Lisbon food to try
Best Foods to Try In Lisbon!
While there are some of us who travel to check out the historic sites, most popular attractions or best beaches, there is one other thing that a lot of us place our focus on and that’s finding the best food.
Portugal is a magical place full of pristine and extravagant coastlines, full blush mountainous areas and cities that won’t quit. As a small country, approximately 561 km in length and 218 km in width. It is one of those countries that you could truly see all of it in a short time if you have the time. Portugal is also a country that receives a lot of praise for its food. They create beautifully intoxicating combinations of their fresh local food that makes you want to physically dive into your dish and live there.
However, today we will be focusing exclusively on the historical and captivating city of Lisbon. With a population of ~3 million people, there are traditional dishes you MUST try while visiting this 2700-year-old city.
Below, we have the top 6 traditional foods to try in Lisbon!
Pastel de Nata
The Pastel De Nata, think Portuguese style sweet egg tart. It will be on every list that you ever see of foods to try in Portugal, and that’s because it is the countries favourite and most popular pastry foods. Coupled with a coffee, mainly always served as an espresso (called café) it is the perfect sweet pairing and morning starter or afternoon pick me up. What’s great about this traditional sweet treat is that it’s not only the unbeatable combination of filo crust to the egg custard mixture, but also that the egg custard mixture does not have an eggy taste as often served in other countries.
What’s perfect about buying a Pastel De Nata in Lisbon is that where it all began is located exactly there. Pastéis de Belém began making these little buckets of heaven in 1837 using a secret recipe recreated every day. The restaurant is beautiful and the smell is alluring. Be sure to order more than one and take a look at some of the other baked goods they have available.
The bifana is a simple yet special meal. Either eaten as a snack on the side of the road or enjoyed as a meal in a restaurant, you really can’t beat a delicious and fairly hearty meat and bread sandwich. To be specific, a bifana consists of a slice of pork that has been marinated in white wine and a lot of garlic. It is then fried and placed into a fresh bun, which is always delightful in itself. You can add some mustard or hot sauce or just keep it plain and simple which is a lot of foodies preferred option. Feel free to order a beer alongside it too!
Anthony Bourdain ate his delicious bifana at Otrevo, so you may as well just head straight there.
Bacalhau (said as back-a-lee-aou), may take you some time to pronounce properly, but you’ll find almost every Portuguese person will say some form of this fish will be their favourite dish.
Let’s break down Bacalhau. Basically, we are looking at a preserved codfish. Yep, despite its endless coastline and a mass amount of local seafood, the Portuguese still devour this salted fish. This fish has been around forever and there are even 365 different ways it can be cooked. The most popular dish you will probably see is:
• Bacalhau a Braz: what we would consider the most popular dish consists of shredded cod mixed with potatoes, eggs, onions, chopped parsley, garlic and olives.
• Bacalhau com Nata: a personal favourite. Cubed cod cooked in cream and topped with cheese.
• Bacalhau com Broa: are chunks of codfish, topped with sprinkles of cornbread and baked to make the top nice and crispy.
• Pasteis de Bacalhau: will be found in all different places around Lisbon. Think croquette but instead with codfish. It is mixed with potatoes, herbs and fried into a little fish cake.
Where to try some traditional Bacalhau dishes? At the A Casa do Bacalhau of course. You can’t beat a restaurant that’s literally called “House of Bacalhau”
When we think of sardines, we often think of tinned salty fish, which you are not 100% wrong in saying and you can actually buy famous tinned sardines in Portugal. The fresh stuff though is *chefs kiss* and a surprising delight if you haven’t tried it before. During the summer these little swimmers get surprisingly big and plumpy, perfectly grilled on the BBQ and enjoyed with some bread and a tomato salad or with roasted bell pepper and boiled potatoes. Once you get one whiff of a BBQ sardine, you’ll be able to follow the smell around wherever you go. Check out the food stalls everywhere during the summer to find cheap sardines or attend the festival Foral de Santa Luzia in Alfama.
As mentioned, you can also buy these little guys tinned and they are not only a culinary experience but a bit of an attraction as well. You can check out the Conserveira de Lisboa, Loja das Conservas and A Vida Portuguesa.
A surprising dish that will make your taste buds both water and sit in confusion. This dish is hearty but absolutely delicious and a must-try not only while visiting Lisbon but visiting Portugal in general. What makes this dish so interesting? It’s the fact that it is cooked with pickles, giving it an acidic but light taste to the heavier cubed pork or beef. Add some mustard and chilli and you have yourself a stew that you’ll crave later.
Every restaurant has its own version, but some great spots to go to are Atalho Real and Sala de Corte.
A simple yet delicious try. The Chourico is much like its family member Chorizo in Spain, however a little less spicy. Some restaurants will deliver a round of this delicious meat still on fire, but Lisboetas also simply eat it as a snack or a little extra punch in their cooking. You can find Chourico very easily in Lisbon, however, the Chourico Assado is where you can get still inflamed if you’d like.
Piri Piri Chicken – while the original is found a bit more south of Lisbon in a town called Guia, you can still find some delicious spicy BBQ chicken up north.
Cozido – more suitable for the whole family, you can enjoy a pot of pork and beef chunks, chicken, chourico and blood pudding, carrots, potatoes, cabbage and turnips.
Alheira – a mix of chicken, duck, and veal sausage which was meant to fool people into believing it was pork.
Feijoada – originally from Brazil and known as a Brazilian dish, this pork and bean stew is both hearty and scrumptious.
Azeitao Cheese – is a cheese lover’s dream and one you should most definitely try. Think of a round of raw sheep’s milk cheese made in a town close by that can be eaten with a spoon because of its ooey-gooey meltiness.
There is so much delicious food to try in Lisbon and if you’re a foodie like us, you’ll be going to bed at night with a happy stomach and excitement for what’s to come next.
Each day can be filled with new delicious meals and snacks to eat and can be paired with some of Portugal’s excellent wine or port selection. Once the water comes over to ask how you’re doing, make sure to tell them “sim, muito bom!”Bon Appetite!