What to eat in Lisbon (and where to eat it)

by gigigriffis
Pastel de Nata

Photo credit.


This is a sponsored post from Context Travel – a tour company serving over 60 cities.


Lisbon is currently one of the most exciting and vibrant cities on the European tourist trail, offering visitors a unique perspective on Iberian culture. As the capital of Portugal, it’s bursting with life, and its long colonial history gives the city a unique, multicultural charm. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the city’s cuisine, so if you’re planning a trip to Lisbon in the near future, read on and make sure you taste each of these Portuguese favorites while you’re there.

What to eat: Pasteis de Bacalhau

Perhaps unsurprisingly for a country with most of its coastline on the Atlantic, cod (bacahlau), is a firm favorite across Lisbon. However, if you want a true taste of Portugal then you should skip the cod fillets and “fish & chips” and grab yourself a few Pasteis de Bacalhau. These potato balls are made using dried, salted cod which is mixed together with a little parsley and then deep fried. Be warned, they’re seriously moreish.

Where to eat it

Pasteis de Bacalhau are best served warm and freshly fried, but while you’ll probably find them on most Portuguese menus, the best place to grab them is in TimeOut market. A small stall dedicated to these fried potato and fish balls serves traditional Pasteis and a few exciting new recipes.

What to eat: Feijoada

Pork or beef and beans. That’s pretty much the be all and end all of Feijoada. However, the delicious, hearty, home-cooked flavors of this simple dish are sure to have you coming back for seconds. Feijoada originated in Northern Portugal, but it’s also been heavily influenced by former Portuguese colonies such as Brazil, Angola, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, East Timor, Goa, India, and Macau, with each culture bringing its own unique twist to the dish.

Where to eat it

Feijoada can be found in both traditional Portuguese restaurants and those of the former colonies. Brazilian Feijoada is a favorite for many, and the Comida de Santa is a great place to get an authentic dish of beans and pork.

What to eat: Piri-Piri

Another dish that is both inspired and reimagined by Portugal’s numerous former colonies, Piri-Piri is usually associated with chicken, although you might find other Piri-Piri dishes in restaurants across Lisbon too. The spice mix, which is where the flavor is, blends African birds’ eye chilis, garlic, and paprika, with certain mixes also containing oregano. The meat is then marinated and usually cooked on a grill to retain moisture and flavor.

 Where to eat it

Most churrasqueira will have plenty of Piri-Piri options on offer, giving you an authentic taste of Portuguese life at the same time. There are, of course, also dedicated Piri-Piri chicken shops dotted throughout the city. Check out the Frangasqueira Nacional in Principe Real for something a little special.

What to eat: Caracóis

If you thought the French were the only ones to enjoy a little escargot, then think again. Caracóis are land snails served in a savory, garlicky broth and often liberally sprinkled with Piri-Piri. The Portuguese love them, and during the summer you’ll find them everywhere—just look for the há caracóis signs around the city.

Where to eat it

From May to August, you’ll find Caracóis around virtually every corner – even in the supermarkets. However, a few highlights include the filho do menino Júlio dos Caracóis and the Pomar de Alvalade.

What to eat: Pastel de Nata

If you’ve stuffed yourself on all those savory delights, then hopefully you’ve left room for a little dessert. Well, if you have, you’re in for a treat, and if you love a good custard tart then doubly so. Pastel (tart) de Nata (cream) is a firm Lisbon favorite, and people flock from around the world to get their hands on this mouthwatering pastry. With a strong vanilla flavor and dusted with Canela (cinnamon), they’re the perfect bookend to your culinary explorations of the Portuguese capital.

Where to eat it

Pasteis de Belem is the most famous purveyor of Nata in Lisbon, however, you’ll find them in almost every Pasteleria throughout the city. If you want to see Pastel de Nata being made, then head to the Manteigaria right next to TimeOut market in Cais do Sodre.

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