lisbon food

No matter where you travel, you must eat, right? Yes, you must, but what must you try when visiting Lisbon?

First, you want to try traditional Lisbon food to ensure you have the best culinary adventure in the sunny streets.

Here, I have a cheat sheet of all the traditional bites to eat. My favorite is the pasteis de nata and bifana, and my favorite spot to browse food stalls is the Time Out Market.

1. Pasteis de Nata

Manteigaria pasteis de nata

I first encountered the traditional Portuguese custard tart called pasteis de nata in Lisbon.

I had my fill at different spots enjoying these delicious custard-filled tarts. I found different crispy pastry bases, which you can only imagine.

As you bite the creamy filling, it melts in your mouth 👄 while you hear the flaky layers of pastry cracking.

My favorite spot to try them compared to Pasteis de Belem, a well-known spot, is Manteigaria.

Confeitaria Nacional and Pastelaria Aloma are also worth trying.

Hot Tip🔥: To learn more about where to find some of the best pasteis de nata, check out the complete guide here.

2. Bacalhau


Now, you may wonder what this strange name for Lisbon food could be. Well, it is salted cod, a staple Portuguese food.

The Portuguese dish arrived with the Vikings and is around 18% protein, but once dried, that protein increases to 80%.

The staple food gained popularity and was eaten on a Friday, considered a meat-free day.

There are still different ways to prepare this national dish, but the most popular is Pastéis de Bacalhau.

It is similar to a croquette. Bacalhau à Brás is mixed with olives, fried potatoes, and a scrambled egg. Bacalhau Ze do Pipo is covered with mayonnaise and baked.

Then you have Bacalhau à Gomes de Sá, which is shredded with potatoes, boiled eggs, olives, and caramelized onions.

3. Sardines


Okay, I can already see your eyebrow lifting thinking of a horrid fish in a can. Still, sardinhas is delicious 😋.

You can find sardines in cans in premium olive oil with additions like lots of garlic or chili.

It is served differently in the capital, such as sardines on toast with a crunchy red onion pickle.

Or try fresh sardines lightly grilled with a lemon slice on the side. The best time to try them is in summer when they are caught.

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4. Portuguese Sausage


If you see chouriço on the menu, try it. The sliced sausage with crispy bits is to die for.

Get stuck into them with some bread on the side to enjoy the sauce. While it has a Spanish cousin, it is not spicy food as they use paprika, which is more subtle.

The fascinating thing is that chefs will prepare it in a terracotta dish and flame it. It is a popular Lisbon food, and you must try it.

5. Piri Piri Chicken


You may have eaten piri piri chicken, or maybe not. But the Portuguese colony brought back chilies from Mozambique, and the local spicy food was born.

An important step in making these delicious foods is letting the chicken marinate in the peri for at least 24 hours. This allows the flavor to penetrate the meat.

Furthermore, this traditional food is believed to develop more flavor when served as roasted chicken.

When enjoyed at a restaurant, they usually serve it with a green salad with French fries 🍟.

Hot Tip🔥: The best way to enjoy this Lisbon food is Frango no Churrasco, Frango Piri Piri, or Frango Asado. For a sublime version of this chicken, go to Cantiho do Aziz.

6. Caldo Verde


Another must-eat Lisbon food is Caldo Verde, a national hot or chilled soup dish.

These delicious dishes are made with onion, chouriço, and garlic cooked together and blended into a puree. The chef then adds chopped kale and cooks it until it is wilted.

The chef adds more chouriço to give it a smokey taste. This is a popular dish in Portugal and a well-known dish for cold winter days.

It is also a traditional dish eaten with cornbread after midnight on New Year’s Eve.

7. Snails

Caracois, or snails, are popular in Europe and other countries, but they are prepared differently in the Portuguese capital.

You can find snails available on restaurant menus from May to September. Restaurants advertise them as há caracóis’ or temos caraóis’.

They serve it in a spicy broth flavor with garlic, olive oil, piri-piri, and oregano.

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8. Bifana


Now, this is one of my favorite treats when in Lisbon. It is just as popular as a burger, and the main ingredients are the same no matter where you buy it in the city.

You get a pork steak 🥩 seasoned with garlic and spices. The pork slices are seasoned with garlic and spices and topped with hot sauce or mustard.

