13 Must Try Foods in Lisbon – Eat Like a Local in Lisbon

Today let’s dive into Lisbon, one of my favorite food cities in the entire world! I share my list of the top 12 must try foods in Lisbon, which you can easily check off whether in town for a weekend break or a month-long adventure.

Lisbon from Madrid trip
Views of Lisbon’s hills! Photo by kaysgeog on flickr CC

My first visit to Lisbon was in 2007. I was a study abroad student in Granada, and spent a long weekend in Lisbon. This was a time before I had discovered blogs and TripAdvisor — so I pretty much survived the weekend on custard tarts and supermarket ham and cheese.

Pasteis de Belem pastries in Lisbon
This is not a bad way to spend time in Lisbon!

Many years later, Lisbon is one of my favorite cities. It’s one of the only places I could truly see myself living (apart from Madrid and Seville), and I hope to get a chance to live in Lisbon in the near future.

For now, I’ll have to make do with frequent trips! Luckily, Devour Tours launched delicious new food tours in Lisbon (in April 2019). This means I’ve been back and forth to the city many times these past months (someone has to do quality control after all!).

Foods in Lisbon Guide - the top 13 must-try foods in Lisbon. A complete foodie guide to Lisbon.

Eating Our Way Through Lisbon

Because I’ve been traveling to Lisbon so often, my list of what to eat and where has been growing and growing. I have a very in-depth, full Lisbon food guide here, but if you want to simply cut to the chase, these are the thirteen things you need to seek out.

Where to eat in Lisbon restaurant guide
One of the oldest eateries in Lisbon!

13 Must Try Foods in Lisbon

If you go to Lisbon, here’s what you cannot miss!

1. Pastel de Nata

First on the list is a simple sweet that has become a bit of a viral obsession. But unlike most food trends, this is one with a long history. The humble pastel de nata dates back to the 1800s when monasteries made them as a way to use up extra egg yolks. You can find out all about the history of the pastel de nata (also called pastel de Belem) here.

Get the recipe! Pastel de Nata Recipe

Pastel de nata where to eat in Lisbon guide top 13 foods in Lisbon - pasteis de nata
Delicious pastéis de nata

Looking for the best pastel de nata in Lisbon?

Everyone has their favorite, but mine is undoubtedly A Manteigaria, where you can see them being made before your eyes and enjoy them fresh out of the oven!

2. Bifana

Another of my must try foods in Lisbon is the humble bifana. This Lisboan sandwich puts other sandwiches to shame. It’s extremely simple, but that’s why it really shines.

Lisbon food guide - top 13 foods in Lisbon - Bifana
The delicious stewed pork goes on the sandwich.
Bifana sandwich: where to eat in Lisbon guide
The perfect bifana

A bifana is made of thinly sliced pork that’s been slowly cooked in white wine, garlic, and spices. It comes out of the cauldron and goes directly into a hearty bread roll. Some people choose to add mustard or a splash of spicy piri piri sauce to their sandwich. Either way, it’s mandatory to wash it all down with a cold beer!

Where is the best bifana in Lisbon?

I love the classic spot As Bifanas do Afonso – no seats, no frills — just great bifanas! 

See also: Read all about bifanas here!

3. Shellfish

Like Spain, Portugal is one of the best places in the world for fish and shellfish. The variety and freshness is unreal. Clams, mussels, shrimp, lobster… even barnacles… Lisbon has it all!

Seafood in Lisbon where to eat guide. top 13 foods in Lisbon - clams
Delicious clams in butter and garlic.

My pick for the best shellfish in Lisbon:

Although it’s touristy and often has a very long wait time, I have to recommend the famous Cervejaria Ramiro for excellent shellfish in Lisbon. The jumbo prawns are the best I’ve ever had. Others are obsessed with their brown crabs, and their razor clams are also excellent.

Need more tips? Check out these 8 spots for seafood in Lisbon.

4. Sardines

You will see adorable tinned sardines throughout Lisbon, with prices ranging between a couple of euros to some serious cash. That’s because the quality of canned goods in Lisbon is incredible, and sardines are the signature canned fish.

Canned sardines: what to eat in Lisbon guide top 13 foods in Lisbon - sardines
Pretty canned sardines and seafood.

Where can you find the best canned sardines in Lisbon?

I’d recommend the Conserveira de Lisboa where you can’t go wrong!

Read more: Discover everything about canned fish in Lisbon with this guide.

5. Caldo Verde

Often called Portugal’s national dish, caldo verde is a satisfying and healthy soup that is one of the top must try foods in Lisbon. Caldo verde is a kale and sausage soup– though many recipes use collard greens or even cabbage instead. This is a dish you’ll find in almost all Lisbon restaurants, from tiny taverns with chalkboard menus to fine dining renditions in posh hotels.

