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What should you eat while in Portugal?

Since Portuguese culture is deeply intertwined with food, the answer to this question is just as important as what you should see and do while in Portugal. Dining on salted cod, port wine tasting in Porto and the Douro Valley, indulging on Pastel de Nata pastries and the savory sandwiches in Porto are all essential experiences to have in Portugal.

In this guide, we cover 20 foods to eat in Portugal and where to get them.

20 Foods to Eat in Portugal (Plus a Few Drinks)

1. Bacalhau

Bacalhau is Portuguese for dry, salted cod. You will see it on menus throughout Portugal. Before a time of refrigerators, cod (and other fish and seafood) were pulled from the sea, salted, and set out to dry in the sun, to preserve them. You can still see this today in Nazaré, at Seca do Peixe, the Dried Fish Museum.

Dried Fish Nazare

Seca do Peixe in Nazaré

The most famous dish featuring bacalhau is Bolinhos de Bacalhau, which are fried codfish cakes, but bacalhau is also served in stew (Bacalhau à Brás), alongside onions and potatoes, and served with cream.

You’ll see Bolinhos de Bacalhau on a lot of menus. The best we had was at Platinum Wine & Tapas in Albufeira, in the Algarve. The codfish cakes at Leve Leve Tapas Bar in Lisbon are also very good.

Bolinhos de Bacalhau

Bolinhos de Bacalhau at Leve Leve Tapas Bar, Lisbon

2. Octopus

Octopus, called polvo in Portuguese, is also extremely popular throughout Portugal. We have eaten octopus at restaurants around the world and no one does it as good as in Portugal.

The most famous dish featuring octopus is Polvo a Lagareiro, which is octopus served with potatoes. For Polvo a Lagareiro, we recommend the Marlene Vieria stand at the Time Out Market in Lisbon, O Barrigas in Lisbon, and Taberna Dos Fernandes in Porto.

Foods to Eat in Portugal Photo

Sea bass, conservas de peixe, and polvo a lagareiro from the Marlene Vieria stand at Time Out Market.


Octopus Polvo

Octopus at O Barrigas, Lisbon

If Nazaré is on your itinerary and you like octopus, don’t miss Pangeia. They are well known for their octopus. Order the Octopus Trilogy, a dish that features octopus cooked three different ways. Sunset views from this restaurant are also very nice.

3. Sardinhas Assadas

Sardinhas assadas, aka grilled sardines, was one of our favorite dishes in Portugal. We love eating sardines at home but they are so much better in Portugal. It doesn’t get any simpler than this…fresh sardines that are grilled and served with salt and olive oil.

The best we had were at Restaurante Casa Pires in Nazaré and Arcada Comes e Bebes in Coimbra.

Grilled Sardines Portugal

Grilled sardines at Arcada Comes e Bebes in Coimbra

4. Caldo Verde

Caldo verde (green broth) is Portuguese soup made with kale or collard greens, broth, sausage, and potatoes. Try it at 1300 Taberna in the LX Factory, Lisbon.

Caldo Verde

Caldo Verde

5. Conservas de Peixe

Similar to salted cod, conservas are tinned seafood, a way of preserving sardines, anchovies, octopus, cockles, and more. The idea of eating canned fish and seafood may not sound all that appetizing, but it is surprisingly delicious.

We had our introduction to canned seafood at Miss Can in Lisbon and loved it. These small dishes are great as a snack or a fast, cheap meal. You pick out a few cans and then it is served alongside bread and wine.

Miss Can Lisbon

Lunch at Miss Can, Lisbon


Conservas Portugal Miss Can


At Tasca Torta in Óbidos, the tinned sardines were served on cornbread with garlic, alongside a tiny salad. Yum!

Sardines and Corn Bread

These little cans of fish and seafood also make great souvenirs and gifts to take home.

You will see Comur shops throughout Portugal. These very touristy shops sell a multitude of canned seafoods and are one of the biggest producers of canned sardines (we brought a few cans home from Comur and weren’t impressed with the quality). To purchase higher quality tinned seafood, visit small boutique shops, such as A Conserveira de Lisboa, Miss Can in Lisbon, and gourmet food shops.

If you want to learn more about conservas in Portugal, this article on catavino.net has a wealth of information.

6. Arroz De Mariscos

Arroz De Mariscos, aka seafood rice, is another must-eat food in Portugal. It is another extremely popular dish in many restaurants.

This is a dish that is best split between two or more people. A large pot containing rice and a variety of seafood is brought to your table. Clams, mussels, shrimp, and sometimes lobster are the main ingredients, all cooked together with rice in a tomato-based sauce.

