THE BEST PORTUGUESE FOOD:
WHAT TO EAT & WHERE
Whether you want to indulge in a popular Pastel de Nata, fine dine with fresh quality seafood or snack on sun-ripened fruit and cheese, our gastronomic guide to the best Portuguese food is sure to hit the spot. Discover the country’s traditional dishes and where to grab a table and try them…
Bacalhau is a delicious dried, salted codfish and one of Portugal’s most traditional dishes. There are hundreds of different recipes for savouring this favoured fish, but the most popular has to be Bacalhau a Bras – a classic combination of onions, potato, olives, parsley, egg and, of course, salted cod. Seafood lovers can find the perfect plate in Lisbon, where restaurants Laurentina and Sacramento do Chiado specialise in this classic cod.
Whether you fancy a light bite or want to indulge in a little bit of everything, Petiscos is the answer. Translated as Portugal’s version of Spanish Tapas (basically), these small yet satisfying snacks are a dream for the indecisive, with cold, warm, meat, fish, stewed, raw and more fab finger-food options. Plus they’re great for social gatherings, especially as they’re often located in wine bars. You’ll find a handful of Petiscos spots in Porto (where much of the menu is influenced from) so you can mix and match with Petingas (small deep fried sardines), Moelas (chicken gizzards in tomato sauce), Peixinhos da horta (battered green beans), Tabua de Queijos (a selection of national cheese) and more – smaller portions means double the amount, right?!
QUEIJO SERRA DA ESTRELA
Fromage fans will find themselves in taste-bud heaven once they’ve taken a bite of Portugal’s magnificent mountain cheese, Queijo Serra da Estrela. Produced on Serra da Estrela, the highest mountain in central Portugal, this gooey delight has a silky smooth texture, bright yellow colour and an unmistakable flavour – plus it’s made with milk from Bordaleria breed sheep. Head to Celorico da Beira (the capital of Serra da Estrela cheese) where you can hit the Farmer and Cheese Museum and stock up on the good stuff in Sabores da Serra cheese shop – you won’t brie disappointed!
AMEIJOAS A BULHAO PATO
If you’re a seafood fan, then the gorgeous beach town of Praia da Rocha is a great spot for gastronomic delights. Cervejaria E Marisqueira is a spectacular restaurant chain located in Praia da Rocha, Portimao, and many other popular seaside resorts; and it serves one of the most delicious dishes in the Portuguese cuisine -Ameijoas a Bulhao Pato. The dish (named after 19th century Lisbon poet and famous gourmand Bulhão Pato) consists of fresh juicy clams sizzling with garlic, Vinho Verde – Portugal’s iconic green wine - and Cilantro. What better place to wine and dine than by the sea?
If you’re craving a hearty bowl of soup, Caldo Verde is a classic. This enriching recipe will warm not only your stomach, but your entire soul, with a healthy dose of potatoes, garlic, kale and smoked sausage – with a side of crunchy Pao com Chourico (toasted bread with sizzling pork sausage). You’ll find this slurp-sensation across the country, but it you want the original recipe, it originated in Minho, northern Portugal – spoons at the ready!
It’s no secret that Portugal is a meat-loving country and if you’ve got a taste for Pork, then you’re in luck, as it’s made its way into most dishes on the menu – including desserts! Rojoes a Moda do Minho is a tasty and tender dish of boneless pork marinated in Vinho Verde (a Portuguese white wine), garlic, bay leaves, paprika and seasoning before marinating further in pig’s blood – we promise it adds to the flavour! While this recipe was also created in Minho, it’s loved all-over.
PASTEL DE NATA
Nothing will satisfy your sweet tooth quite like a Pastel de Nata, Portugal’s famous custardy, eggy, bite-sized tart – it’s the best. You’ll find these delicious drops of heaven in every bakery (pretty much world-wide), but Lisbon’s Pasteis de Belem is recognised for serving some of the tastiest in town. Don’t worry about over-indulging either; this city is full of steep hills sure to up your steps!
If a Scooby Snack is on the cards, then the almighty meat and cheese-packed Francesinha sandwich is sure to satisfy those stomach rumbles. Picture a chunky doorstep sandwich layered with pork, smoked sausage, beef, bacon, a fried egg and a hearty coat of melted cheese, topped with a meaty sauce – not forgetting a towering portion of chips on the side, of course. The best place to buy one of these belly-busters is from A Cantarinha Café, in Porto, but you can find them in various cafes across Lisbon.