snack served with beer. After harvesting, the seeds are poured with brine and subjected to heat treatment. They should be eaten without the skin.
Queijo – cheese – preferably a whole board of Portuguese cheeses right away :). Queijo amanteigado (buttery), requeijão, queijo curado, queijo queimoso, etc. The choice is incredible.
Pastel de bacalhau – smal balls made with salted and dried cod, potatoes, onions, eggs and parsley.
Peixinhos da horta – “fish from the garden” which means beans in tempura.
Amêijoas à Bulhão Pato – clams by the recipe of Bulhão Pato (Portuguese poet) – made with olive oil and butter, with a lot of garlic, coriander and lemon juice. Served hot.
Salada de polvo – octopus salad with finely chopped onion, coriander and olive oil.
Pica Pau is made of fried meat that is cut into small pieces and usually served with pickles. Originally, pica pau was made of pork, but you can also use beef. The meat is seasoned with garlic, olives, butter, mustard and beer.
Caracóis – snails boiled in broth with oregano, garlic and chilli peppers, perfect snack for summer days. Often served with toasted bread and garlic butter, which can be dipped in a broth sauce. At the beginning of May, on the windows of Portuguese bars and restaurants appear information awaited by many: Há Caracóis! (snails! / we have snails). According to the Portuguese tradition, snails season is in the months that do not have the letter “r”, that is from May to August.
Portuguese main courses
Sardinhas assadas – grilled sardines, served with boiled potatoes (batatas) and salad (salada). Popular in Lisbon in June for the celebration of Santos Populares.
Bacalhau – cod is the king of the Portuguese tables. It is bought as a salted and dried semi-finished product. Portuguese say that there are as many receipts to prepare cod as many days a year has. The most popular forms of serving are Bacalhau com natas (cod in a cream-béchamel sauce) and Bacalhau à Brás: pieces of salted cod, onions and thinly chopped fried potatoes, all combined with scrambled eggs. The dish is usually garnished with black olives and sprinkled with fresh coriander.
Polvo à lagareiro – octopus, olive oil, potatoes, grelos (rapini / rabe broccoli), and garlic.
Arroz de Marisco – Seafood rice usually served in the pot in which it has been cooked.
Carne de porco à alentejana – pork with clams (amêijoas), potatoes and coriander. Although the name might seem that the dish comes from Alentejo, it actually comes from Algarve and the name is a tribute to the wonderful pork from Alentejo.
Arroz do pato is oven-baked rice with small pieces of duck meat and slices of chouriço sausage. How something so simple can be so delicious?
Bife à Portuguesa – beef steak served with fried egg, French fries and sauce.
Naco na pedra is a piece of raw beef that is served on a hot stone with chopped garlic, salt and sauces. You fry the steak by yourself on that stone, cutting it into smaller pieces and turning it over.
Alheira – type of Portuguese sausage made from meat other than pork, such as veal, poultry or rabbit. The name of the dish comes from the Portuguese word for garlic (alho). Nowadays, however, alheira does not have to contain garlic, although garlic is still often added to it. In addition to meat, the most common ingredients are bread, oil, garlic and paprika.
Feijoada – beans with sausage.
Portuguese people love sweets – in patisseries you can try countless types of sweet delicacies. What to order for a dessert in a Portuguese restaurant or in a cafe?
Pastéis de Nata – layers of buttery and crunchy puff pastry, concealing a blissful pudding egg cream with an aroma of cinnamon, lemon and vanilla. Hot pastéis taste the best. Pastéis are more a cafe thing, you will not find them in a restaurant.
Baba de camelo – in free translation “camel’s saliva” – in fact, a caramel dessert.
Bolo bolacha – a coffee-flavored biscuit cake.
Mousse de chocolate – chocolate mousse. Be sure to ask for “cheirinho“: mousse de chocolate com cheirinho means with the addition of aguardente alcohol, which the waiter will pour into the dessert in front of our eyes.
For dessert, it is worth ordering café expresso – a small black coffee. Portuguese cannot live without it, you drink it for breakfast, on your way to work, and then all day long until dinner. The competition for classic espresso coffee (um café, uma bica) is a coffee with milk. With a large addition of milk (um galão), with a bit of milk (um garoto escuro or um pingado) or large black coffee with milk (meia de leite).
My favorite restaurants in Lisbon with Portuguese cuisine
Are you going to Lisbon and you wonder what to eat? Do you want to go to proven restaurants and try Portuguese dishes? Below are some suggestions on where to eat tasty in Lisbon. Share your favorite places, I will be happy to visit them.
Cantinho de São José (Avenida da Liberdade – MAP) – simple and tasty. Feel the atmosphere of the Portuguese tasca (simple restaurant)!
Lisboa Tu & Eu (Alfama – MAP) – Portuguese main courses in the form of starters. The perfect place to try several dishes at once.
Antikuario Cafe (Avenida da Liberdade – MAP) – a place with an atmosphere, modern restaurant inside an antique shop!
Satélite Da Graça (Largo da Graça – MAP) – simple cuisine but how delicious it is. I recommend trying Robalo – grilled sea bass.
Verde Minho (Centro – MAP) – small family restaurant – delicious meat, homemade desserts and green wine from the pourer.
O Aregos (Santos – MAP) – Portuguese, traditional and tasty. Try here the Naco na pedra (steak on hot stone).
31 d’Armada (Alcântara – MAP) – a modern restaurant with a beautiful garden.