Skip to primary navigation Skip to content Skip to footer
Back to Blog

Traditional Portuguese Breakfast: What to Eat in Lisbon

Traditional Portuguese Breakfast: What to Eat in Lisbon

When you’re in Lisbon, skip the big coffee chains and cafés and eat breakfast like the locals do. A traditional Portuguese breakfast is quite simple in comparison to other countries, but it really hits the spot and gets you going for the day. So what do residents in Lisbon eat to fuel up in the morning? Here are some of the staples they can’t get enough of.

Portuguese coffee

Traditional Portuguese breakfast always includes coffee!

Photo by WordRidden on VisualHunt / CC BY

No breakfast in Lisbon is complete without a coffee (or two, or three!). There are several ways to order it, just like when ordering coffee in Spain, but any way that you order it serves as the perfect way to start off your breakfast. Like many European countries, the Portuguese love espresso and drink it black or with varying amounts of milk. One cup has enough kick to get you going in the morning, but Lisbon’s residents love to drink it all day long. A mid-morning coffee around 11AM perks you up until the after lunch coffee, which is another essential to get through the day.

Fresh-squeezed orange juice

Southern Portugal grows an abundance of citrus fruits, so the Portuguese incorporate these delicious fruits into their breakfast routine on the daily. Forget orange juice from a box because you can get the real thing, squeezed to order, for just a few euros. Fresh orange juice is an important and tasty part of the traditional Portuguese breakfast as a source of vitamins and nutrients. One glass is a wonderful dose of your necessary daily Vitamin C!

See more: Petiscos: All the Best in Lisbon to Eat Like a Local


Breakfast in Lisbon is heavy on the carbs, even though the meal in general is light. Most commonly, the Portuguese will have something simple, like toast with butter, however, there are a few more bread selections to choose from.

  • Croissant: either plain or with ham and cheese for a bit more sustenance.
  • Toast: as mentioned, usually with butter. However, some people swap out butter for fruit jelly. There is also a wide variety of breads to choose from, as folks in Lisbon take their carbs seriously. This includes the popular papo seco, a small roll that can be eaten as is or stuffed, like a small sandwich.
  • Sandwiches: bread and some filling. Usually, a small breakfast sandwich includes ham, cheese, or both.


A pastel de nata is a great traditional Portuguese breakfast!

Photo by wuestenigel on VisualHunt / CC BY

If you fancy something sweet rather than savory, there are a plethora of pastries at your disposition in Lisbon. Some of the most popular are:

  • Pastel de nata: Portugal’s most famous sweet treat. These custard tarts are great as a part of a traditional Portuguese breakfast, or any time of day, really!
  • Pão de ló: a simple spongecake that’s perfect for dipping in coffee. It only contains 3 ingredients: flour, sugar and eggs. Light, fluffy, and delicious!
  • Bola de Berlim: what’s better for breakfast than a mouth-watering doughnut? This one is fried to perfection, filled with a rich, egg yolk filling, and then dusted in sugar. It’s quite filling, so you’ll be good to go for a while after eating one.

Want to know what the locals in Lisbon eat all day long? Join Food Lover Tour on an exciting culinary adventure and find out!