July 12, 2024

7 Delicious Foods to Try in Lisbon

Portuguese food is not as well-known as, say, Italian or French cuisine, but it is no less delicious. If you have a trip to Lisbon in the works, you can look forward to sampling some delicious dishes and sweet treats. Portugal is well known for its seafood dishes, but pork is also a staple ingredient and you’ll see pork used in everything from delicious sandwiches to stews.

Lisbon is the perfect destination for foodies, so read on for a guide to the dishes, snacks, and foods to try in Lisbon when visiting restaurants, cafes, and food markets.

Sweet Cakes

Portugal is famous for its sweet pastries, in particular, its most famous dessert, the deliciously decadent Pastel de nata (egg custard tart). The original recipe was devised as a way to use up excess egg yolks, but it has since become a national treasure. Egg tarts are available everywhere in Lisbon and can’t be beaten as a sweet snack. Even if you don’t normally indulge in sweet pastries, it would be a shame to miss out on these!

Visit a pastelaria for a bigger sample of cakes and pastries. They typically sell a huge range of fruity desserts, sweet biscuits, and other delicious creations.


Cheese is a popular food in Lisbon. If you are shopping for picnic ingredients, look out for Queijo de Azeitão in supermarkets. This cheese originates from Azeitão, which is not far from Lisbon. It is a cured, unpasteurised cheese made from sheep’s milk, with a deliciously soft, buttery texture. The flavour is a lovely combination of salt and sour. Scoop out the centre of the cheese and spread it on fresh bread or crackers for a tasty al-fresco snack after a long day exploring Lisbon’s hilly streets.

Other cheeses worth sampling include ricotta, Serra da Estrela, which is buttery like Azeitão, and Niza. All go well with locally made relishes and jams.

Meat Sandwiches

The Portuguese love meat sandwiches, and if you visit Lisbon, you can pick them up from street vendors.

Bifana means pork, and pork sandwiches are delicious. The pork is traditionally marinated to give it extra flavour and served in a fresh bread roll; pork cooked in wine, spices, and garlic is to die for. Beef sandwiches are also a tasty treat. The classic Prego sandwich, which is garlic steak, should be on your must-try list.

Polvo à lagareiro

If you have never tried octopus, give it a go in Lisbon. The Portuguese love olive oil and they always cook octopus in copious amounts of olive oil, before roasting it in garlic and salt.

Foods to try in Lisbon

Salt Cod (bacalhau)

Salt cod doesn’t have a great reputation because it is very smelly before being cooked, but once salt cod has been cooked, it loses the pungent flavour and smells just like normal cod. Look for bacalhau on the menu – when deep-fried as a fishcake, it is surprisingly tasty. Salt cod is one of the top foods to try in Lisbon, It is often served with scrambled eggs, which enhances the flavour.

Other Fish

Lisbon is on the coast, so fish will be readily available and always freshly caught. Fish like sea bass and sea bream are often cooked over a charcoal grill, steamed, or boiled. Sardines are a local speciality, usually grilled and served with some bread and a salad, as a light lunch.

Horse mackerel are small fish, deep fried and served in cafes. You are expected to eat the whole fish, head and all, but they are lovely and crunchy, so enjoy!

Portuguese Stew

Stew is a classic dish in many Portuguese restaurants and typically comprises meat, legumes, and vegetables boiled up in a large pan. Don’t expect an Insta-worthy bowl of stew because in most cases, stews don’t look especially attractive. However, what they lack in looks they make up for in flavour.

Sausage and pork are standard ingredients in cozido. The meat is boiled to death along with the vegetables, but the flavours all combine to produce a hearty and tasty dish. You may also see pasta and rice added to the stew.

Favas com enchidos is a sausage and broad bean stew with a rich, complex flavour.

Feijoada is a bean and pork cassoulet stew. It has a rich, smokey flavour and is very filling.

Seafood stew can contain anything from clams to prawns or lobster, but it will likely contain a mix of fish, simmered in wine, herbs, and spices.

In Lisbon, you will find food to suit all budgets. If you don’t have a big budget to spend on foods to try in Lisbon, stock up on meat and cheese from food markets and buy hot food from street vendors. Steer clear of the main tourist restaurants and eat where the locals do for a more authentic flavour at a reasonable price.

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