10 Portuguese dishes to enjoy abolutely in Lisbon

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The top 10 Portuguese dishes to discover in Lisbon

You already know where to eat cheap and have great meals in Lisbon. Now I will show you the 10 essential dishes of Portuguese gastronomy to absolutely enjoy during your weekend or trip to Lisbon. A 10 best Portuguese dishes not to be missed :

  • Bacalhau com Natas (cod fish with cream)
  • Arroz de Marisco (seafood rice)
  • Dourada Grelhada (grilled sea bream)
  • Bacalhau in Brás (cod to the “Brás”)
  • Bife à Café (coffee steak)
  • Carne de Porco Alentejana (pork meat to the “Alentejana”)
  • Sardinhas Assadas (grilled sardines)
  • Arroz de Pato (duck rice)
  • Arroz de Tamboril (monkfish rice)
  • Feijoada Brasileira (traditional brasilian dish)

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1. BACALHAU COM NATAS – Cod that everyone likes

cod fish with cream - traditional portuguese dish
Cod fish with cream

Legend has it that the Portuguese have 365 ways of preparing cod, some Portuguese cookbooks even list a recipe for cod for each day of the year. Bacalhau com Natas is a cod gratin with milk cream. It is one of the most popular dishes in Portugal and, personally, I find it delicious and above all others. That’s why I put it as number 1 in this article. This dish, cook in the oven, consists of different layers of cod, onions, potatoes and milk cream (nata).

Now a true classic of Portuguese cuisine, this dish was invented in the 1930s by chef João Ribeiro.


2. ARROZ DE MARISCO – Rice with shellfish

seafood rice - traditional portuguese dish
Seafood rice

Arroz de Marisco, literally Seafood rice is also a traditional dish of Portuguese cuisine. It is considered as one of the 7 wonders of Portuguese gastronomy. This dish is a real delight if it is prepared in the most traditional way, i.e. with as many shellfish as possible from the following : shrimp, lobster, crab, clams, mussels, shells, prawns and sea kernels. The combination of shellfish will vary according to the season, the availability of seafood and the price of the dish. Be careful, a quality and very complete Arroz de Marisco is a rather expensive dish, even in Portugal. It can cost up to 25/30 euros.

The dish comes from the Marinha Grande region (central Portugal). In addition to shellfish and rice, it is garnished with garlic, parsley, tomato, onion and olive oil. It can also be garnished with white wine and shrimp head to make up the broth.


3. DOURADA GRELHADA – The fish that is on all the menus

grilled sea bream - traditional portuguese dish
Grilled sea bream

The Dourada Grelhada, Grilled Sea Bream, is on the menu of almost every restaurant in Lisbon. It is a reference and a good value because it is often a dish of the day. The fish is often coming from the same morning’s fishing and will be ultra fresh. Often served with steamed potatoes and beans, cabbage and/or peppers, you will appreciate all the flavour of this fish thanks to the olive oil that will enhance its taste. A must-eat during your stay in Lisbon.


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4. BACALHAU A BRAS – The dish invented in the Bairro Alto district

cod fish to the bras - traditional portuguese dish
Cod fish “to the Brás”

It is personally one of my favourite Portuguese dishes. Bacalhau à Brás, is a typical Portuguese dish. Very often offered in all restaurants worthy of the name, it is one of the most popular cod dishes in Portugal but also in Macau. It is composed of crumbled cod, flaked French fries, thinly sliced fried onions, egg, olives and parsley. The excellent flavour of this dish depends on the alchemy between the different ingredients of the recipe, mainly the amount of onions in relation to the cod and olive oil in the dish.

The recipe for Bacalhau à Brás was invented by the owner of a Bairro Alto bar called Brás ou Braz. The popularity of the dish is such that it has crossed the Portuguese border to become a dish known in Spain under the names “Revuelto de Bacalao a la Portuguesa” or “Bacalao Dorado“.


5. BIFE A CAFE – The typical Lisbon dish

coffee steak - traditional portuguese dish from lisbon
Coffee steak

Coffee Bife, a coffee steak, is the typical Lisbon dish. Initially, it was a speciality of a popular coffee shop in Lisbon, Marrare das Sete Portas, which was frequented by bohemians and vagrants at the beginning of the 20th century. Over the years, the dish has become a real tourist attraction, offered in many restaurants in Lisbon. The steak is covered with a coffee-based pepper sauce and is served with fries. There is an alternative of the dish with the same sauce and mushrooms.


6. CARNE DE PORCO A ALENTEJANA – The dish available throughout Portugal

Alentejana pork meat

The Carne de Porco à Alentejana or Carne de Porco com Amêijoas is a dish from the Alentejo, a region at the south of Lisbon. It is prepared with clams, pork, colouring, bay leaf, wine and garlic. The fried meat is served mixed with the already cooked clams. The final preparation can be sprinkled with parsley and served with cubed and lemon-shaped French fries. It is one of the most emblematic dishes of Porugese gastronomy, you can find it in most restaurants in the country.


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7. SARDINHAS ASSADAS – The tradition of Lisbon and the Tagus

grilled sardines - traditional portuguese dish
Grilled sardines

The grilled sardine is a Portuguese cuisine classic that has even regained its nobility for several years. Sardines are most often served with roasted peppers and steamed potatoes. The dish is usually served with large slices of bread to absorb the natural fat of the fish.

The dish is from the Lisbon and Tagus regions and is considered one of the 7 Wonders of Portuguese Gastronomy. In Lisbon, the success of this dish was born from the great tradition of fishing in the region. In Portugal, the tradition is to serve this dish during the Feasts of the Popular Saints. In Portuguese capital, sardinhada is served during the Feasts of St. Anthony in June.


8. ARROZ DE PATO – Duck Rice

Duck rice

Duck rice is a traditional dish from northern Portugal. It is a duck risotto with a crispy surface covered with pork sausages (chouriço). The duck is first cooked to be tender, then put in the oven with the rice. Serve the rice with a glass of red wine and you will fully enjoy this unique dish.


9. ARROZ DE TAMBORIL – The monkfish rice

Monkfish rice

Arroz de Tamboril is a rice stew with monkfish. Its recipe is similar to the dish described above : Arroz de Marisco. The only difference is that rice is often more liquid and the shellfish side dish is usually made only with shrimp. It is also a traditional Portuguese dish and a real must.


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10. FEIJOADA BRASILEIRA – The Brazilian reference dish

Feijoada brasileira, traditional brazilian dish

To finish this selection, I suggest you discover the most typical Brazilian dish that you can easily eat in Lisbon. Feijoada is a dish made from grilled meat (pork and beef) served with black peas and white rice.

Initially, it was a dish originating from northern Portugal but it has become the most representative dish of Brazilian cuisine. In its most complete version, Feijoada is also decorated with slices of orange, cabbage, sausage (chouriço) and manioc. In some restaurants, you will still discover the Feijoada Portuguesa with a slightly different preparation. The side dishes are in this case, tomato, carrot. And the peas used are white or red.


You now know the dishes that you must taste during your stay in Lisbon. I invite you to keep up the good work and have a drink on one of the 10 most beautiful terraces in Lisbon or get to know the best new rooftops in the Portuguese capital. You will then enjoy a magnificent view of the city. Don’t forget to check out my section on Lisbon food with lots of good addresses and tips for all budgets.
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