Arroz De Mariscos Portugal Food

Seafood rice at Jardim Rustico, Albufeira

Depending on the restaurant, you serve yourself or your waiter will dish out the first serving. It is a lot of food and you will not go away hungry.

Our favorite seafood rice was at Restaurante Burro Velho, a restaurant that sits next to the Batalha Monastery in Batalha. We also had great seafood rice at Solar dos Presuntos in Lisbon and Jardim Rustico in Albufeira.

7. Amêijoas à Bulhão Pato

This traditional Portuguese dish is clams cooked with garlic, olive oil, lemon, and cilantro. It is simple and delicious. The best we had was at Cervejaria Ramiro in Lisbon.

Amêijoas à Bulhão Pato

Amêijoas à Bulhão Pato

A similar dish to Amêijoas à Bulhão Pato is Camarao so Alho, which is shrimp cooked with olive oil, lemon, garlic, and cilantro. Again, the best we had was at Cervejaria Ramiro in Lisbon, but it was also fantastic at Taberna Dos Fernandes in Porto and Copos & Petiscos in Albufeira.

Camarao so Alho

Camarao so Alho at Taberna dos Fernandes, Porto

8. Cataplana

Cataplana is traditional Portuguese fish stew that is popular in the Algarve region. It gets its name from the clam-shaped dish used to cook the stew. Onions, tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, white wine, chorizo sausage, fish, and seafood are the main ingredients. Monkfish cataplana is one of the most famous versions of this dish. For monkfish cataplana, we recommend Mato a Vista in the Algarve.

Monkfish Cataplana

Monkfish Cataplana

9. Chouriço à Bombeiro

One of the most unique things to eat in Portugal is Chouriço à Bombeiro, aka a flaming sausage. It sometimes shows up on menus as Linguiça à Bombeiro.

Chorizo sausage is grilled on a clay roaster, on an open flame. Typically, your server will rotate the sausage several times, until it is charred on all sides.

Chourico a Bombeiro

Chouriço à Bombeiro at Platinum Tapas & Wine, Albufeira

We first had this at Bar Ibn Errik Rex in Óbidos (it’s the header photo for this guide). Sitting in this small, dark, cozy bar, sipping on ginja and being served this flaming sausage was one of our favorite experiences in Óbidos.

Tim and I had chouriço à bombeiro a second time at Platinum Wine & Tapas in Albufeira, and it was just as good.

10. Francesinha

The Francesinha is Porto’s most famous street food.

A francesinha is Porto’s version of a croque-monsieur. This sandwich is filled with ham, steak, sausage, and cheese and covered with a spicy sauce. There are several different versions (some contain prawns, shrimp, or mushrooms). It was created at A Regaleira (this is where we tried it) but other recommended restaurants include Yuko and Café Santiago.

Francesinha Porto Street Food


11. Bifana

This is another popular sandwich in Portugal. This steak sandwich is seasoned with garlic and spices and served with bread. Try it at Conga in Porto.



12. Cachorrinhos

This is a grilled, slightly spicy hot dog that is best enjoyed with Super Bock beer. This was our favorite Porto street food that we tried. Try it at Gazela.



PETISCOS & COUVERTS. In many Portuguese restaurants, the meal starts off with an appetizer, called petiscos or a couvert. In many restaurants, there is a small fee, roughly 3 to 5 euros, for the collection of tiny plates that are brought out. You can decline the couvert. The most common foods are bread, olive oil, olives, and a soft cheese (queijo).

13. Pastel de Nata

One of Portugal’s most famous foods is the Pastel de Nata.

Pastel de Nata

This Portuguese egg custard pastry was first made in the 18th century by Catholic monks in Jerónimos Monastery. At that time, egg whites were used to clean and starch clothing. The monks had to find something to do with the leftover yolks, and the egg custard tart was a perfectly sweet solution.

When the monastery was closed in 1834, the recipe was sold to a sugar refinery, who then opened Fábrica de Pastéis de Belém. This pastry café continues to make Pastel de Nata, with the original recipe from Jerónimos Monastery.

The best place to get Pastel de Nata is at Fábrica de Pastéis de Belém but you will see them in shops and restaurants throughout Portugal.

14. Travesseiro

This sweet treat is a puff pastry filled with egg yolk and almond cream. The word travesseiro translates to pillow, indicating their soft, almost fluffy texture.

The best place to get a travesseiro is at Piriquita in Sintra, the bakery where the travesseiro was invented.