Some places serve it on a crusty bread roll known as a Portuguese bread roll, which is divine. I love this pork sandwich with mustard.

Hot Tip🔥: The way Bifana is prepared differs from the north to the south. In the north, you get more spice with sauce and the meats in small pieces. In the south, you find thin pork flattened steak with more garlic.

9. Prego


You might have eaten a prego sandwich, a great lunch snack similar to bifana. The only difference is that it has beef instead of pork.

It is another staple food in Lisbon. The meat is pounded until very thin and cooked with fried onions and garlic.

Head to O Prego da Peixaria at the TimeOut Market for a good Prego sandwich.

10. Queijo

Okay, another thing the Portuguese love is different types of cheese. Here, you will find a wide selection of artisanal cheeses.

You can find soft cheese 🧀 made in the town of Azeitão. Another great thing about the cheese is that it uses thistle flowers instead of rennet, making it great for vegetarians.

11. Alheira

Alheira is a traditional Portuguese sausage with a unique flavor. Unlike typical sausage, it is made from game meats, poultry, and bread.

Restaurants season it with paprika, spices, and garlic for a rich, savory taste. The sausage has a smoky flavor and can be grilled to complete a dish.

The versatility of the sausage is endless, and it can be used in recipes like stews and sandwiches.

12. à Bulhão Pato


The clam dish comes from the writer Raimundo António de Bulhão Pato and is the best petiscos in Lisbon.

You receive it in a pot with olive oil, garlic, lemon 🍋 juice, and white wine. The sauce is so delicious that it is added to other dishes on the menu, like seafood dishes served at most seafood restaurants in Lisbon.

Go to Cervejaria Ramiro and Cervejaria Sem Vergonha to enjoy this delicious seafood.

13. Cozido à Portuguesa

Another one of my favorite foods is the traditional stew. It might not look like the best-looking dish, but it is heavy on meat.

This pot holds all types of meat, which is great for warming up on a rainy day.

Furthermore, they add plenty of sausages with vegetables, and many restaurants have days devoted to this dish.

14. Sintra Pillow

You must also try this delicious dessert, Travesseiro de Sintra, for some sweet treats. It is made from a puff pastry filled with egg yolk and almond cream and dusted with sugar.

For the best taste of these delicacies, head to Casa Piriquita in Sintra, which produces this delight. 15. Bolas de Berlim

A luxurious treat is Bolas de Berlim, a Portuguese donut that makes an excellent starter for the day.

You can expect fried dough. They roll in sugar and fill with ovos moles. You find it mostly sold at the beach by someone who passes by screaming, ‘’Olha a Bola de Berlim!”

16. Ginjinha


While not a Lisbon food, it remains a Portuguese drink with something to eat. It is worth trying with the infused sour morello cherries. The added cinnamon and sugar give it a sweet flavor. Opt for a tiny glass or sip it from a tasty dark or white chocolate cup.

17. Bacalhau com Natas

Bacalhau com natas is a dish cooked in the oven with fried potato and smothered with double cream. You can also add optional bechamel sauce. It is a filling meal served with rice, chips, and salad over Christmas.

Wrap-Up: Lisbon Food

When visiting Lisbon, the above list is some of the best Portuguese bites.

Whether you want savory treats, a sweet bite, or great lunch deals, you must try these Portuguese dishes.

Each of these food types is a Lisbon favorite, and you can find them at a festival in town, at different restaurants, or at a kiosk around the corner.

So, you will have no shortage of options for lunch or an afternoon treat to dinner as you will find a perfect bite to taste these Portuguese-style foods.

Frequently Asked Questions

When visiting Lisbon, indulge in Bacalhau à Brás, freshly grilled sardines, bifana, and pasteis de nata.

Lisbon is famous for their creamy custard tarts known as pasteis de nata with a flaky crust to enjoy a sweet treat any time of the day. It is also renowned for seafood.

Lisbon’s food is influenced by Portuguese, African, and Brazilian culinary traditions. The city’s proximity to the ocean also significantly impacts its cuisine, which focuses on fresh seafood and fish.

The Lisbon national dish is Bacalhau, which is made with salted cod and prepared in different ways.

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