Top foods to try in Lisbon: Caldo Verde top 13 foods in Lisbon - caldo verde
Delicious caldo verde. Photo by: Pasquale Paolo Cardo on flickr CC

6. Prego

Another of Lisbon’s famous sandwiches is the prego — a garlicky steak sandwich you’ll find in classic spots. The prego is a must try food in Lisbon, and gives the delicious bifana a run for its money!

Prego sandwich - must try foods in Lisbon
The simple prego.

7. Bacalhau

Salt cod is an integral part of Portugal’s history, and one of the most delicious foods to try in Lisbon. There are countless Portuguese salt cod recipes (and even entire salt cod cookbooks) but some favorites are salt cod croquettes and bacalhau com natas (salt cod with a cream-based sauce).

Salt cod in Portugal. Foods to try in Portugal. Typical Portuguese foods. top 13 foods in Lisbon - cod
A gorgeous salt cod dish.

Where to eat the best cod in Lisbon?

It’s a bit outside of the city center, but I absolutely loved all of the delicious cod options I tried at A Casa do Bacalhau. It is a beautiful restaurant with delicious food. I dream of going back!

Read more: Everything you ever wanted to know about salt cod here!

8. Frango

Portuguese rotisserie chicken is so delicious that an entire fast food restaurant is based on its success (see Nando’s)! And in Lisbon, you can definitely find delicious chicken with spicy piri piri sauce.

roasted chicken top 13 foods in Lisbon - Frango
Delicious roasted chicken.

9. Azeitão

This incredible and unique Portuguese cheese is not actually made in Lisbon, but unless you’re heading out of town you should definitely enjoy some while here. It was named among the 50 best gastronomic products in the world in 2014! You can find this delicious cheese at Lisbon’s best wine and cheese bars.

Cheese making at Parador Casa da Ínsua
Cheese making in Portugal

10. Cozido

There is no better way to warm up during Lisbon’s cooler winter months than with a heaping plate of cozido. This Portuguese stew varies by region and by chef, but generally consists of a variety of meats (chicken, beef, sausages, pork – even pig ear) and boiled vegetables such as potatoes, carrots and cabbage.

Foods to try in Lisbon - cozido
Cozido! Photo by: Hugo Cadavez on flickr CC

11. Ginjinha

Ginjinha is a sour cherry liquor that is worth tasting in Lisbon — even if liquors aren’t usually your thing. There are even a handful of tiny ginjinha bars that serve this delicious drink. Check out the article below for a list of recommendations.

Ginjinha sour cherry liquor in Portugal
Ginjinha in a chocolate shot – yum!

Read more: All about ginjinha and why you should try it in Lisbon!

12. Alheira

One of my most recent food discoveries in Lisbon is called alheira, and it’s a delicious Portuguese sausage that you simply must try. The ingredients in alheira vary, but curiously, pork is not usually included. Alheira comes from a Jewish tradition of making sausage that would blend in with the local pork varieties — and therefore not call attention to the fact that the Jewish people were not truly converted (and therefore eating pork). This delicious sausage is often served with french fries and a fried egg. I love it!

Alheira Lisbon - foods to try in Lisbon
Fried alheira sausage.

13. Feijoada

A fascinating food to try in Lisbon is feijoada, which is a dish that made its way across the ocean (to Brazil) and back — and is now often known as a Brazilian dish! This is a great example of how Lisbon’s history has affected its current cuisine. And this pork and bean stew is absolutely delicious.

Delicious Brazilian style feijoada in Lisbon.
Delicious Brazilian style feijoada in Lisbon.

See more: Lisbon tips for how to eat like a local!

What do you think? Have you visited Lisbon? Any must try foods in Lisbon you think I’ve missed?

Devour Lisbon on a Food Tour!

Join my team at Devour Lisbon on our daytime Lisbon food tour to taste a selection of these delicious bites and more! In between stops you’ll learn all about Lisbon’s unique culture and history, and meet the locals behind the food!

Comments

  1. Hummm Lisboa una de mis ciudades preferidas.

    Coincido contigo, lisboa es una preciosidad de ciudad, y se come estupendamete

    Quizás también deberiamos probar un “pão com chouriço”, mientras escuchamos un fado
    O un arroz con Pulpo en cualquiera de ls tabernas de la zona del Chiado o Alfama

    Un saludo

    Hummm Lisboa one of my favorite cities

    I agree with you, lisbon is a beautiful city, and you eat great.

    Maybe we should also try a “pão com chouriço”, while listening to a fado
    Or a rice with octopus in any of the taverns of the chiado or alfama zone

  2. I loved all the food in Lisbon so much—especially those pastéis de nata. I remember being tempted to get McDonald’s while exploring Belém but instead I stopped at a local bar and ordered a nice little bifana—perfect with mustard and piri-piri!

  3. I can’t wait to try these delicious choices when I visit Lisbon next week! Can you please tell your favorite locations for each? (You only mention a few in the article.) I’m eager to sample your recommendations. Thank you!

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