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Lisbon Food Guide: 10 Must-Try Portuguese Foods & Drinks

Lisbon Food Guide: 10- Must Try Portuguese Foods & Drinks

Welcome to our culinary journey through Lisbon, Portugal! With its rich history and diverse cultural influences, Lisbon offers a gastronomic experience like no other. From savory delicacies and sweet treats to traditional AND contemporary sips, we’re excited to share with you ten of the must-eat (and drink!) items that encapsulate the essence of this vibrant city's culinary delights. Be sure to check out our full vlog, “Portuguese Food Tour | What & Where to Eat in Lisbon, Portugal” for a closer look at our delicious experience!

Check out these guided food tours to experience the tastes of Lisbon for yourself:


Now, let’s dive into this delectable destination!

1. Pastel de Nata

The Pastel de Nata (or Pastéis de Nata for plural) is without a doubt the most popular and loved pastry in all of Portugal, and for good reason! It’s a small, round, custard-filled pastry with a flaky, crispy crust that is filled with a custard filling known as "creme" which is made from a combination of egg yolks, sugar, cream, and sometimes a hint of vanilla or lemon zest. The contrast between the creamy, sweet custard and the crispy, flaky pastry shell is absolute perfection! Finish it off with a sprinkle of powdered sugar and cinnamon on top and you have delicious Portuguese pastry perfection!

If you want to complete the experience (and you’re a coffee drinker) be sure to ask for a “bica” with your Pastel de Nata. A Brasileira do Chiado is the birthplace of the term “bica” (a Lisbon word for a shot of espresso) which is an abbreviation of “drink this with sugar” (“Beba Isto Com Açúcar”). This was an attempt to make coffee, which was a novelty at the time, more pleasant to drink.

Where: Pastés de Belém (R. de Belém 84 92, 1300-085); Fábrica da Nata (multiple locations); or Manteigaria (multiple locations)

Pastéis de Nata/Pastel de Nata

2. Port Wine

Another popular Portuguese culinary delight, Port wine is a sweet, fortified wine made from a blend of several grape varieties and is produced exclusively in the Douro Valley of northern Portugal. Its unique production method and geographical designation have made it one of the most famous and revered wines in the world.

The production process involves stopping the fermentation of the grape must by adding grape spirits (a type of brandy) while the wine is still relatively sweet. This preserves the natural grape sugars, resulting in a sweet and rich wine with a higher alcohol content (usually between 19% and 22% ABV). The wine is then aged in oak barrels, often for extended periods, allowing it to develop complexity, flavors, and a smooth, velvety texture.

Port wines come in several styles, which can be broadly categorized into two main types:

Ruby Ports: These are young and vibrant wines aged for a short period in barrels to retain their fruity flavors. Ruby Ports have a deep red color and exhibit intense berry and cherry notes.

Tawny Ports: These are aged in wooden barrels for an extended period, causing the wine to develop a range of nutty, caramel, and dried fruit flavors. Tawny Ports tend to have a lighter color, ranging from amber to brown, and are often labeled with age indications like 10, 20, 30, or 40 years.

Where: Portologia (R. de São Julião 34 36, 1100-016); Garrafeira Nacional @ Time Out Market (Av. 24 de Julho 49, 1200-161); or Taylors @ Time Out Market (Av. 24 de Julho 49, 1200-161)

Port Wine

3. Sardinhas (Sardines - canned and/or grilled)

Portuguese sardines have a rich history that spans centuries, deeply intertwined with Portugal's maritime culture and fishing traditions. Sardines have been a significant part of the Portuguese diet and economy, with the fish being a staple in the coastal regions. The most common way to prepare Portuguese sardines is to grill them whole over an open flame, but they can also be canned in various forms, including in olive oil or tomato sauce. Regardless of whether you choose to have them grilled or canned (or both), no trip to Lisbon would be complete without getting a taste of this Portuguese tradition!

Where: Sol e Pesca (R. Nova do Carvalho 44, 1200-019)

Sardines at Sol e Pesca

4. Ginjinha

Ginjinha, or simply Ginja, is a traditional Portuguese liqueur made from sour cherries, called "ginjas". Ginjinha is made by macerating or infusing the sour cherries in alcohol, typically aguardente (a type of Portuguese brandy), along with sugar and sometimes other flavors like cinnamon or cloves. The result is a deep red, sweet liqueur with a distinct cherry flavor and a mild alcoholic kick.

The origins of Ginjinha can be traced back to the 17th century in Portugal. It is believed that the liqueur was first created by a Galician friar named Espinheiro, who infused sour cherries with alcohol to make a sweet and flavorful liqueur. Over the centuries, the recipe evolved and spread throughout Portugal, becoming a favorite among locals and visitors alike.

Where: Ginjinha Sem Rival (R. das Portas de Santo Antão 7, 1150-264) or A Ginjinha Espinheira (Largo São Domingos 8, 1100-201)

Ginjinha; Ginjinha Sem Rival

5. Bifana Sandwich (pork sandwich)

The Bifana Sandwich is a simple yet flavorful dish that has become a staple street food in Portugal. It typically consists of thin slices of marinated pork loin served inside a soft, crusty Portuguese bread roll known as "papo seco." The marinade traditionally includes garlic, white wine or beer, paprika, and other spices, which infuse the meat with a delightful combination of flavors. It’s often served with condiments like mustard, piri piri sauce (hot sauce), or pickles, which add an extra layer of tang and spiciness to complement the rich flavors of the pork.

