Traditional Food in Lisbon: the Essential Must-Eats
While there are a million reasons to visit Portugal, some of the best are tasty Portuguese dishes and foods! When you visit the Portuguese capital, there are a few dishes you need to try to get a real taste of Portuguese cuisine. Here are some that best represent traditional food in Lisbon that you’ll absolutely love!
Polvo à lagareiro
1794 kilometers of coastline means that the Portuguese enjoy plenty of fresh seafood all year round. One delicious seafood dish is polvo à lagareiro, a very traditional food in Lisbon. Boiled octopus is baked in the oven with potatoes that are usually sliced or smashed. Just before serving, the octopus and potatoes get drizzled in olive oil and sprinkled with parsley and garlic. If you love seafood, this is a must-eat.
Bacalhau à brás
If you seek traditional food in Lisbon, look no further than bacalhau à brás! Cod is the most popular fish in Portuguese cuisine and is a central part of many tasty dishes. Bacalhau à brás is on almost every menu due to its fame and popularity. Shredded potatoes, cod, onions, and scrambled eggs are topped with parsley and black olives to create this delectable dish. This dish originates from Lisbon, in fact from the beautiful Bairro Alto. Make sure to try this traditional food in Lisbon at least once during your trip!
Carne de porco alentejana
Pork and clams might sound like a strange combination, but the Portuguese absolutely love it. Small cubes of pork are marinated in white wine, garlic, paprika, salt, pepper, and herbs before they are fried and returned to the marinade. Small clams are tossed in until the steam opens them up and they’re ready to serve. Most often, fried potatoes and fresh cilantro finish off the dish. While carne de porco alentejana is from southern Portugal it’s a favorite in Lisbon, too.
See more: Why Winter is the Best Time Visit Lisbon
Just like in Spanish cuisine, grilled sardines are a delicacy among the locals. Especially during the summer, grilled sardines and other fish are some of the best things to eat in Portugal. In June, the popular street festival Festo de Santo Antonio is in full swing. You’ll find vendors cooking and selling sardines out on the street corners, fresh and ready to eat. The smell alone will have your stomach growling in no time!
Bolinhos de bacalhau
Who doesn’t love a golden-fried ball of tastiness? That’s exactly what you get when you order bolinhos de bacalhau, another traditional food in Lisbon where cod is the star of the show. These little cod cakes are a mix of fish, potatoes, onion, parsley, and eggs. The mixture is shaped into little balls or ovals and fried until crispy. The perfect bolinho de bacalhau should be golden and crisp on the outside and soft and creamy on the inside. This recipe is a Portuguese tradition, passed down among women in Portuguese families. Bolinhos de bacalhau can be eaten as an appetizer to share, or as a meal themselves.
Arroz de marisco
Arroz de marisco is Portugal’s answer to paella, and a must-eat when you’re in Lisbon. Rice is a staple in Portugal, as the average citizen eats about 17 kilograms each year! Arroz de marisco starts with seafood like lobster, clams, mussels, shrimp and other shellfish being stewed in spices. This results in a delicious sauce for the rice to soak up and bathe in. Traditional food in Lisbon doesn’t get more decadent than this!
Pastéis de nata
And of course, who could forget the dessert? Without a doubt, the most famous sweet treat in Portugal is the pastéis de nata, a tasty custard tart. This pastry is a symbol of Lisbon, and there’s no better place to try them than at Pastéis de Belém. This bakery has been number one in the pastéis game since 1837, using their top-secret recipe. Be sure to pick up a few extras for later when you’re craving another bite of creamy goodness!
If you want to try the best traditional food in Lisbon, join Food Lover Tour on any one of our tasty food tours! You’ll try amazing food, learn about Portuguese culture, and get a real taste of Lisbon!