Portuguese Food – 17 Must-Try Foods in Portugal

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Portugal is a gastronomic haven renowned for its rich culinary heritage. Its diverse and flavourful cuisine will take everyone who visits on a culinary trip through tradition, innovation, and a passionate love for delicious food. Join us on a delightful journey through streets, taverns, and restaurants as we explore top Portuguese food, drinks and everything else you must try on your next trip to Portugal!

If you’d like to visit Portugal, then make sure that take advantage of our fully planned Portugal tours! We’ll take care of the accommodation, transportation and cultural experiences so all you have to do is show up and have fun!

Don’t forget to prepare for your trip by reading our comprehensive guide to visiting Portugal as well as our other articles that cover topics like the best things to see and do in Portugal – including city guides, souvenir recommendations and the best time to visit. And of course, don’t miss the world-famous Beaches in Portugal!

1. Francesinha

You cannot have a list about Portuguese food without the francesinha! Although a must-try local delicacy, make sure to bring an empty stomach and a large appetite before ordering this dish. This super sandwich is made with bread, wet-cured ham, pork sausage, fresh sausage, and steak or roast meat, and then covered with melted cheese and a hot thick tomato and beer sauce. And in case that wasn’t enough, it is also served with a side of French fries.

2. Bolinhos de Bacalhau

The first of many cod based dishes on this list. Bolinhos de bacalhau (or cod croquets) are made from a mixture of potatoes, codfish, eggs, parsley, and onion. Similar to croquetas in Spain, bolinhos de bacalhau are deep-fried, and typically served hot or cold as an appetizer.

3. Pasteis de Nata

Another must have on any list about Portuguese food is the famous pasteis de nata! Pastry shops and bakeries line the winding streets of many cities with cakes, custards, and breads on display for hungry eyes to admire. The most famed pastry of all is the pasteis de nata. These egg tart pastries date back over 300 years to Belém, located west of Lisbon. They were created by monks in the Jerónimos Monastery, and are now a sought out dessert by visitors and locals alike.

4. Bacalhau à Brás

Bacalhau, or salted cod, has been a staple of Portuguese cuisine for the last few centuries. Bacalhau à brás is a traditional Portuguese dish that originated in Barrio Alto, an old neighborhood in Lisbon. It is prepared with shredded, salted cod, onions, garlic, thin matchstick fried potatoes, and scrambled eggs, then topped with black olives and fresh parsley.

5. Port Wine

While not technically a Portuguese food, port wine is a famed wine from the northern city of Porto. it’s rich and sweet, bursting with raspberry, blackberry, caramel, cinnamon, and chocolate flavors. There are several styles of Port wine, including, red, white, rosé, and an aged style called Tawney Port. One of the most unique characteristics of this wine is the blend of up to 52 Portuguese indigenous grapes. If visiting Porto, Port is a must-try.

6. Bifana

At first glance, this might seem to be just another sandwich, but don’t be fooled! Although simple, the bifana is Portugal’s best sandwich, comprising of a light yet crusty bread roll filled with sautéed strips of well-seasoned pork. The pork is juicy and slightly greasy, making it a popular late-night snack, and a must-try while visiting Portugal. Pair it with a Super Bock for a complete local experience!

7. Carne de Porco à Alentejana

Carne de porco à alentejana is one of the most recognized foods in Portugal, found on menus all over the world. It is a combination of black Iberian pork, clams, and potatoes. Although pork and clams may seem like an odd combination, the dish deserves a try, if only for the hearty flavorful sauce. You never know; it might become a new favorite!

8. Vinho Verde

Another wine that has made it onto our list of Portuguese Food is Vinho verde, or “green wine”. The green in its name is not for the wine’s colour, but for the fact that it is a younger wine than most that come from Portugal. It’s a crisp, aromatic, white wine, that is low in alcohol, and easy to drink. Vinho verde is released 3-6 months after the grapes are harvested and is typically consumed soon after bottling. You’ll find this wine in every supermarket in Portugal, and in just about every Portuguese restaurant.

9. Queijada

These sweet treats from the charming city of Sintra are small only in size. The simple ingredients of cheese, sugar, flour, eggs, and cinnamon join together to create the most delectable bite sized desserts. Similar to a cheesecake, the Queijada is probably one of the most unique foods in Portugal, yet found in shops throughout the country

10. Bacalhau com Natas

Bacalahu com natas is a deliciously creamy, comforting casserole dish that represents a perfect exmple of Portuguese home cooking! Made with the ever popular salted cod as well as potatoes, onions, cream, and cheese, this dish is filling and an absolute must-try for any visitor.

11. Caldo Verde

Translated as “green broth,” Caldo Verde is a soul-warming soup that perfectly summarizs Portuguese comfort food. This hearty dish features kale (which gives it its colour), tender potatoes, and savory chorizo, all swimming in a flavorful broth. Each spoonful carries the essence of Portuguese culinary tradition.

12. Ginjinha

Ginjinha, or simply Ginja, is a Portuguese liqueur made with ginja berries (sour cherries), alcohol, and sugar. The liqueur is served in the form of a shot, with a cherry at the bottom of the glass. It is a favorite for many Portuguese locals, and a typical drink in Lisbon, Alcobaça, and Óbidos. Some local shops even serve the liqueur in a chocolate shot glass, which you can enjoy afterwards!

13. Chouriço Assado

It’s time to feature some meat on this list of Portuguese food! Whether sizzling on a grill or roasted in an oven, Chouriço Assado is a celebration of Portugal’s love for spicy sausage. The chouriço’s robust flavors, enriched with paprika and garlic, make it a versatile delight—perfect as an appetizer or a flavorful addition to various dishes.

14. Arroz de Pato

Another one for the meatlovers out there. Duck rice, or Arroz de Pato, is a dish that combnies succulent duck meat with aromatic spices. Often complemented by the smoky notes of chorizo, the seasoned rice absorbs the flavors, resulting in a dish that is both hearty and fragrant, a true celebration of Portuguese gastronomy.

15. Pica Pau

Another meat focused food in Portugal. Pica Pau is perfect for those with a big apetite and a craving for strong falvours. This dish features small beef cubes cooked in a spicy sauce and is often served with crusty bread to soak up all juices that come from the meat. Trust us when we say that each bite is filled with spices and unforgettable flavour!

16. Sardinhas Assadas

You simply can’t go to Portugal without trying their famous sardines and grilled sardines are a quintessential food in Portugal. The simplicity of fresh sardines, seasoned and grilled to perfection, captures the essence of Portugal’s coastal history, delivering a burst of flavours that remind you of the ocean.

17. Salada de Polvo

Salada de Polvo, or Octopus Salad, is a refreshing dish that perfectly showcases Portugal’s popular seafood cuisine. Tender octopus, marinated in olive oil and vinegar, is paired with onions and herbs, creating a simple salad that is both vibrant and flavourful, offering a taste of the sea in every bite.

Leah has been living in and exploring Madrid since 2013 when she moved to the city for a simple summer abroad. She started the Citylife Blog in 2014 with the goal to share everything there is to know about her favourite place on earth!

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