14 Things to Eat in Lisbon

  • A classic Alfacinha dish is Arroz de Polvo
  • Percebes are popular as an appetizer in Lisbon
  • You can get tremocos at bars and kiosks in Lisbon
  • Grilled sardines are flaky and delicious
  • Canned seafood in Lisbon is a wonderful thing to eat
  • one of the things to eat in Lisbon is a Bifana
  • A prego is a Portuguese steak sandwich
  • Canned Fish in Portugal is delicious, especially the tuna
  • Bitoque is a steak with French Fries
  • Ginjinha tastes like cough syrup

You'll be happy there are tons of hills in Lisbon because it will keep you in shape while enjoying all this delicious Portuguese food. The food here is simple, but delicious. Most typical restaurants here feel like a grandmother's kitchen. Think comfort food that is made to keep you going through the day. If you're ready for some delicious Alfacinho comfort food, check out the list of Things to Eat in Lisbon that follows.

Things to Eat in Lisbon

Stinky, gooey sheep milk cheese in Portugal

Raw sheep milk cheese from portugal made with thistle and salt

Queijo amanteigadoThis raw sheep cheese is pungent in the best possible way. The first one I tasted was from the cheesemaker Luis Macheta. The cheese comes in a small size in a cylindrical form. It has a yellow crust on top that one must gently remove with a knife to get to the stinky, gooey, delicious middle. The cheese, just like its name (Amanteigado) suggests has a buttery texture and is simply heavenly on a good piece of bread.

You can get tremocos at bars and kiosks in Lisbon

Tremoços, lupini beans that have been soaked in a salt water solution for some time are a popular bar snack in Lisbon

Tremoços: Brined lupini beans are incredibly popular in Lisbon. Their saltiness makes them a great compliment to beer (usually a Sagres of a Super Bock). If you want to try these out, go to any neighborhood bar, or try one of Lisbon's kiosks.

Canned Fish in Portugal is delicious, especially the tuna

One of the most popular Conservas de Peixe after sardines is Portuguese Tuna

Canned Seafood: This ain't Bumble Bee we're dealing with. The canned seafood of Portugal is spectacular. You can get tuna, sardines, octopus, pretty much any kind of fish you can think of. While there are specialty markets that sell all kinds of canned fish, you're better off hitting a market like Pingo Doce, El Corte Ingles, or the corner Mercearia (like a Portuguese Bodega) and picking up what is sold there. Prices will be cheaper than at the specialty stores. The fish is incredibly high quality. Pop open a can and you've got an incredibly healthy snack. Pop the fish on top of a salad for a gorgeous (and inexpensive meal).  From the reading I did, this tradition began in the 19th Century. The fish was canned so that it could be consumed during the rough winter season. The industry grew significantly after WW II and canned seafood became an integral part of Portuguese cuisine. Tenório quickly became one of my favorite brands.

RELATED ARTICLE: Things to do in the Principe Real neighborhood of Lisbon

Percebes are popular as an appetizer in Lisbon

Percebes can be eaten raw or steamed

Percebes: These are goose barnacles and if you love shellfish, these will quickly become a favorite. Yes, they are kinda weird looking and they are also expensive (for Portugal - they are really hard to harvest), but they are so damn tasty and fun to eat.

Green Portuguese Soup

Caldo Verde is a traditional dish in Portugal made of potatoes, collards (or kale) and Portuguese sausage

Caldo Verde: A collard based soup that sounds like Greek magiritsa. It's basically water (or stock), couve-galega (a Portuguese type of collard or kale), potatoes, and sausage. This soup is comforting and packs a nutritional punch. You can find this humble soup in a corner restaurant or in one of the fanciest in Lisbon. This is a perfect dish for one of Lisbon's colder days.

Value Russian restaurant in Lisbon, Portugal

Stanislav is a Russian restaurant in the Estremadura neighborhood in Lisbon Portugal

Canned Sardines: I know I mentioned them before, but the sardines here really deserved a separate entry. The Portuguese are known for their canned seafood. This stuff is nothing like what you get at the supermarket in the US. These canned sardines are top notch and utterly delicious. There are stores with what seems like thousands of different types of sardines. I suggest you pick up a bunch and experiment. They are great on toasted bread as seen above.