And if pork isn’t your thing give the Prego Sandwich a try which is a Bifana Sandwich made with beef instead of pork!

Where: O Trevo (cash only - Praça Luís de Camões 48, 1200-283)

Bifana Sandwich; Prego Sandwich; O Trevo

6. Chouriço (sausage)

Unlike its Central American cousin, Portuguese Chouriço is a smoked pork sausage that is known for its distinctive reddish-brown color, which comes from the addition of paprika. The sausage has a rich, savory taste typically with a hint of spiciness, depending on the amount and type of seasoning used.

Where: Trobadores (Calçada de São Francisco 6A, 1200-005)


7. Bacalhau (Dried, Salted Cod Fish)

Bacalhau refers specifically to dried and salted codfish, rather than fresh cod. The fish is prepared through a meticulous process that involves salting and drying the cod to remove most of its moisture, preserving it for extended periods. Before using it in recipes, the salted cod must be soaked in water for an extended period to rehydrate and remove excess salt.

Portuguese cuisine boasts an incredible variety of bacalhau dishes, and it is estimated that there are more than 365 traditional recipes—one for each day of the year. Some of the most popular bacalhau dishes include Bacalhau à Brás (a mix of shredded bacalhau, eggs, onions, and potatoes), Bacalhau com Natas (bacalhau gratin with cream), and Bacalhau à Gomes de Sá (a casserole with bacalhau, potatoes, onions, and olives).

Where: Ponto Final (R. do Ginjal 72, 2800-285 Almada, Portugal)

Pro-Tip for visiting Ponto Final: This is a very popular spot, so you will want to make Reservations well in advance. Also, getting to the restaurant can be confusing, so we recommend taking the ferry over from Lisbon. It’s faster and easier! For info on how to catch the ferry click here.


8. Vinho Verde (Green Wine)

Vinho Verde, which translates to "Green Wine" in Portuguese, is a unique and distinctive type of wine produced in the northwest region of Portugal. And while you may expect “Green Wine” to have a green color, its name is not a reference to the color of the wine but rather to its youthfulness and freshness. Regarding its flavor, Vinho Verde is light, crisp, and refreshing with a typically low alcohol content (8% to 11.5% ABV) making it an excellent choice for warm weather and casual gatherings.

Where: You can find Vinho Verde all over the city, and most Bars and Restaurants offer Vinho Verde on their wine menus.

Vinho Verde

9. Grilled Fish

With such close proximity to the Atlantic Ocean, grilled fish has been a fundamental part of Lisbon's gastronomic culture for centuries. The most popular in the city is probably Sardines which are typically very straightforward (and delicious) in their preparation. The fish is cleaned, seasoned with salt (and sometimes a drizzle of olive oil or lemon juice is added) then grilled to crispy, flaky perfection, typically over charcoal. And while Sardines may be the most popular, there are many other wonderful options that shouldn’t be missed! Here’s are some varieties to keep an eye out for on menus: Robalo (Seabass), Dourada (Bream), Peixe Espada (Black scabbard fish), Perca (Perch), Tamboril (Monkfish), Carapau (Mackerel), Espadarte (Swordfish), Linguado (Sole)

Where: Ponto Final (R. do Ginjal 72, 2800-285 Almada, Portugal); Lisbon Tu e Eu (R. da Adiça 58, 1100-116); Churrasqueira da Paz (R. da Paz 80, 1200-319); or Alpendre (R. Augusto Rosa 34, 1100-059)

Pro-Tip for visiting Ponto Final: This is a very popular spot, so you will want to make Reservations well in advance. Also, getting to the restaurant can be confusing, so we recommend taking the ferry over from Lisbon. It’s faster and easier! For info on how to catch the ferry click here.

Grilled Fish

10. Piri Piri Chicken

Piri Piri chicken is grilled chicken w/ spicy chili sauce (Piri Piri Sauce) and is renowned for its mouthwatering combination of spiciness, tanginess, and smokiness. The heat level can vary depending on personal preference, but it generally packs a punch, so you’ll need to be a spice fan for this one.

The name "Piri Piri" comes from the African Bird's Eye chili pepper, which is a key ingredient in the spicy marinade used to prepare this dish. The chili pepper is known for its fiery heat and unique flavor, and it has been used in African cuisine for centuries. The origins of Piri Piri chicken can be traced back to the 15th and 16th centuries when Portuguese explorers and traders brought chili peppers from the Americas to Africa and Asia. These chili peppers quickly integrated into the local cuisines, and over time, a distinct style of grilled or barbecued chicken emerged, marinated with a spicy blend that prominently featured the Piri Piri chili.

Where: Bonjardim (Tv. de Santo Antão 11, 1150-312); Frangasqueira Nacional (Tv. Monte do Carmo 19, 1200-27); or Casa da Índia (Rua do Loreto 49 51, 1200-471)

Piri Piri Chicken


We hope that this guide has helped you plan your visit to Lisbon, and if it has, we hope that you’ll consider following us on Instagram and subscribing to our YouTube Channel for more travel tips!

Disclosure: We only endorse things we've personally used or come highly recommended by trusted peers. If you purchase anything using our referral links, we may get a small commission. However, there's no extra cost to you.


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