Seafood abounds throughout the city; sardines, dorado and sea bass come perfectly grilled, while the rich fish and seafood stew Caldeirada is spiced with chili and bulked with green vegetables, but the national dish of Portugal is cod – bacalhau – and it is served in virtually all Lisbon restaurants, whether grilled, cooked with rice and scrambled eggs, cooked au gratin or as fritters. Pork comes in many guises too; carne de porco Alentejana pairs pork with clams and roast potatoes, while the bifana is the Lisbon street food of choice, comprising layers of thinly sliced pork steak sautéed with garlic or onions and presented in a bread roll.
Rivaling cod in the popularity stakes, Caldo verde (literally ‘green soup’) is a broth made with onions, cabbage, potatoes and occasionally chourico (smoked sausage). It’s often served late at night in fado clubs, as reassuring and nourishing as fado is mournful and haunting.
Spanish-style tapas (petiscos) is also big business in the blue-and-white tiled cafés and tavernas of Lisbon; choose from gambas (prawns) flavored with saffron and piri-piri (searingly hot red chili peppers), clams, octopus, snails, batter-dipped prawns, chicken livers, meatballs, tortilla, garlicky mushrooms … the list is endless.
The Portuguese tradition for cooking up delicious pastries was started by nuns looking to augment their incomes in the 18th century, which is why so many pastries and desserts have Catholic names. A firm Lisbon favorite is the Pasteis de Belem, a little egg custard tart made with filo pastry and sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar.
Queijo (cheese) is integral to Lisbon cuisine, from the Edam-like Queijo Flamengo through to hard cheeses made from sheep’s milk and the slightly spicy São Jorge cow’s cheese imported from the Azores.
The most famous Portuguese wine is fortified port, but a sharp, clean glass of vinho verde (young, ‘green’ wine) and shots of locally distilled cherry brandy are equally as popular in Lisbon.
Getting to grips with Lisbon’s cuisine can be made much easier by taking a guided walking tour; you’ll get expert advice and visit the best stores and bars for the chance to sample the wares and learn about the city’s gastronomy from the experts. Tours can be combined with wine tasting and you can even choose to cut out the walking, instead exploring on Segway.
Tours & Tickets
Experience Lisbon’s unique culture like a local on this evening sightseeing tour and discover where the musical genre Fado was born. As you are driven through ... Read more
Duration: 5 hours 30 minutes (approx.)
Go on this guided Segway tour to explore Lisbon’s top attractions and enjoy food tastings of local Portuguese cuisine. With your expert guide, ride by ... Read more
Duration: 2 hours (approx.)
Enjoy the flavors of Portuguese cuisine on a small-group gourmet Portuguese food and wine tour of Lisbon! Visit traditional eateries and taste some of ... Read more
Duration: 3 hours 30 minutes (approx.)
This private Lisbon walking tour will show you the historical center of the city, including some of the hidden gems loved by locals. Discover Baixa, Chiado, ... Read more
Duration: 4 hours (approx.)
Experience the sights, cuisine and culture of Lisbon on this Lisbon combo tour. In the morning, enjoy a city walking tour, exploring several diverse ... Read more
Duration: Lisbon Walk: 3.5 hours
Fado and Tapas: 3.5 hours