Piriquita Pastries


15. Bolos de São Gonçalo

Bolos de São Gonçalo, also called Doces Falicos, are phallus-shaped cakes served in the tiny town of Amarante in northern Portugal. The meaning behind these cakes remains a mystery, although their shape may be related to pagan fertility rituals from pre-Catholic times.

São Gonçalo Pastry Amarante Portugal

Bolos de São Gonçalo and Pastel de Nata

If you find yourself in the area (Amarante is located between Porto and the Douro Valley) and want to try one of these sweet, suggestive treats, Bolos de São Gonçalo can be found in several pastry shops in town.

16. Ovos Moles

Several locals in Portugal stated that we must try Ovos Moles, the local pastry from Aveiro. A mixture of egg yolks and sugar are put into a rice or wheat flour casing, similar to communion wafers. These are shaped into shells, boats, and fish. We tried them and we weren’t fans, but don’t let that discourage you. Try them and see what you think. If you will be in Aveiro, the best place to get Ovos Moles is at Confeitaria Peixinho.

Ovos Moles

Ovos Moles

17. Vinho Verde

Vinho verde literally means green wine. If you order if off of a menu, don’t be surprised if the wine served to your table isn’t actually green in color. Vinho verde doesn’t look green at all. Instead, its name implies its “youth,” as it also translates to “young wine.”

Vinho Verde is produced in far northern Portugal. The wine is released three to six months after the grapes are harvested, which is very early in the winemaking process, and this is how this wine gets its name.

You will see Vinho Verde wines on many menus in Portugal. Most Vinho Verde wines are white but they can also be red and rose, although these are rare.

18. Port Wine

Port wine is a fortified wine that is produced in Portugal. The grapes must be grown in the Upper Douro region, which means that port wine can only be produced in Portugal.

Tawny Port

There are several types of port wine: tawny port, ruby port, and white port. For each of these varieties, there are further classifications. We cover this in a lot more detail in our Guide to the Porto Wine Lodges.

Port wine appears on most menus throughout Portugal. One of the best experiences in Portugal is to go port wine tasting in either Vila Nova de Gaia in Porto (where port wine is aged and stored) or in the Douro Valley (where the grapes are grown and harvested).

19. Ginja

Ginja, also called ginjinha, is a famous Portuguese liquor that is made from sour cherries. Ginja is produced throughout Portugal but the Óbidos ginja is one of the best.

Sour cherries are harvested in June and then sit in a mixture of water, alcohol, and sugar for several months. The result is a cherry liquor.

Ginja is served in a glass or in a tiny cup made of chocolate, which adds some sweetness to the sour cherry taste. Sometimes, this is also served with a cherry.

Ginja Obidos

Ginja in Obidos

In Óbidos, we recommend Ibn Errik Rex Bar (you can also try Chouriço à Bombeira here, mentioned earlier in this guide), Pasteleria Don Alfonso, and Ginjinha da Porta 7.

20. Mateus

When we were in the Douro Valley, a sommelier recommended that we try Mateus. She stated that it is one of the most popular wines in Portugal. Later we learned that Mateus is one of Portugal’s biggest exports, with 20 million bottles sold annually around the world.

This brightly colored, slightly sparkling rose wine is cheap (you can get a bottle for 6 euros) and refreshing. Jimi Hendrix, Elton John, and Commander Frank Borman (Apollo astronaut) were all Mateus enthusiasts.

Mateus can be found in wine shops throughout Portugal.

Mateus Wine

This is just a short list of things to eat in Portugal. There are many other articles on the internet so if you want to dive deeper into Portugal’s cuisine, I recommend this article on Portugalist.com, which lists 50 typical Portuguese dishes.

Portugal Travel Guide

10 Recommended Restaurants in Portugal

We spent 5 weeks touring mainland Portugal, sampling small, local taverns to well-reviewed Michelin-starred restaurants. It was very difficult to narrow down this list, but here are our 10 favorite restaurants in Portugal.

Cura (Lisbon). We had our best meal here, not only in Portugal, but anywhere in the world. This Michelin-starred restaurant is located in the Ritz Four Seasons in Lisbon. Take your pick from several tasting menus and the wine pairing is extraordinary. This may sound crazy, but the bread course is absolutely extraordinary (and we’re not the only ones who think so). We are planning a return visit to Lisbon later this year and you’ll see us here again.