Grilled sardines are flaky and delicious

Grilled sardines taste very different from their canned counterparts

Grilled Sardines: If you come to Lisbon in the Summer, BBQs mean grilled sardines, not burgers or hot dogs. This is a great thing. If you come on June 13, you're in luck. That is the day Alfacinhos celebrate their patron Saint, Saint Anthony. Practically everyone fires up their grill and makes these tasty treats. If you aren't in Lisbon during that time, it's cool...just go to almost any neighborhood restaurant that has a grill. They will most likely offer this treat.

Portuguese dish of bacalao and potatoes

Bacalhau à Brás is a traditional dish from Lisbon made of salted cod, eggs, and potatoes

Bacalhau à Brás: They say this dish originated in Bairro Alto. No matter where it was created, you should try it. Little matchstick potatoes tone down the flavors of the Bacalhau (salted cod). These ingredients are married by scrambled eggs and decorated by black olives and parsley. I can't wait to try to make this at home.

A classic Alfacinha dish is Arroz de Polvo

Octopus rice is a classic (and tasty) Portuguese dish that is easy to find throughout Lisbon

Arroz de Polvo:  If you are a fan of octopus, you're going to absolutely adore this dish. If you have never tried it, this is a great intro to it. The octopus is cooked in the rice, so the rice picks up the flavor of this delicious mollusk. The rice tends to taste meaty and the dish has this gorgeous pink/lavender hue to it.

Bitoque is a steak with French Fries

Bitoque is basically Portuguese Steak Frites (and it is delicious)

Bitoque: This is Portugal's answer to steak and eggs. It's a deliciously juicy, thin steak that is topped with a fried egg and usually comes with fries. Simple and tasty comfort food.

 

What does a Francesinha look like

A francesinha is a Portuguese sandwich based on a Croque Madame...although it reminds me more of a sandwich version of a French Onion Soup

Francesinha: This is not really a dish from Lisbon, but if you can't make it to Porto (where the dish originated), then you should grab one while you are here. This is what everyone at the grease trucks at Rutgers dreamed they could have invented. While the recipe varies from place to place, it is usually made with ham, Portuguese sausage,  steak, and a tomato-beer sauce. If you eat this, you'll need to fast for days because it packs on the calories).

A prego is a Portuguese steak sandwich

A good prego should be simple and cheap. A good one should cost you around five euros

Prego: Portuguese Steak Sandwich. These are damn tasty. They usually come dressed with mustard, or if you are lucky with a fried egg on top.

one of the things to eat in Lisbon is a Bifana

Bifanas are pork steak sandwiches. They are said to have originated in the Alentejo, but you can find them all over Lisboa

Bifana: It's like a Prego, but made with pork steak. It may seem simple, but Bifanhas are made with love. The pork steak is marinated in spices and garlic. It is then cooked for a long time in white wine. The result is a loving bundle of porky joy.

Ginjinha tastes like cough syrup

Ginjinha is a liqueur of infused sour cherries) in alcohol and sugar.

Ginjinha: Cherry liquor that, depending on the place, you can have with a chocolate glass. Many people will tell you this is for tourists only, but I've seen plenty of locals taking a shot of this at 10 am. Frankly, try this once (and only once) cause I think it tastes like cough syrup...but then again, you may like it better than I did.

Egg custard cakes that are a traditional dessert in Portugal

Pasteis de Nata, also known as Pasteis de Belem are an egg custard dessert from Lisbon

Pastéis de Nata: These tiny pastries made of egg are the meaning of pleasure. They originated somewhere around the 18th Century at the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos at the parish of Santa Maria de Belém, in Lisbon by Catholic monks. These monks used egg whites for things like starching clothes. This meant lots of leftover egg yolks and lots of egg based desserts. After the revolution, convents and monasteries fell on hard times, and the monks began to sell these pastries. The monks eventually sold the recipe to a sugar refinery which became the Fábrica de Pastéis de Belém. When you first bite into them, the flaky crust of the cup starts to crumble. Then, the custard which has caramelized on top slightly breaks and gives way to the viscous, silky custard. So-freakin-good. If you can't make it to Belem, don't worry. You can get Pasteis de Nata almost everywhere in  the city. If you leave Lisbon without trying these,  you're a sucker.

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Blanca Valbuena

I am the co-founder of FriendsEat and Socialdraft. I've got an unhealthy obsession with Burgundian Chardonnay, ASOIAF, and travel.

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