Cura Lisbon

Cura, Lisbon

Cozinha da Clara, Quinta de las Rosas. Located in the Douro Valley, this gourmet restaurant serves spectacular food with a beautiful view of the Douro River. It is a great place to have lunch, in between visiting wineries. Also deserving a mention in the Douro Valley is Bistro Terrace, another fantastic gourmet restaurant with a breathtaking view.

Taberna Dos Fernandes. This small, local restaurant is located in Porto. It deserves every one of its near perfect reviews for its local dishes and impeccable service.

Time Out Market, Lisbon. If you want to sample a wide variety of foods, from local Portuguese foods to gourmet hot dogs to oversized donuts, don’t miss Time Out Market. This large gourmet food hall is one of the best things to do in Lisbon, especially for foodies.

Las Dos Manos. This Japanese-Mexican fusion restaurant is so good we dined here twice. Not only are the food and drinks creative and delicious but this bar/restaurant has a very cool vibe.

Los Dos Manos Lisbon

Las Dos Manos, Lisbon

Platinum Wine & Tapas. This is one of our favorite spots in Albufeira. Popular with the locals, this is a great restaurant to dine on small plates of food, sampling a lot of dishes that are listed in this guide.

Portuguese Tapas

Clams, Chouriço à Bombeiro, and anchovies at Platinum Tapas & Wine

Vinum. Located in Vila Nova de Gaia, dine on an outdoor terrace with a panoramic view of Porto. Vinum is part of Graham’s wine lodge. The food is amazing and you can sample some of Graham’s wine and port with lunch or dinner.

Windmill Restaurant. Albufeira is making the list again, but this is also one of the most unique restaurants we had the pleasure of visiting in Portugal. On the top level of a windmill, dine with a panoramic view over Albufeira. The gourmet food and service are top notch. For this experience, make a reservation well in advance of your trip.

The Windmill Albufeira

The Windmill, Albufeira


Best Albufeira Restaurants Portugal

The Windmill, Albufeira

Belcanto. Belcanto is a two-starred Michelin restaurant in Lisbon and it is listed on “The World’s 50 Best Restaurants.” From its gorgeous interior, impeccable service, extraordinary wine list, you will dine on contemporary Portuguese cuisine. From start to finish this was an incredible experience.

Moinho Dom Quixote. Located in the hills above Cabo da Roca in Sintra, dine in a lovely outdoor restaurant with a view of the coastline. The food is fantastic and you sit in the shade of trees, surrounded by lush gardens.

Food Tours in Portugal

One of the best things to do in Portugal is to take a food tour or a cooking class.

In Lisbon, you can take a traditional Portuguese cooking class and in Porto you can take a class that teaches you how to make Pastel de Nata.

This 3-hour food tour in Porto gets rave reviews and this guided food tour by tuk-tuk is an easy way to get around the hilly streets of Lisbon.

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If you have any questions about foods to eat in Portugal or if you want to share your favorite restaurants and food experiences, let us know in the comment section below.

More Information for Your Trip to Portugal

BEST OF PORTUGAL: In our article Best Things to Do in Portugal, we list 25 amazing things to see and do in Portugal.

PORTUGAL ITINERARIES: If you are just beginning to plan your Portugal itinerary, take a look at our 10 Day Portugal Itinerary for five different ways to spend 10 days in Portugal. We also have a detailed 10 day itinerary that includes Lisbon, Porto, and the Algarve.

LISBON: In our Lisbon Bucket List, we list 40 highlights and hidden gems to visit in Lisbon. Plan your time with our one day in Lisbon itinerary and 2 day Lisbon itinerary. Here are 14 amazing day trips to take from Lisbon. Find the perfect place to stay in our Lisbon Hotel Guide.

ALGARVE: Get started with our Algarve Bucket List, which lists the best things to do in the Algarve and learn how to plan your time with our Algarve Itinerary Planner. Learn how to hike the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail, one of the most beautiful walks in Europe. Don’t miss our guides to Benagil Cave and the best beaches in the Algarve. Find out where to stay in our Algarve Hotel Guide, get a list of the best restaurants in Albufeira, and learn why October is the perfect time to visit the Algarve.

PORTO: Get started with our Porto Travel Guide, which lists where to eat, where to stay, and has lots of helpful tips for visiting Porto. We cover the best things to do in Porto in our Porto Bucket List. In our Guide to the Wine Cellars in Gaia, get recommendations on which wine cellars to visit and how to plan your time. See the best of Porto in our 2 Days in Porto Itinerary.

We have TONS more information about Portugal in our Portugal Travel Guide, including Lisbon, Sintra, Porto, the Algarve, and the Douro Valley.


Food to Eat in Portugal Restaurants


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